A FRACTURED “BRAND”
If asked to draw or write the Fraternity’s name and identifying imagery on a sheet of paper, Sinfonians could have any one of virtually countless impressions come to mind—everyone thinks of different combinations of words and images when thinking of the Fraternity.
Some think of the Greek letters—sometimes coupled with the word “Sinfonia” and sometimes not. Others think of the Coat-of-Arms. Still others think of the old “Sinfonia Fraternity” image taken from the early chapter charters. Even the image of the interlocking Greek letters might come to mind due to its use in the late 1990s and early 2000s (including on the front cover of the Themes for Brotherhood).
As you can see, we have more variations on our visual identity than we know what to do with. Each of these symbols is good, but for many years we have lacked one clear, consistent way to represent our Fraternity and to communicate our message through our overall “brand.”
DEVELOPMENT OF A VISUAL IDENTITY
Working with Indiana-based Richard Harrison Bailey/The Agency, a creative marketing communications firm known as “RHB,” the Fraternity undertook the daunting task of bringing itself into consistent use of one coherent brand.
The new typestyle reflects the artistic environment of the Fraternity.
Our new typestyle for the Fraternity’s name communicates an environment of artistry — an antique hand with a classic balance of curves and edges. It is a customized typeset — even with the correct fonts, it cannot be duplicated on a desktop computer, thereby encouraging the consistent use of camera-ready artwork available from the Fraternity’s National Headquarters.
The cornerstone of our new visual identity is the lyre. It alludes to lyres of more historic emblems, but brings them into a modern focus, reminding us that the lyre will never fade with time. As a prominent feature of our visual identity, it serves as a constant reminder of the central focus of our Order — music.
Also featured in our new visual identity is a tagline that encapsulates the Fraternity’s culture and mission in a way perhaps unmatched in the history of the organization: “Among Men Harmony.” The dual inference to brotherhood and music in this phrase is clear and thought-provoking, and reflects language used since the very earliest days of Sinfonia’s existence.
So, piecing together the three elements of our brand presence — our name, logo and tagline — brings into focus a visual identity which will mean so much to us as Sinfonians, while at the same time communicating so much about us to those unfamiliar with our organization.
CONSISTENT USE OF OUR NEW VISUAL IDENTITY
This visual identity will be the standard usage for the Fraternity’s name in printed documents where a definitive visual brand is appropriately used. Any organization seeking to advance its “brand” recognizes that the value of a brand is limited to the extent that it is used consistently and that it is clearly recognizable to the organization’s “public” (in our case, both members and non-members).
Our visual identity has been developed to communicate a consistent, purposeful direction for the Fraternity. In order for it to be successful, every chapter, province and alumni association is encouraged to use it frequently and prominently, but consistency is of paramount importance. For this reason, RHB created for us a Visual Standards Manual, which is available for will be available for download on the Fraternity’s website in early September. This Manual covers:
- the regulations on how to use this image and its related variants
- instructions on how to continue using the Greek letters and other common representations in a way that will be consistent with this visual identity
- ideas and suggestions on common graphical or layout mistakes that can dilute the power of a consistent, coherent branding campaign.
Members and chapters can help in the success of our re-branding campaign! Access is available to the official computer graphic files under the Communication area of the national website, or by clicking here.
Additionally, chapters, provinces and alumni associations are able to request customized graphic files from the National Headquarters that conform with the standards set forth in the Visual Standards Manual.
Examples of such images are as follows: