Pentagram has designed a new identity for the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the "Big Five" orchestras in the US and one of the most influential in the world. Founded in 1900, it has a storied history—from 1936 it was led for over forty years by the popular Eugene Ormandy, when its recordings became familiar to millions—and while its repertory can be considered conservative, it has been particularly innovative in its approach to media and technology, including being the first orchestra to appear on television and the first to give a live cybercast. Our redesign coincides with the arrival of Charles Dutoit as the orchestra’s new chief conductor and artistic adviser, and the new identity establishes a classical and modern brand for this important institution.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s previous logo appeared cluttered, not surprising given the long name. This was organized under an arc that resembled the musical notation of a fermata and also alluded to the vaulted ceiling of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where the orchestra is based.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is renowned for its strings, and the new identity presents a simple, elegant Bodoni P that has been redrawn to match the scroll of a string instrument, with the bowl of the P gracefully culminating in a ball terminal. The city of Philadelphia has been represented by the letter P before—see the Phillies—and the orchestra's P is instantly recognizable and memorable. It has been paired with a red and gray logotype, set in Bodoni Book, scaled to accommodate the length of the name. There is a playful balance of scale between the mark and the logotype, and the P may also be used by itself in applications where a small scale would render the logotype illegible, or where the mark and logotype may appear as separate elements.
In applications such as programs and advertising, the identity is accompanied by photography of string instruments in close-up. Pentagram has also designed environmental graphics for the orchestra’s home at the Kimmel Center.