Industry: Sports & Entertainment

Services: Brand Positioning, Naming, Logo Design, Identity System, Brand Standards, Creative Services, Website Design


A Cohesive Brand Strategy for a New District

The Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation sought an identity for itself and the emerging Boathouse District. They also needed a logo system and brand standards for the sports and facilities on the Oklahoma River, now one of the preeminent urban aquatic venues in the world.

The client’s objectives:

  • Name and brand the district, the community programming, the foundation
  • Build a flexible, functional identity system
  • Visual extension of iconic architecture
  • Align a new brand identity with the client’s vision and marketing strategy
  • Reflect its stature as a newly-named US Olympic & Paralympic Training Site
  • Community awareness

The logo design is layered with meaning. The triangular shapes in the left of the logo are patterned after the Rand Elliott Architects-designed triangular boathouses found in the district. The columns on the right represent the iconic columns on the Chesapeake Boathouse. The vertical reflection is indicative of water, as the top triangular boathouse and columns shape is mirrored below, and the overall shape is of the hull of a boat cutting through water. All the visual elements combine to create a star—the Boathouse District’s Champion Star.

A brand powerful enough to attract the world’s attention 

Because the district was just emerging when we began our work, it was crucial that the logo and identity system be instantly recognizable as belonging to a venue of international caliber. We designed a brand that was simple, drew the community together and elevated the district in the eyes of the world. 

Color Palette

Primary colors in the system are blue, medium blue and grey. Blues and grey are the colors that were later designated for Olympic Training Facility collateral. A secondary color palette can be used to organize the system such as orange for rowing and green for canoe and kayak. 

“S Design did a great job of interpreting who we are as an organization. [The design] is layered with meaning but still feels organic. Sometimes, when designers try to create a visual representation of an idea, it gets awkward; people try to make something work that isn’t really coming together. From a technical perspective, the design checks all the boxes. We’ve been using the champion mark for years now, and it works well in all situations.”

– M. Elizabeth Laurent, Chief Marketing Officer at Riversport Foundation

brand rollout implementation

M. Elizabeth Laurent designed the comprehensive marketing and brand strategy. This strategy bridged Mike Knopp’s vision for the river and the development with the creative foundation underlying the project and the new identity. From the name RIVERSPORT, to ensuring the brand’s adaptability and longevity across all sectors of the business, Elizabeth’s clarity and leadership was essential to the success of the project. And, she is a joy to work with! 

“Sarah and her team brought unique perspectives to our branding discussions, and everyone had a good working style: warm, respectful, but willing to challenge ideas. It was the best kind of collaboration, with everyone fully ­participating and building on each other’s ideas.”

– M. Elizabeth Laurent, Chief Marketing Officer at Riversport Foundation

Founder’s Story

A passion for rowing and paddling, and a vision for bringing national and international sports to the Oklahoma River have been the driving force behind Mike Knopp’s leadership in developing the Oklahoma City rowing and paddling community, the Boathouse District, national and international sporting events, and ultimately, the master plan development of the Oklahoma River. Originally a practicing attorney, Mike left his legal career in 2003 to establish the Oklahoma City University varsity rowing program and assume the position of executive director of the then Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation – now the RIVERSPORT Foundation.

World-Class Brand Identity

for world-class rowing venue and brand

US Olympic and Paralympic Training Site



  • a world-class brand that reflects the client’s stature as a US Olympic and Paralympic Training Site
  • a brand representative of the emerging role as one of the top rowing and canoe/kayak venues in the world
  • a brand that reflects the contemporary architecture and vision behind the Boathouse District
  • a brand that represents their commitment to taking these sports in innovative new directions

Special thanks to Riversport Foundation and Georgia Read, photographer for contributing beautiful photography to this case study.

View other case studies