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CSO Identity

This is a proposed redesign of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra identity system, developed upon primary field research, verbal and visual research on the institution and its mission.

 
 

cso identity

Branding & Identity | Print & Digital

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This is a proposed redesign of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra identity system, developed upon verbal and visual research on the institution as well as its mission.

 

the challenge

Due to the similarities in identity for institutions in the same industry across the globe, there is a need for differentiation from other institutions in the field, and a more up-to-date visual style that would encompass the range of classical to contemporary music that the CSO presents.

 
 
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my role

Working with a group of programmers and other designers, we split tasks based on pages. My objective was to design the desktop interfaces for the Home Page and the Knowledge Portal, and at the same time, construct a distinct mobile device interface specifically for the Knowledge Portal.

 
 
 

research

I first started with a research phase where I went on site and listened to a concert, gathered their marketing materials, talk to the audience and volunteers. 

 
 
 
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From their marketing materials, we see that there is no unified visual identity/guideline. Furthermore, I found out about the Negaunee Institute, which educates the next generation of musicians in the Chicago community.

 
 
 
 

concept generation

Using the information I gathered from my primary research, interviews and observations, I generated a list of (intentionally) vague words that reflect the fundamental components of CSO: e.g. dynamism, discipline, diversity and reverberation. From the list of words, I then selected a few to carry out visual inspiration research with as shown below.

 
 
 

Every stage of the research then contributed to setting up this goal: to convey the disciplined structure of Classical music and the institution, and at the same time encompass the range of music that the CSO presents (from classical to contemporary). 

 
 
 

design process

I started sketching for the identity and logo mark in pen and digitally, and throughout the repetitive process of more researching and sketching, found the concept of an alphabetical circular grid. 

 
 
 

I attempted to spell out Chicago Symphony Orchestra with a varied grid systems to find new combinations and possibilities that would be visually appealing, but settled with the circular grid based on my concept:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

visual design

Below are the finalized identity redesign, which went through multiple rounds of edits. 

 
 
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