Demian Conrad wanted to find a way to visualize sound for the graphic identity of the Camerata Lausanne. The eye-catching patterns were inspired by the work of Ernst Chladni.

A business card from the series.

"Using different patterns with different frequencies in the same family allows the identity to be organic and flexible," Conrad says. "This gives the identity a more natural, sophisticated appeal, and gives the client much more freedom in the use of his own visual language."

The back of the business cards are printed with a Chladni-inspired pattern.

Conrad created a logotype, letterhead, envelopes, and business cards.

The back of the page is printed with a white-on-white pattern.

The Neutraface font was used as a starting point, then completely redrawn by Emmanuel Rey. "The horizontal stroke of the A is higher, to erase the old-fashioned feeling of Neutraface, and the S is balanced differently . Horizontal strokes of E and R are also fixed at the same height for more homogeneity, E and T are wider for spacing and kerning reasons and the weights of the first and second lines of the logotype are perfectly balanced," Conrad says.

Chladni experimented with running a bow along a sand-covered plate, and observing the patterns that emerged.

A visualization of a vibration and the resulting pattern created.

Various patterns created by different vibrations.

Mathieu Rudaz created a computer program to simulate the patterns.

"Normally we assign colors to brands so that customers can easily recognize them," Conrad says. "In this case is not the color to be the main actor but the patterns. Those have formal similarities thanks to the fact they are connected to the same principle."

Co.Design

A Clever Branding System For An Orchestra That Visualizes Sound

Demian Conrad turned to the sonic experiments of Ernst Chladni to create a graphic identity for Camerata.

In the 1780s, German physicist (and musician) Ernst Chladni conducted a series of experiments by drawing a bow along the edge of a sand-covered metal sheet; the resulting vibrations caused the grains to align into flat forms. In the 1990s, Swiss designer Demian Conrad explored these “Chladni figures” as an art school student. The effect was memorable, but it wasn’t until last year that he was able to fully explore their potential on a commission to create the graphic character for Camerata, a classical orchestra in Lausanne. “My personal challenge was to find a way to establish a visual identity without falling into the trap of the traditional clichés, like violins or music sheets,” Conrad tells Co.Design.

An early attempt to physically make and photograph the patterns proved too time consuming and difficult to control, so Conrad opted instead to utilize a computer program designed by Mathieu Rudaz. “The controller interface lets us change the amplitude (frequency), shape, and size of each pattern, allowing us to adjust the values of equations that calculate which pixel must be white and which one should stay black in real time,” Conrad explains. The process, though technical and precise, was also quite organic. “Instead of having a fixed graphical element and than multiplied over various media, the design changes in depending the media and the frame--it becomes a flexible identity.” In other words, business cards and posters have different motifs, but a clearly shared heritage.

Neutraface was established as the font of choice, then completely redrawn by Emmanuel Rey with “a much more radical approach to basic geometry,” Conrad says. “The curves are pure and simple.” Horizontal strokes, widths, and heights were also altered to create the now-exclusive logotype. In addition to all the print collateral, the main image on the revamped Camerata website evolves depending on the time of day--a low frequency is represented in the morning, getting higher and higher until midnight. “I decided that it should be reactive, as if it were alive,” he says. “Like its own performance as a Chladni generator.”

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