City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra


Filling Birmingham with sound

The CBSO is an internationally celebrated symphony orchestra and charity that makes music that matters to the people of Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond. Creating uplifting, powerful, meaningful music that fills concert halls, communities, streets, schools and lives with passion, excitement, inspiration, hope and joy.
Building on audience insight and working alongside staff and musicians we helped the CBSO to develop an unapologetically bold new look and tone of voice, that better reflected their ambition to enrich more lives through music and had a deeper connection with the city they call home. Inspired by the powerful sound of their 90 musicians, we created an adaptive and responsive identity designed to fill spaces and places, just like the epic music they create.

Hitting the right tone

In a genre filled with technical terminology, the way you say things matters. It’s the difference between feeling welcome and included or intimidated and out of place. That’s why we developed a confident, down to earth tone of voice that invites more people in and reflects the open, friendly tone of the city itself.
Building on language from wider, mainstream musical genres, the new tone of voice is teamed with a new suite of photography using the CBSO musicians, to create a visual and verbal identity which feels more real and relatable and helping them to reach a wider music loving audience and challenge the stuffy, intimidating and outdated perceptions of classical music.

Birmingham’s orchestra

Playing over 150 performances to over 170,000 people, and with 1 in 4 audience members under 30, the CBSO creates exciting musical experiences for all. From brightening up the commute with pop-up concerts to inspiring audiences and musicians of the future through concerts for schools and families, the musical programme is designed to reflect the youth and diversity of the city itself.
This meant we needed to create a brand framework with flexibility built-in, designed to adapt the wide variety of events and breadth of music, as well as the wide ranging digital and physical formats where the brand would come to life. Including signage, livery, merchandise, media campaigns and a brand new digital experience by Supercool.
Created in collaboration with:

Website – Supercool
Photoshoot – Photography by Anderson
Retouching – Steve Bland
Motion – Order Design