Refreshing the roar

How we teamed up with an eastern Iowa institution and reenergized a school symbol

Sometimes, when you’ve got a good thing going, you need to make sure you’re shouting it from the rooftops. That’s the realization that prompted Northeast Iowa Community College to revamp its long-dormant logo—and made McCullough Creative particularly excited to lend a hand in that process.


For decades, the Cougars moniker has been tied to NICC. But as the years passed, the logo itself become outdated. As a result, it was used sparingly.

NICC logo 3

NICC thought a new logo would reinforce what the institution stands for and celebrate how far it’s come. Meanwhile, the emergence of new athletic and extracurricular activities provided an ideal forum for the mascot to be displayed.


The school wanted the logo to increase student pride, build stronger brand identity, and give NICC a competitive advantage. Moreover, it was critical for the logo to reflect core values such as resilience, determination, improvement, and persistence.


When you’re attempting to convey values as important as these, the right tone is essential. Every detail matters.

Cougar logo

That attention to detail is reflected in the final logo. The pinned-back ears and visible roar portray an animal unafraid to confront challenges, while its forward-facing gaze suggests a subject that is always moving ahead. The presentation is delivered with a mix of gold, dark gold, and blue, reflecting the color palette of the college and reinforcing the cougar’s connection to the institution.


Of course, simply creating a new logo isn’t enough. It is critical to build anticipation and promote engagement. With that in mind, we produced a hype video that introduced the NICC community to the new logo.

When creating a new logo, the broader context is essential.


That’s why we paired the logo with a comprehensive backstory, positioning the mascot as one filled with grit and determination, capable of absorbing new lessons and taking on new challenges.


We also had the long game in mind. We worked with NICC to create a usage manual that provides guidelines on how to properly and appropriately utilize the logo—a guiding document that’ll be useful both in the present and long into the future.


And, of course, every good mascot needs a name. We produced a few ideas for students and staff to choose from. They ultimately arrived at “Chase,” a moniker that breathes personality and life into the new mascot. The nickname also served as a subtle call to action, encouraging students to follow in the footsteps of their school’s symbol as it pursues grand ambitions.

NICC Chase

Timing is everything—and Chase’s arrival on campus coincided with the start of the school year, allowing it to make an extra-special splash as classes commenced. Furthermore, we brought the mascot to life by creating cardboard cutouts of Chase—providing ideal photo ops that quickly circulated across various social media platforms.


In the end, it all came down to teamwork. A close, collaborative discourse with NICC helped us produce an excellent result and highlight the school’s critical contributions.


We relished the opportunity to work with an institution that gives so much back to our local community and is always “chasing” greatness.