Rebrand and rebuild: Dana Hall’s changing future

For the first time since 2012, Dana Hall has launched a major marketing campaign to reflect the School’s current mission and values. Key changes include a new, more defined monogram and a tagline to help “cultivate an environment in which students can discover, become, and express exactly who they are,” Upper School Director Jessica Kiemowitz explained in an Upper School meeting. 

The new monogram, a blue D with a white H inside, is a different image from the standard Dana Hall seal. A new tagline states, “Audacious Since 1881” or, in some scenarios, “Audaciously Herself.” Both of these alterations were incorporated into the launch of the new Dana Hall website, one of the biggest changes in the rebrand.

Liza Cohen, the Director of Communications, said that “every four years we sort of look at our materials, and decide what we need to update and how far we need to go with those changes.” The core team that helped with this project included Ms. Cohen; Angela Brown, the Assistant Head of Admission and Strategic Initiatives; Robert Mather, Associate Head of School; and Katherine L. Bradley, Head of School. 

This major redesign has been in the works since the Fall 2019, pre-COVID. Ms. Cohen noted that this transformation was primarily for prospective families, to encourage them to choose Dana Hall as their school. The new website makes it easier to “promote the wonderful things that are happening here so that people understand what this organization is, what we stand for, what our culture is, what our values are,” Ms. Brown said. 

The “Audaciously Herself” tagline has received some criticism as some people at Dana Hall do not identify with she/her/hers pronouns. Ms. Keimowitz addressed the Upper School meeting on Monday, November 15, to acknowledge the “complexity of single-gender schools in a gender-fluid world” and to “affirm those in our community, regardless of gender identity and expression,” stating that this new tagline doesn’t invalidate who they are.

Already, prospective families have been receiving updated stationery and viewbooks to welcome them into the community. However, Ms. Brown and Ms. Cohen both stated that admission decisions, released later this year, will be on stationery with the Amor Caritas seal to make it official, as the School is still keeping the seal for major milestones, such as graduation diplomas. 

Sam Wolf ‘24 describes her struggle with the new monogram. It took her a while to figure out what it was saying because she thought “it was a puzzle piece.” She thinks it fits better in the business industry rather than in a school setting. Freya Maltz, Upper School Administrative Assistant, echoed that “companies have similar monograms,” but overall, she “thinks it’s moving into the new century.”

Overall, Sam likes the design layout of the new website but thinks it is misleading because the majority of pictures include the newer buildings and she spends most of her time in the Classroom Building, which has not been recently updated.

The word “audacious” has revealed a generational divide in reactions to the word. Stephanie Copeland ‘23 described her reaction to the word “audacious” in the new tagline: “a negative connotation that shouldn’t be associated with the student body.” Maddie Giordano ‘22 also agrees with Copeland, saying, “girls being audacious is not what we are.” 

On the other hand, Meg Gayton, Upper School English teacher, says that she loves the word “audacious,” but #Audaciouslyherself “doesn’t support everybody’s gender identity in the school.”

Mrs. Cohen and Mrs. Brown extended a thank you to the companies who made the changes possible as well as to all community members, including alumnae. The core team worked with Stoltze, a Boston-based design firm, and Libretto, a marketing agency in Boston. 

Another future update is Dana Hall’s Linkedin page; after increasing activity on the platform, the team will “find a way to connect with prospective parents, prospective employees who might consider working at Dana Hall,” Ms. Brown added.

This campaign is being integrated into the new merchandise. The “Hall”iday Boutique included apparel and accessories with the new monogram for community members to purchase. Avery Williamson ‘24 purchased a blanket sweatshirt with the updated logo and said she “would like it more if it had the old monogram.” 

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