McNally Smith Visual System

Music Made Visible

McNally Smith College of Music prepares students for a life in music. This is not merely a performance school; they guide students through all aspects of a career in music, an increasingly entrepreneurial endeavor. Everything from music production to the business of music and–of course–music performance, from classical to jazz to hip-hop.

Prior to our involvement, the internal design department at the college created each piece of communication starting from nothing – which was time consuming for the small staff and lacked brand cohesion for McNally Smith. We helped McNally Smith bring consistency to its communications. Although the college had a logo with a black and orange palette, they lacked a broader visual system to tie all of their communications together. We developed a comprehensive guide for color, building on their core colors, and defined specific type fonts. We created a library of photography, graphic elements of musical rhythm and notation along with inspirational copy lines. When used in varying combinations they express diverse styles of music and events. The result is a a flexible set of tools that the school’s internal team uses to create fun, inspiring, consistent communications.

We kickstarted the system by designing the school’s view book, demonstrating the new design tools in use. A career in music does not follow one established, pre-determined path and neither should a music education. The view book reflects this by incorporating the expressive graphic elements to visually blend music programs and content. That, along with the combination of paper stock and page size within the one book, suggests to the student that this is a creative process. They can jump in and build their own path in their own way. The book strives to inspire creative students while not alienating nervous parents.

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We also created a variety of collateral pieces, like show posters, mailers and student communications, that could be used as inspiration and jumping off points for McNally Smith’s internal design team to design the school’s ongoing needs.

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We also worked with photographer Ken Friberg to develop an image library for use in the viewbook and elsewhere. We created hundreds of images; this is only a small sampling. We established a style and tone that could be used to bring a consistent look to a wide variety of images.

McNally Smith visual system design by Werner Design Werks

Werner Design Werks
1229 Payne Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55130

(651) 291-2660