(Est. 1931) “The San Francisco Civic Music Association is a non-profit organization with a dual mission to provide a welcoming environment for musicians of diverse abilities and backgrounds to perform, while offering free concerts to the community. The Association supports multiple ensembles including the SF Civic Symphony (founded in 1931), Mozart to Mendelssohn, Summer Workshop, Civic Strings, and Civic Chamber.”
Kristine Arth (San Francisco, CA)
The SFCS wanted to grow as an organization and experiment with new genres, while fostering their legacy within San Francisco. In order to expand beyond symphony performances, we changed their name to the San Francisco Civic Music Association. The SFCMA can provide a more extensive musical offering to its participants, expanding into new ensembles such a jazz or pop. After a full brand audit, we surfaced many inconsistencies in the brand identity that were ready for a fresh start as well.
The SFCMA identity was born from their established voice, but we wanted to inject creativity and imagination to represent the unique diversity of the organization. Musicians don’t always think in linear thoughts, but they respect all music and musicians. With that in mind, we pared modern letterforms in a non-linear sequence to represent notes on the scale. The new logo became the centerpiece for all collateral, helping to establish the brand in the community and build equity around the new identity. The vibrant color palette was inspired by the landmarks of the city; the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, California’s yellow sunshine, bright ocean and deep blue sky.
Images (opinion after)
The old logo was like a bad type exercise from a school project of trying to learn hierarchy through black and white only, resulting in a clumsy arrangement of letters. The new logo hangs each of the five letters of the name on an invisible music scale, which is a good concept and a good start but the truncated letterforms create some unnecessary confusion. The “S” looks like it’s been rotated, the “F” looks like a Tron poster reject, the ”C” is way too narrow, the ”A” too wide, and the “M”… poor “M”. Yet, in application, especially when used big, it’s somehow fairly convincing and (certainly when paired with photos of musicians) conveys an overall music-ness. And the bigger it is (as in the tote bag) the better it works. The wordmark is a decent complement but nothing too exciting. The color palette is not the most pleasant or harmonious; this could have all worked nicely in black and white or with a single accent color. Overall, it’s a definite improvement that adds some visual energy and makes it look like a bona fide local music organization.