Introducing Berklee’s New Logo
Berklee has a history of adapting to changing times—and its logo is no different. Since Lawrence Berk founded Schillinger House in 1945, renamed it Berklee School of Music in 1954, and Berklee College of Music in 1970, the college has used six different logos.
The logo is sometimes treated with upper-and lower-case versions, a script version, and various fonts and colors. Some are classic, and some clearly of their times. All are word-marks, none employing a symbol in the design. The current logo—with a representation the musical dynamic marking for forte substituting for the “f” in college “of” music—was introduced in 2002.
With expanding Berklee programs, the impact of social media, and planning for a vision for the year 2025, the time is right for a new Berklee logo. The 2002 logo was designed to represent a college defined by its undergraduate program in Boston. Now with a campus in Valencia, online bachelor’s degrees, master’s programs, expanded City Music programs, the birth of institutes, and high interest in the college’s massive open online courses (MOOCs), the Berklee logo needs to convey much more through 2015 and beyond.
It’s remarkable to consider that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the iPhone were all introduced after 2002, at a time when Google was in its infancy. Today, with most college searches conducted online, communications with prospective students dominated by social media—often from a smartphone—logos need to convey a message and mission in the digital, mobile environment.
To create a vision for the year 2025, the college engaged brand strategy firm Protobrand to conduct a study among alumni, students, prospects, parents, and faculty to learn what Berklee means to them. The study revealed the high value the community places on the personal connections made through Berklee in the classroom, studio, rehearsal room, or online. And how, through these connections, artists learn to develop a personal and distinctive voice. They see Berklee as leading the way in educating and inspiring musicians.
The new logo is a powerful expression of Berklee. The college’s Latin motto, Esse quam videri, translates as “To be, not seem to be.” In other words: Be your natural self. By owning the natural symbol, the college is able to symbolize this core belief, and extend it to embrace our growing community of musicians in Boston, Valencia, and online; from youth in City Music and summer programs, to master’s students and online professionals. Thenew logo will be rolled out this summer, marking a natural path for the next generation of Berklee students.
Tom Riley is Berklee’s vice president for external affairs.