973 370 0145 david@mokojumbie.net

Newark Symphony Hall

The beginning of the new.

Newark Symphony Hall, once the linchpin of the Newark cultural performance scene, has seen better days. 

Built in 1925, known also as the Mosque Theater, it has slowly succumbed to time, competition from NJPAC and the Prudential Center. 

Enter Taneisha Laird, current CEO of Newark Symphony Hall. With a mandate to bring back the glory days of the Hall, through a multi million dollar renovation, new programs, and a position as a cultural center, she asked me to design a new logo for the 95 year old Newark Institution

The original Newark Symphony Hall logo

The first four versions of the updated Symphony Hall logo.

You can see the progression of my work from an inital “cleaning up” of the original logo, to the final of the first round of logos, which features bright colors, and an “S” that playfully morphed into a saxaphone/wind instrument

In the performing arts “arena” (sorry), the long term trend has been towards simplicity, with iconic logomarks, and typography that shifts to the background and takes a back seat.

Some of the most well-known arenas have eschewed logomarks altogether, and instead have distilled their logo to a fairly neutral text treatment.

The new Newark Symphony Hall logo

The secondary Newark Symphony Hall logo. This is used for third-party programming and events not presented by Newark Symphony Hall

The icon represents the fantastic ceiling of the Sarah Vaughan theater, without being a one to one copy. At smaller sizes, having a true representation would be impossible; the details would blend into a hard to understand mess.

The total number of octagons are lowered, and the innermost ring of octagons are removed to let the design breathe.

Removing the inner rings also mirrors the contrast of light of the ceiling (brighter towards the center)

It’s all about conveying as much as possible with as little as possible.

The abstraction of the ceiling is taken right to the edge with the Secondary Logo. In this version, the allusion to the Sarah Vaughan roof might be missed unless pointed out; but the logomark’s shape is strong enough to stand on its own without the obvious call to the roof.

The icon, as does the roof, is informed by Arabic style ceramic tiles, which harkens back to the original nickname of the Hall, the Mosque.