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The Sound of Italics

Reviewed Jan. 15, 2009 by Armin

Industry / Culture Tags /

New York Philarmonic Logo, Before and After

Given the accompanying text in the tips I received about this one, I have the feeling we are up for another heated discussion and I will preemptively ask that any “This sucks.” comments be kept to a minimum. Please expand beyond that, it’s not that hard. With that out of the way, Pentagram partner Paula Scher has redesigned the identity of the New York Philarmonic, another constituent of the redesigns Scher has done for the Lincoln Center.

New York Philarmonic Logo, Lockups

If there is one thing not for discussion is that the previous logo was boring, generic and in dire need of an update. My first reaction when I saw the new logo was, literally, “whoah.” I was so taken by surprise to see uppercase italics on a circle that I just couldn’t think about anything else. And what at first seemed like some sort of typographic faux pas turned into a really interesting and engaging set of letterforms with an inherent dynamism that, to me at least, is a nice representation of listening to a live orchestra: A kind of whirlwind of emotions. The red line is meant to be a conductors baton, which is much more interesting than the previous’s five lines representing a music staff.

I believe the logo will not be well received because this type treatment is uncommon and since we are all more comfortable with things that we are used to, something that steps out of the norm is generally received with distaste — Exhibit A: anything by Wolff Olins. To conclude: This is one of the most interesting wordmarks I have seen in a while.



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Brand New, is a division of UnderConsideration, displaying opinions, and focusing solely, on corporate and brand identity work. More…

UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Bloomington, IN.

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