Base Design had no small task on its hands when its US office was brought in to create a new identity for LA’s Master Chorale professional choir: they wanted to evolve from “underground” to “icon.” The project involved working on a new brand strategy, visual identity, typography, videos and marketing strategy to challenge 21st Century perceptions about choral music.

As part of this, the designers deliberately eschewed cliched classical music tropes such as scripty serif fonts and tasteful photography, instead employing a clean serif font and moveable typographic logo mark that feel modern, rather than stuffy. They also wanted the chorus to seem more entrenched with LA as a whole, rather than just the stunning Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall that houses it.

“One of our earliest insights was that singing was one of the first arts. Incredibly egalitarian, it requires no tools or instrumentation and has a nearly transcendental effect on those who hear it, regardless of background,” says design director Daniel Peterson. “With this in mind, we drew inspiration from these real and deeply human aspects of the choir’s music to create a set of custom typefaces that evoke the mechanics and feeling of the human voice.”

The style used across a new suite of photographic imagery and films also looks to pay tribute to the talents and diversity of the chorus’ singers. Base brought in photographer Arnaud Pyvka to realise these, with this season’s campaign imagery using an image of an open mouth “to evoke the raw and personal emotion of the singer and the uniquely transformative power of the human voice,” according to Base art director Marie Noorbergen.

Peterson adds: “Our aim was to connect the Chorale more deeply to contemporary LA, to look beyond the concert hall and fashion a unique voice that perfectly encapsulates the notion that the Master Chorale is much more than you expect. To do this we needed to challenge the visual codes of ‘classical’ music by acting and appearing deeply human, sun drenched, and unexpected – quintessentially LA.”

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Author: Emily Gosling

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