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July 28, 2011

The making of the BRMF logo

July 28, 2011

Each year the Broad Ripple Music Fest (now in its fifth year) has had a different style — from illustration/cartoon to rock grunge — and we like it that way. We want BRMF to feel fresh and new each time, so we keep that in mind as we (or others we’ve enlisted over the years) create the look and feel for it. We do insist on consistency as far as using musical imagery, but generally keep the rest of the requirements loose and our minds open.

When we set out to craft this year’s logo, general look and visual concept, we found ourselves in a fun, two-week process of finding inspiration and debating the outcomes, eventually landing on the logo and design foundations you can find at broadripplemusicfest.com

It all started with some typography exploration for the logo. Generally, we begin any logo work in black and white, adding color later (which often includes a color exploration to get just the right mix).



We were looking for a typeface that felt like Broad Ripple and the Broad Ripple Music Fest: unique and offbeat. Something that was clean and powerful, and would support the logo in feeling like a music fest logo. While we liked all the selections above, we really loved the one in the middle, “BRMF”, and felt it said Broad Ripple Music Fest more than the others. (By the way, the typeface is Blackout, an open source font in the The League of Movable Type collection.) We also liked the thin typeface (Neutraface) happening in this set of logo explorations and thought it might be a nice balance to the thick lines in Blackout:


But it took us a minute before we put our two favorite fonts together. We started exploring more logomarks in collaboration with the typefaces to see how things might come together. We began with abstract shapes, as it was a complete 180 from the previous year’s logo (which was a textured illustration of an old phonograph):

The V created by the white space of the triangles piqued our interest (since it’s BRMF’s fifth year and V is 5 in Roman numerals), so we kept that idea but set it aside for a bit. Instead of abstract shapes, we wanted to try incorporating shapes of objects, particularly objects that could represent the different styles of music found at BRMF. Those shapes became representative of BRMF’s main music genres — rock (a guitar), hip-hop (a microphone), jazz (a saxophone) and electronic (a vinyl record). We moved those shapes around and duplicated them in a sort of kaleidoscope effect, which mimics the spirit of BRMF: it brings different musicians and styles together for audience members to mix in their own musical lens.


This kaleidoscope idea led us on the path of bright colors, which we liked because those colors felt uplifting and celebratory, words we like to use to support BRMF’s mission. We didn’t love these new shapes and felt like they were too cryptic, so we scrapped the kaleidoscope but kept the shapes and the color ideas.

By this time, the abstract V mark had grown on us, so we thought, let’s create a logo system — the V as the main mark with the four main genre shapes supporting that main mark. We incorporated the triangle found in the main logo into each of the four genre shapes, and then tweaked the colors to create a bright and vibrant scheme that allowed the logos to work together, as well as stand out on their own.

The results:

We’d love to hear your thoughts!





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