Established in 1902, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec is Canada’s oldest symphony orchestra and is composed of over 300 musicians and professionals. Based in Québec City it reaches more than 100,000 people each year and apart from its year-round performances it has a discography of 25 recordings. Last month, the organization introduced a new identity designed by lg2.
The logo is inspired by the shapes of multiple classical instruments that are strongly associated with a symphonic orchestra. “The dynamic energy of musicians playing scores is captured in a range of colours and vibrant, lively images, which themselves are like visual melodies,” [said Jacques de Varennes, Partner, Vice-President of Creative, Design, at lg2].
The old logo was sort of okay with a somewhat decent execution of the “osq” monogram in how the “s” connected the three letters but the overall intention was not as okay-able: why lowercase? Why diagonal? Why a holding shape with half of the corners cut off? It could have been the logo for a microchip company. The new logo is unmistakably… symphonic, with a monogram that evokes the shape of classical instruments, most clearly a violin or cello. It’s a clever, simple concept that looks elegant and communicates instantly. I wonder if the monogram could have been a “Q” instead of an “O”, to place emphasis of where the orchestra is from rather than emphasize what it is. The wordmark is okay… I don’t quite get why it’s sideways but, sure, why not? I like how they treated the accent on QUÉBEC so that the line spacing could be kept tight.
The identity introduces a variety of colors to contrast with the black and white logo. They are pretty colors but maybe it’s too much of a good thing and not necessarily the best complement for the logo. The business cards look great as a standalone JPG but it’s almost like each side is for two different things — although, to their credit, they maintain the horizontal/vertical combination. The back of the envelope is killer.
The identity also offers the option to pull things out of the “O”, like a magician’s hat. I’m on the fence about this. The flowers, for spring, are kind of cool but they also make me think of a Monty Python animation sequence that makes it lose some seriousness for me. Still, it’s a potentially good approach for refreshing the logo for different seasons or special events and, by contrast, I love the interaction with the dramatic black and white photo of the conductor and the monogram. The program spreads show more of that conflicting combination of elegant black and white photography and the overly colorful colors that don’t work as successfully as maybe lg2 — who happen to be great at use of color — wanted.
Overall, this isn’t as daring or out there as some of the European symphony/orchestra projects we’ve posted recently but still manages to infuse a boldness and elegance to the organization in a more classic way.