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Ayla's Acres animal shelter and rescue is building anew and Flagler students are helping them do it

Jan 26, 2021

This spring, Ayla’s Acres is breaking ground on a facility located at SR 208. As part of a partnership with a Flagler College class, they will also debut new branding as well. While the no-kill animal rescue was in the process of preparing for the new addition these last two years, they realized it was the perfect time to rebrand, as their existing logo was created 10 years ago.


Graphic illustration for Ayla's Acres logo which includes a teal VW-styled van with four heads of cats and dogs silhouetted in the front windows.

Final logo design by Sierra Van Natter

Assistant Professor Natalie Stephenson was also searching for an organization with which to partner for her CIE project, which stands for Community Integrative Education. Among Flagler College's class options, a student can opt to take a CIE-designated course. This type of course truly embodies the Flagler core values that we are all striving to emulate and put into practice: Citizenship with Integrity, Transformative Learning, Thoughtful Stewardship, and Respectful and Inclusive Community. It also indicates a high-impact practice where the students participate in an intensive project that involves a hands-on approach to learning. 

Screenshot photo of four people on a Zoom call which is showing in a grid fashion.

From left to right, starting with the top: Natalie Stephenson, Fran Charlson, Cassidy Beller, Julie Ann Brunsky. 

For Fall 2020’s ART228 (CIE) Design Methodologies class, the students were able to act as an agency and engage with a real-world client, making for a transformative learning experience. The approach for meeting with the client looked a little different this year and took place via Zoom. By taking into consideration Ayla’s Acres’ needs for the rebranding, the students produced many options from which Ayla’s Acres was ultimately able to choose – designs for a new logo and tagline. 

“I came up with the tagline ‘Aid. Adopt. Advocate.’ These three short words, when put together, illustrate the scope of the client’s mission...all while keeping a strong sense of unified branding with the letter ‘A’,” commented tagline creator Stephanie Adair. 

Each student in the class had a process for internalizing and interpreting the needs of the client which they learned through various stages of meetings. The first round narrowed the designs down to four and finally down to the chosen logo and tagline. Ayla’s Acres reports that they plan to use the new designs on marketing materials such as new signage, printed collateral, letterhead and t-shirts. 

“The final design I feel incorporates all aspects and changes that the organization wanted to make to their logo. The creative concept was to take the idea of hippie, fun and a truckload of animals, and I then turned it into a VW styled van. I included the horse, chicken, dog and cat within the van as an inclusion of all animals. I think this concept really captures everything they wanted to have included, as well as being different from designs of other rescue centers,” said Sierra Van Natter who designed the winning logo concept. 

In the north and central Florida region, it’s reported that over 30,000 animals are euthanized each year due to shelter overcrowding. Ayla’s Acres has been serving the area’s homeless, abused and abandoned animals for almost 10 years. As a top concern for the college-age group, the students were excited from the beginning to be teaming up with an organization whose mission is to help the animals without euthanizing. Some students were very aware of the tie-in to the College’s core value of Thoughtful Stewardship.  

“Working with Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue to update their branding was a very rewarding experience. It was clear that the clients were passionate about the organization and its mission. This project was definitely a fun and valuable learning experience for me. I ended up creating a logo that I believe represents Ayla’s Acres well, and I am proud of that,” said Bailey Shuler, whose design was one of the top two. 

Teal graphic illustration depicting an umbrella held over a dog and cat for shelter purposes and the Ayla's Acres name above the umbrella and the new tagline, Aid Adopt Advocate, below the animals.

One of the runners-up logo designs by Bailey Shuler.

On working with the design students, Ayla’s Acres Executive Director Fran Charlson said, “We enjoyed working with the Flagler students. It was wonderful to see all of the different ideas that students developed for us. Narrowing the options was difficult.” 

Ultimately the students benefit not just from the experience but also through the addition of new design concepts to their portfolios. Stephenson loves to teach this type of class for several other reasons, including that it’s a mutually beneficial experience where both parties are coming away with something tangible. 

“Our community partners educate students about their organization’s mission and services, and receive pro-bono creative services. Then students gain valuable experience working with a client while also making a difference in the local community,” she said. 

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