Client: Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra
Helping Eastside Youth Discover the Joy of Making Music
Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) distinguishes themselves from other youth orchestras by prioritizing “the whole child,” allowing their student musicians to be fun and playful. Before they hired me, they had to push uphill against their visual branding to communicate this essential message. They had a black and scarlet red color scheme that made them appear harsh; staff frequently included other bright colors in outreach materials in an effort to make them look more child-friendly. Their logo illustration featured a cliché treble clef that is used in countless other music logos. The results was an inconsistent look that failed to resonate with any of their audience groups.
I started rethinking their visual brand by examining who they needed to reach. While the parents and professionals running the organization thought of their student musicians as “kids,” the most common age for entry into BYSO was 13. It was those teenagers that often found the organization and then asked their parents to join. That meant that while the logo and brand still needed to appear playful and friendly, it was critical to avoid “talking down” to the teenage students by using design elements clearly meant for younger kids.
The BYSO board wanted a logo with bright colors and lots of energy. They asked for something that would instantly communicate “music” without resorting to the same tired imagery that so many other logos used. In my visual research, I was struck but just how much people associate music with color. Splashes in a rainbow of colors are a common visualization for the subjective impression of the music. I decided to use a range of colors to represent that and make the logo feel playful, but I narrowed the color spectrum to make the logo feel more mature and cohesive. These colors form curving paint brush strokes, and a sharp bow adds contrast.
I paired the illustration with the clean and distinctive Montserrat font for a fresh and modern look. After going live with the new brand, BYSO reported back that their community loves the look I created for them.