J.S. Bach meets Fibonacci in new brand identity for financial firm
Where creativity drives probability
Our assignment was to develop a brand narrative and an identity suite for a new capital management and technology firm.
Like the musical basis of their name, Symphonic combines “the best of technical command, artistic virtuosity, and intellectual depth.” Our goal was to communicate these qualities in both visual branding and language.
We developed a comprehensive situation analysis, investigated fair use naming rights, and built a core company narrative incorporating existing content and input from the firm’s founders.
Following the learning and direction from the brand strategy phase, we created a core identity and three sub-brands inspired by a little-known Bach musical cryptogram and the golden ratios of Fibonacci that play a key role in market calculations.
Initial executions include: pitch books geared to meetings of differing lengths; performance tear sheets; stationery; landing pages.
Before design began, we conducted extensive research of the competitive landscape and held interviews with the firm’s principals to fully understand their business and what makes them unique. In our discussions, we learned that Symphonic’s founder—who is also a concert pianist— finds Johann Sebastian Bach’s use of counterpoint to be a constant inspiration for his development work. Counterpoint provides context, structure and direction in music. It inspires order within chaos, creating a dance of tension and resolution. His algorithm development capitalizes on the counterpoint of discomfort and complacency.
Bach was the key to our own inspiration for this brand’s identity.
The Bach Motif
The BACH motif is B flat, A, C, and B natural. In German musical nomenclature, in which the note B natural is written as H and the B flat as B, it forms Johann Sebastian Bach’s family name. One of the most frequently occurring examples of a musical cryptogram, the motif has been used by countless composers, especially after the Bach Revival in the first half of the 19th century.
First we created a visual representation of the wavelengths that correspond to the four notes of the Bach motif, stretched them to match the same time span, and then isolated segments of the corresponding waves.
Next, we enlarged the four waves and aligned their end points to match key Fibonacci values used as markers in evaluating financial markets .
Strategic Criteria: Logotype
Main logotype plus a variation or
complement; unique yet
versatile in use
baton or alternative
The beginnings of an identity system covering the parent company Symphonic Group, the sub-brands Symphonic Capital and Symphonic Systems, and products such as Symphonic Invention Fund.
Gotham is that rarest of designs, the new typeface that feels somehow familiar. From the lettering that inspired it, Gotham inherited an honest tone that’s assertive but never imposing, friendly but never folksy, confident but never aloof. The inclusion of so many original ingredients without historical precedent — a lowercase, italics, a comprehensive range of weights and widths, and a character set that transcends the Latin alphabet — enhances these forms’ plainspokenness with a welcome sophistication, and brings a broad range of expressive voices to the Gotham family.
Logo Lockup with Gotham
The font Didot gives text a classic and elegant feel. The strong clear forms of this alphabet display objective, rational characteristics and are representative of the time and philosophy of the Enlightenment. Didot Italic captures the lyrical qualities of musical notation.
Logo Lockup with Didot Sub-Brand
Reviewing Against Strategic Criteria
• Creativity/Probability balance