The New York Philharmonic has changed its graphic identity from the flowing, music-staff theme of the Lorin Maazel era (left) to a simpler circle-and-baton (right) created by Hall-of-Fame art director Paula Scher. Identity design blog Brand New opens the floor to comments. “My first impression was that it looked like a table-saw,” says one, “And that sort of association is not the best for an orchestra.” Other comparisons: “low-rent regional airline,” “something medicinal,” “the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo,” etc. Defenders admire its “sparse geometry.”
The controversy continues at Logo Design Love: “Take Paula Scher’s and Pentagram’s name off of this logo and no one would be so apt to champion it.” “New York Fail-harmonic.” Paul Rabot, of the MunnRabot agency that handles the Philharmonic account (and whose site resizes your browser) tells LDL readers, “The identity created by Pentagram has certainly garnered some debate. The success of this mark depends on how it is implemented. As most of the people on this blog know, if not handled correctly, it won’t work,” which seems an odd endorsement. FWIW it reminds us of phonograph records, which we understand are making a comeback.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 26, 2009