A perfectly square logo in Ogilvy’s NY Phil rebrand references audiences around an orchestra

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A perfectly square logo in Ogilvy’s NY Phil rebrand references audiences around an orchestra


A crucial new cornerstone, in fact the basis of the entire identity, is the logo: a perfectly square diamond. Jens explains that two references inspired the shape; the first is how the David Geffen Hall has moved the stage towards the centre of the hall in its renovation, allowing the audience to surround the orchestra. Ogilvy wanted to capture this “intimacy” with a logo that could be placed over photography. The second inspiration came from the location of the hall itself in the Lincoln Centre; “a rare square inside the rectangular grid that is New York”, says Jens.

To pull off this perfect square, the typography of the logo had to be custom so the stem of the N would align with the horizontal stroke of the L, “as it is usually thinner than the stem,” Jens adds. Optimo’s Plain was paired with Drago from F37 Foundry for the rest of the system. The agency wanted something that “felt contemporary” and long-lasting, “rather than jumping on a trend that quickly becomes outdated”.

Interestingly, designing for an orchestra itself became another area Ogilvy had to be mindful of. Jens says: “When you think of the philharmonic, you immediately want to start designing around the idea of music. And we did. However, there’s a lot of cliches to navigate around. If you’re too playful or theoretical, it can easily come off as a music school. Not the level of sophistication that comes to mind when thinking of a philharmonic orchestra. Instead, we started drawing inspiration from museums. Thinking of NY Phil more as an institution, while also keeping that energy and expression of being an entertainer.”



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