Leeds College of Music, Brand Identity & Campaign

Art Direction · Campaign · Identity · Music · Print

With some of us being former music students, we’re proud to have worked closely with Leeds College of Music for a number of years.

At the start of 2017 they asked us to re-design their visual identity, and we’re currently working with them to apply the new identity on campus and across all their print material.

Leeds College of Music is a leading music conservatoire – one of just nine in the UK. The first institution of its kind in Europe to offer a Jazz course back in 1965, they have always looked to push at the boundaries of what it means to be a conservatoire and offer a rigorous, forward-thinking curriculum across a wide range of disciplines.

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In developing their brand identity, we used the brand typeface, Rama Gothic, as our starting point.

Whilst very much at home in the contemporary creative/cultural landscape, the use of Rama is inspired by the styles of typography ubiquitous on album covers from 1965, the year the college formed: from John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, to Wayne Shorter’s Ju Ju and many more jazz records; to covers from Bowie, the Beatles and The Who; to Orchestral LPs, and film and TV soundtracks.

The typeface provided the starting point to develop a bold, simple yet distinctive logo. (More on that later.)

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We developed the prospectus in the new brand style building on our award-winning work of previous years. Throughout, photography is used extensively to tell the stories of students’ individual experiences in Leeds. A series of spreads show students performing or working as they wish to do professionally, with hidden panels revealing the work they’re putting in behind the scenes to get where they want to be.

This technique was one of a number employed to meet high accessibility standards without any loss of creative impact. Instead of setting type over images, or losing the impact of large pictures, full page images are used with the relating type set on easily readable white pages that appear ‘behind’ the image within the same spread.

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The Logo Concept

It Completes – The L is what completes the shape. Leeds College of Music offers a rigorous, well rounded, relevant music education. The marque reflects our aim to help students become complete in their practice and fill in any gaps, be this in their technique; historical, idiomatic or contextual awareness; professional competence or technology skills.

It Disrupts – The L is also the glitch, the imperfection, the grit in the oyster. It’s this disruption that makes the marque distinctive, interesting and original. It reflects our aim to inspire and nurture in our students this drive to seek originality, to encourage them to find their voice and nurture their idiosyncrasies – to find what it is that makes them distinctive, interesting and original.

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Use of Colour

Leeds College of Music is the first conservatoire to offer combined degrees – where students can study a mix of two practices. This reflects the fragmenting of genre boundaries in the music industry today, as well as the need for many musicians to be not only talented performers/composers but also adept producers or entrepreneurs. Inspired by this, we introduced gradients that blend pairs of colours from the brand palette. These gradients are used as overlays to create vibrant imagery and help make type placed on images easier to read.

The colour palette features a range of bright, bold colours, set against gold, cream and navy blue. This helps to create a fresh, confident and energetic identity, but grounded in tradition, excellence, and quality.