MuseScore logo, wordmark, slogan - iteration 1

• Mar 20, 2009 - 17:41
Graphical (UI)
S5 - Suggestion

For the MuseScore 1.0 release, 22 students from Ghent (BE) have each been making a proposal for a logo, wordmark and a slogan. On this Friday afternoon, they presented their proposals in pecha kucha style to the design teachers. Having received feedback now, the students will have another iteration to enhance their work. Ultimately, there will be one proposal selected for MuseScore 1.0. And you can help!

While watching the proposals, try to note down what proposals you like most. You can make comments on any aspect: font, color, slogan, curves, ... Perhaps you like the slogan from one proposal, in combination with the logo from another proposal. Feel free to note down your thoughts. Have fun!


It was very interesting to look at all the proposals. The one that made the biggest impression on me was Mira Feryn's (pictures 87-90) because of the humour and direct link to computer-aided composition and engraving with the computer key and the slogan "the key to music" (which perhaps would be even better if it read "a key to music"). The actual art work was however not the most impressive, so I would wish Mira Feryn to elaborate that and give us a new version of the concept.

The overall feeling is a bit disappointing. I think most of the students could have put a much better effort about finding a more accurate context for their designs: familiarizing themselves with traditional music symbols (hellooo: a staff has five lines, thus the "penta" prefix of the word pentagram), knowing what kind of music is most likely to be notated (definitely not heavy metal, for instance), etc. Also they should have in mind that this is a logo for a computer program: many of the designs are not iconic enough for a, let's say, a 24x24 pixels version. Beautiful and complex art is great for web sites and splash screens, but users of the program will welcome a strong icon easy to spot in an application menu, a file explorer or a task bar. A word of advice: pick colours that stand out well against a light grey background or frame your icon with a solid background of your choice (think of how favicons look in web browser tabs, for instance).

Helien Demey's (slide 31) is pretty good, nice combination of the G clef and a fountain pen, appeals to the traditional character of written out classical, orchestral and band music. Would make for a good mouse pointer, too.

Wouter de Boeck's (slide 71) has a strong identity. Most engravers (and musical fonts) tend to draw the bottom curl of the G clef towards the opposite direction (it is a stylized S from the note Sol, G in English/German nomenclature) so a bit of the association to the original symbol is lost.

Mieke Hooghe (81) and Mira Feryn (86) have good ideas, but have not developed them to their full potential.

Nereida Jiménez's (91) did you try to flip vertically your design so it resembles an F clef? I wonder if it would be easier to associate then, the icon is certainly strong.

My 3 favorites are:

Eveline Vandenberg
Helien Demey
Stijn Peters

All of them because their designs combine notation and music.
For the slogan I do like:

"Free your music"

I like the seahorse slide 114 as an abstraction of the treble clef.
The ear slide 9 is also good, but should be flipped the other way as an abstraction of the bass clef.
Slide 35 works well as an abstraction of treble clef and a pen.

Those are the only ones I liked. Everything else was pretty awful in terms of relevancy (music notation) and modern style.

I liked slide 19 , (23 was similar. I liked the colour palette better, but I'm not crazy about the asymmetry), 69 (the previous comments about flipping it to be an F clef is appropriate here as well), and a runner up was 89. I like that they were all fairly simple and tried to capture the idea of scoring music. Some of the others indicated musical realm but didn't differentiate from playing, composing, arranging, recording, analysing, etc. In particular, the pen-nib in 19 and 23 suggests scoring nicely.

Some of the other ideas were also nice, but focused too much on the piano keyboard theme.I tend to score vocals more so I find the piano reference a little narrow. Nice work by many of the students. Congrats.

Stephen (Ottawa, Canada)

Very few of them work. All students have nice ideas, but they build no relation to the program and don't 'submit' to the style of it.
The pages No. 14, 99 and 115 (this one's acceptable) would work, though...
It seems that the original harp is still unbeatable.

I liked slides 13, 19, 69, 59, 74, 89 & 119.
They have a lot of potential, but they need extra work...

Everyone should keep in mind that for these students, it is their first exercise in creating a logo and company identity. Therefor, and I think I speak for the majority of the students, this actually is a bad assignement because there are too much restrictions when it comes to create a logo and/or company identity for a computer based program. A logo that will be featured as a favicon and in a web-based community is nothing like creating a logo for say a publisher or store. You have to produce an icon that is strong on paper, as well as strong for web applications. This should not be an assignement for a second year graphic design student, who is just getting familiarised with logo design.


No problem, they are students, their job is to try, make mistakes and receive feedback so they can do a better job next time. It is a valuable experience for them, although criticism may itch. But one has to acknowledge they are investing time and effort to contribute something to the open source community, and for that everyone should be grateful. Thanks, guys!

However if what you say is true and they are not ready for it, I wonder why then have they been commissioned this assignment in the first place or why their teachers haven't provided a better guidance.

Anyway, it is not rocket science. Everyone uses computers. You don't need a Ph.D. in corporate identity design to realize that a computer program needs small, strong, easily identifiable icons to improve the user's experience, do you? Just keep it in mind and don't go for anything too complex that will become unidentifiable when it is scaled down.

And as a musician I have found out having limitations is a blessing, they force you to make fast, broad stroke decisions so you can discard at first sight a lot of the flights of your fancy and you focus quickly on a smaller family of possible solutions. Saves time. Think positive ;-)

I don't agree about the good old harp being a great icon: it scales down to an unidentifiable blurry mess.

whatever reasons and arguments, one needs to stick to the mere examination of the student's suggestions. might be a help to them - they are students after all. i admit most of the suggestions are way better than the ones i would come up with, if i was a designer, but still our role is to discuss the matter. nevertheless, a big pile of respect to all the students working i out :-) i am sure there will be one eventually and that will be it!