Music therapy has been around for thousands of years. Doctors from wildly different cultures–including early Mesopotamia and 17th century England–all noted that music (and dancing) helped treat depression. Still, music therapy is often discredited as a soft science.
“It’s an unknown profession,” says Barcelona music therapist Celia Castillo, who was disappointed by how few job options she had after finishing her studies. In March 2012, Castillo decided to take matters into own hands, founding her own music therapy center, Rítmia, where she leads therapies ranging from improv exercises to group music-making sessions.
Castillo hired Barcelona graphic designers Atipus to create the center’s visual identity. The 14-year-old studio focused on how rhythm and sound are depicted on paper, through visualized sound waves and musical notation. “The identity is based on the rhythmic exercises that Celia develops at its meetings,” they explain. “The basic aim of the meetings is to alter patients’ moods.” The finished design is awash in thin, pastel lines, which aggregate into soft surface geometries. A thick slab-serif, Avant Garde Gothic Bold, compliments the delicate line work.
Atipus designer Eduard Duch explains that the lines aren’t a “literal” interpretation of sound waves, but rather that they served as inspiration. Still, the design brings to mind Peter Saville, who put a series of black and white sound waves on the front cover of Joy Division’s first album, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979.