In advance of their Centennial season, the New Jersey Symphony had plenty to celebrate—brilliant musical performances; forward-thinking programs; an internationally renowned music director; and an impressive track record of inclusivity, education, and community engagement.
But the orchestra faced significant challenges: the heavy-hitting orchestras of New York and Philadelphia were across porous borders, and performing in multiple venues across the state (none of which it owned) made it hard to engender local “ownership”.
As the pandemic receded and the orchestra reopened its doors, there was a great opportunity—and a need—to make the most of the orchestra’s return to live performance and its milestone anniversary. We came on board to help the Symphony engage more attendees and supporters; build a deeper, more widespread sense of community ownership; and elevate its considerable strengths within a crowded landscape.
“In a challenging market, between two very prominent orchestras, we needed to show and tell audiences what sets us apart—and engage our diverse audiences in our wide-ranging programs and educational initiatives. Our collaboration with Sametz Blackstone does exactly that, and perfectly captures who we are and want to be going forward—a leader in the orchestra world known for our innovation and inclusivity.”
Gabriel van Aalst, President and CEO, New Jersey Symphony
We developed a set of guiding attributes, key storylines, and messages to help the orchestra define and articulate its differentiated value, which became building blocks for verbal and visual expression. Underlying all, we positioned the orchestra as dynamic, welcoming, and “New Jersey.”
To help the orchestra to become more inviting and accessible, we also initiated the name change from New Jersey Symphony Orchestra to New Jersey Symphony—a subtle change that made it easier to deploy the organization’s full name in communications and avoid potentially confusing acronyms.
We then created a cohesive visual system with distinctive approaches to color, type, imagery, and gestures, which reflected the orchestra’s leading-edge, immersive performances—and provided much-needed visual glue. Anchoring the system, a new wordmark added clarity, elevated “New Jersey,” and transmitted a more modern, dynamic character—and provided a flexible system to create modifiers for the orchestra’s varied programs.