Logo design – classical music society
This is an entry for a competition I didn’t enter.
The main event in this logo is the symbol. Using the shape of a violin’s ‘f-hole’ to represent the ‘S’ of Sheffield is an obvious idea. It occurred to me straight away as I was thinking about what I would do. That’s how I remember it anyway.
I was so pleased with this idea that I failed to look at other options and I let it have too much influence on the final design. However, it did mean I produced the logo quite quickly.
An ’obvious’ symbol could be a boring symbol. It could also be clearly relevant and therefore easier to understand and remember. As a designer you do want to be mostly clever and original but this is not always possible and isn’t always what the design needs.
On its own the ‘f-hole / s’ shape is too spindly and light. It looks weak alongside the text. The logo as a whole wouldn’t have much presence on a page or website.
So I reversed the ’s’ out of a background shape. I used a circle because, for unknown psycho-geometric (I thought I’d made that up, but as usual, I hadn’t)1 reasons, it’s the best shape.
With just the dark background circle, the logo looked staid enough for an insurance company. I assumed that the society would want something livelier.2
The bright outer ring gives the symbol a bit of zip (like the jazzy lining of a dark suit). Blue was an aesthetic choice. The contrast between the dark and light blue is more striking than other tint combinations.
If the logo includes a symbol the text doesn’t have to work so hard.
I decided that the typeface should have some link to the ‘golden age’ of classical music (let’s say the lifetime of Beethoven 1770–1827). This brought to mind two ideas: an ornate copperplate or calligraphic style or a typeface that was popular at the time (I was thinking Baskerville (1757), because it’s a good one).
The former might have worked with a digital font but a hand-lettered, modern interpretation of that sort of style might have been what was needed. If only I had the skill to do it.
Baskerville seemed too formal and predictable in this context.
I chose Gill Sans because it bridges the old and modern. It doesn’t pin the logo to a specific era but it’s still suggestive of tradition. Like Baskerville, it is based on Roman inscription. It’s also influenced many modern typefaces (it was designed in the late 20s/early 30s) and is still widely used. 3
It does tend to get used by organisations that are of the establishment but with progressive strands – BBC, Church of England, Penguin Books – which seems appropriate company for classical music.
See more of my logo designs here.