SomeOne designs “radical but minimal” identity for National Youth Orchestra

The orchestra’s new bespoke wordmark was designed to counter “the fine historic serifs and polite approaches that proliferate the orchestral brand world”.

SomeOne has designed a new identity for the National Youth Orchestra, featuring a “radical but minimal” animated wordmark that seeks to “cement the relationship between the brand and music”.

In 1948, the National Youth Orchestra was founded as a symbol of hope and confidence following the second World War. Now 160-strong, the orchestra aims to foster a better sense of community, wellbeing, and discipline among its young musicians and audiences.

After winning the work via a strategic credentials pitch, SomeOne set out to redesign its identity as it “no longer engaged the young people it looked to attract”, says the studio’s founder and executive strategic creative director Simon Manchipp. The orchestra is “a charity that helps thousands of young people achieve and surpass their musical expectations”, he explains, reiterating that its visual and verbal brand needed to match its ambition.

Designing “a platform of motivation, not explanation” was a key consideration and, from this, Manchipp says the studio devised a new strategy with the phrase “play their part” at its heart. It looks to inspire not only the musicians, but also the tutors, parents, supporters, and fundraising efforts “that must play as one”, he adds.

SomeOne designer Gina Hopkins notes that contemporary teenage audiences “are infinitely more visually led and aesthetically sophisticated”. She explains how the studio tried not to “talk down” to their audience “as so many teen brands tend to do” and instead developed an “unashamed, aspirational” identity that respects the fact that the musical skill sets “are hard to obtain”.

The whole visual identity is “deliberately eye-catching and bold” to encourage “deeper conversations around orchestral music”, says Hopkins. The new bespoke wordmark looks to “stand apart from the fine historic serifs and polite approaches that proliferate the orchestral brand world”, Manchipp adds.

While the brand has been launched with a “restrained but charismatic logo animation”, Manchipp reveals that there are plans for “the entire brand to take flight using animation”.

One of the design challenges was “finding a brand property that represented the energy of young musicians” while openly contesting “stereotypes associated with orchestral music”, adds junior designer Amy Matthews.

With this in mind, Matthews says SomeOne developed a colour system unique to the sector that can be adapted for various settings and aims to convey “the energy of our young musicians”. The “vibrant, energetic yellows and blues” were chosen to resonate with its younger audience, while contrasting purple and teal hues are employed to communicate with fundraisers, according to Matthews.

Cadson Demak’s Kanit typeface is used for headline copy and has flat angled stroke terminals which allow for decreased spacing between letters. This is supported by a geometric sans serif called Poppins from Indian Type Foundry which is applied to body copy.

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  • Emily Hewett October 4, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    The design transformation for the National Youth Orchestra is truly impressive. It’s refreshing to see how Someone has crafted a dynamic and adaptable visual identity that not only captures the essence of the orchestra but also resonates with the diverse and evolving audience of young musicians. This thoughtful approach to design ensures that the NYO’s brand can evolve and grow alongside its members, inspiring a sense of belonging and pride among its talented young performers. Well done!

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