Behind the Carnegie Hall Rebrand

Carnegie Hall is dedicated to bringing the transformative power of music to as many people as possible. Music is a catalyst for human growth and the Hall provides extraordinary opportunities to access and enjoy music in all of its forms. The groundbreaking work being done today, from programming to educational initiatives, echoes the vision of Andrew Carnegie’s initial founding of the Hall when he said, “All good causes may here find a platform.” 

Carnegie Hall’s new logo references the beautiful stained glass lettering above the iconic exterior poster cases. 

The new monogram is inspired by the Carnegie name engraved on a steel beam discovered during the building’s renovation in 2015.

In January 2019, Champions began what subsequently became an extended collaborative partnership with Carnegie Hall. When we were contacted by Chief Marketing Officer Sara Villagio, the initial challenge was to update the visual identity. We are no longer living in the same world as when this project began—the teams worked together to navigate shifting expectations, new priorities, and the mid-process miasma of Covid.
Carnegie Hall is famous for presenting the best music in the world, but with its excellence comes a perception of exclusivity. The Hall was struggling to make known everything it offers in the city, the country, and abroad. Even some of its most devoted lifelong patrons were unaware of its significant efforts in education. 
The Marketing and Creative Services team is tasked with designing and producing more than 2000 unique pieces of collateral each year. They needed to make the design process easier and more powerful. They needed a toolkit that was flexible enough to reach several different audiences. And they needed to claim responsibility for all that the Hall does while simultaneously delivering on the magic and endurance of the brand. 
During more than two years of partnership, Champions was able to provide support above and beyond visual systems design–from consulting on storytelling and messaging, to advising on launch planning in a pandemic, and, of course, following through on implementation to make certain the brand comes to life in the best possible way on printed materials, online, in the Hall, and beyond.  
There is a magical feeling you get when you walk onto the red carpet of Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage and then you hear that very first unamplified note resounding, clear as day, across the room. It’s the universal and totally involuntary stirring of awe and excitement that comes with music and achievement and shared experience. The hope is for the new brand to extend that feeling beyond the red carpet and bring the transformative power of Carnegie Hall to as many people as possible.

There’s a challenge of communicating the totality of all that Carnegie Hall does. The brand is not indicative of the full scope.

Carnegie Hall brand workshop participant

Carnegie Hall means music. It is almost universally known. That aura, that intangible sense, is the Carnegie Hall brand.

Carnegie Hall brand workshop participant