Branding for the Atlanta University Center-wide Symphony Orchestra, a program that centers classical music’s Black heritage and future
The Atlanta University Center-wide Symphony Orchestra (AUCSO) centralizes music learning, rehearsal, and performance in the historically Black higher-educational institutions of the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC).
AUCSO challenges perceptions that classical music is racialized and esoteric. Through its programming, AUCSO traces the lineage of classical music within Black culture and explores musical innovation in orchestra today. It invites students, and the Black community at large, to see themselves as musicians, patrons, and collaborators—as the future of classical.
AUCSO sought a strong brand identity to capture its audience’s imagination. Its identity had to unite its variety of programs across the campuses of multiple HBCUs, and express its diverse and lively vision of orchestra.
Client: Ezra Haugabrooks, Director, Atlanta University Center-wide Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta, GA
Designed for tomorrow’s orchestra
Like AUCSO, the logo represents orchestral music as inclusive, versatile, and vital.
The fine lines allude to musical notation and disciplined practice. The brush texture energizes the mark. The four dots stand for the AUCC and city of Atlanta.
The logo spirals toward and away, outward and inward—just as AUCSO delves into both the introspective history and the expansive future of Black orchestra.
Orpheus Pro has a classical look; Apercu Pro is a contemporary hybrid. The two together create a double-take effect, a reconsideration of assumptions.
By harmonizing opposing elements, the logo reflects AUCSO’s interrogation of what orchestra truly is.
Research and conversation with AUCSO provided critical insights into the brand and its values. Destabilizing assumptions about classical music, the brand takes inspiration from AUCSO’s mission to foster connections between historic and contemporary Black music and culture.
As part of a university colloquium, the brand balances intellectual rigor with lively curiosity. This comes through in every aspect of the identity system.
The typography is inspired by code-switching, fluidly shifting between social modes and languages, to put the classical and the contemporary in conversation.
The colorway lends itself to schemes that feel academic yet playful and electric. The guiding design principle is color overload—immersive, bold swathes of color to celebrate music.
The brand style guide anticipates collaborative partnerships between AUCSO and many creatives. It outlines principles that invite different perspectives into design projects, while maintaining the integrity of the brand.
AUCSO’s website was developed by Profound Pixels based on the guide and the brand’s visual elements.