Levi Morse did not like the Marana High School logo and decided to do something about it. Morse teamed up with his older brother, Shawn, and designed a new tiger-head logo. Now, it is being used around the school
With a common nickname like the Tigers, Marana had a lot of options for logos and mascots, but Morse wanted more.
“Marana lacked individuality, seeing as the tiger is a very common mascot,” Morse said. “Also, clip art, or generic logos are not, and will not ever be, aesthetically pleasing. I felt that (Marana) would soon be my alma mater, so it should have a look that I would look at and be proud of. This was somewhat my inspiration.”
Morse’s father has an ornamental ironwork business and both Levi and Shawn have spent time creating CAD designs and cutting them out with a plasma torch, so Levi approached Shwan about helping him with the new logo.
At first they tried to create a side profile logo that would be a counterpoint to Mountain View’s “cyber cat” but their initial attempts did not quite work the way they had hoped. Several months before Shawn had created a tiger head design that was loosely inspired by an Arizona Wildcat logo, so the two set about altering it for the new school logo.
“I emphasized that I wanted it to be defining, something unique, and most importantly, to have the letters M-H-S in it,” Morse explained. “Once we had this basis, we sent designs back and forth trying to formulate something that would wow any passerby.”
The school administrators also liked the fact that it had M-H-S worked into the design, as it is symbolic of what they want the school to mean to the students.
“We want M-H-S to be a part of our students, so it is only fitting that it is in the tiger design,” said Marana Athletic Director Monica Turner.
“There was a lot of serendipity actually,” said Shawn. “For no real reason I designed a front facing Tiger logo and that is what the school wanted.”
Once they had the finalized design, they used the computer based plasma cutting table at STL Manufacturing, the family business, to make an 18” cutout of the logo. The machine takes the image on the computer and cuts it out on a sheet of metal. After the cuts are made, the back side of the image is cleaned up with a grinder and all the rough edges are smoothed down.
Morse took the cutout with him and hoped to show school principal Dr. Allison Murphy, before he could show the principal another school administrator saw the cutout and the wheels were in motion.
“Within 10 minutes of being in the cafeteria that morning Mrs. (Monica) Turner saw it, and from there the design was altered for the better until the final design was complete.”
“The second he showed it to me I knew it embodied the Marana spirit,” Turner said. “I fell in love with it when I saw it.”
The logo is now in full use. It appears on the school website and has been painted in the office. Later this month a 4’x4’ cutout willl be affixed to the press box at the football stadium.
“It is unique and it gives ownership to our school,” Turner said. “I knew the first time I looked at it that it was going to take off.”
For Levi, it is his way of giving back to a school that he loves. Levi is very involved around campus, including student government. Ffor Shawn, who was not as involved as Levi, or middle brother Tanner, it was a way to give back later on.
“My brother really loves Marana High School, I wasn’t that involved an individual back then,” Shawn said. “I am making up for it now.”
All of the brothers spent time in their father’s shop, though Shawn and Levi spent more time than Tanner, who played multiple sports at Marana and was also a lifeguard at area pools. The two became quite proficient on the computer programs and the plasma cutter.
The logo is not the only Morse handiwork around the school. All of the ornamental ironwork, including some other tiger designs, were done by Levi, Shawn and STL Manufacturing.