Open Melody

I had the distinct privilege of being a part of the branding effort for the Open Melody project, a community-powered fork of the popular Movable Type software.

Designing the logo was a fantastic exercise: there were so many ideas we wanted to capture as well as a good sized group of people weighing in on the design. We began by coming up with several words that defined Melody: organic, human, simple. We wanted the logo itself be organic and abstract since any overt metaphors would probably be music related and would serve more to distract than anything.

Overall, I wanted to create the feeling of an edgy, high-contrast burst within that gradually became something soft and colorful. The driving concept behind the logo design was this: obvious beauty and simplicity with strength and flexibility becoming apparent upon closer inspection.

I began with a flower because it was feminine, approachable and simple—something that Movable Type wasn’t known for. The colors are meant to represent the variety of uses for (and users of) Melody—the six petals are a fun nod to Six Apart. The white burst in the middle represent seeds (as in seeds of an idea) or users (who would be coming up with those ideas).

The initial floral component helps convey friendliness and approachability; but there’s the subtle inference (shape) of a cog, something with lots of history in the MT community. The cog isn’t immediately discernable, and that’s really what I intended. Melody is really about noticing the beauty and simplicity of the app without needing to pick up on its mechanical complexities.

The logo mark is able to stand on it’s own, but I decided to include it within the word as the main treatment for several reasons. First, the blocky slab serif font is very hard edged and masculine; the icon treatment was meant to help balance the word by bringing in both the softer lines and the colored elements (in contrast to the stark whiteness and sharper lines). Second, the text alone with no treatment felt too impersonal. I wanted to be sure we were communicating that we’ve paid attention to the logo since that says something about the project and app itself.

I also created the overall look and feel for the Open Melody site.

Completed: June 22, 2009

Our Role: Identity, Illustration

Specializing In: Photoshop

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