Pentagram's Astrid Stavro and her team have created a new identity for The Stauffer Center for Strings with a subtle nod to the four-stringed instruments taught there. Based in Cremona, Italy, also known as the 'city of violins', the facility is the world's first centre for excellence entirely dedicated to stringed instruments.
The dynamic Stauffer monogram lies at the heart of the new brand while classic Neue Haas Unica is used to form an inline letter 'S' consisting of four parallel 'strings'. These represent the four instruments taught at the Center: violin, viola, cello and double bass – all of which have four strings.
The 'S' is accompanied by Matthew Carter's sans serif Miller for the monograms of the Stauffer Center, and the accompanying Stauffer Foundation, and the Stauffer Academy. It's been described by the Center’s Director Paolo Petrocelli as, "a contemporary, vibrant, elegant and timeless monogram—a perfect and pure piece of graphic design."
A vibrant colour palette combined with black and white is used across all applications, giving a contemporary feel in a world that often suffers from cliched and stuffy branding. The target audience is, after all, 20-30-year-old musicians.
But Astrid and her team didn't forget the Center's heritage or its prestigious new location. The facility draws on the experience of the Stauffer Academy, created 35 years ago, while also marking the 50th anniversary of the Foundation. The Center is the world’s first international music centre entirely dedicated to the higher education of strings, encompassing research, composition, production, management and innovation, with a recording studio and visiting guests from the contemporary as well as classical music worlds.
The Center's headquarters, meanwhile, will be housed in an iconic seventeenth-century palace in Cremona, which has been established with partners including Pininfarina and Steinway & Sons. The palace has undergone major restoration to become a high-tech, sustainable and entirely plastic-free multifunctional campus.
Pentagram's brand identity references all of this as well as the city of Cremona's extraordinary cultural heritage and provides longevity and an identity system that can grow with the Center and its activities. Petrocelli adds, "I believe the new brand identity perfectly reflects who we truly are today, celebrating our past while connecting to our dynamic future."