Kearsney College approached me to create a logo for the music department that would fit in with the school’s historic identity yet still translate as vibrant and current. The choir – a multi-cultural entity with a commitment to perform and promote the indigenous music of our country and the rest of the continent – is the department’s most well known product. Synonymous with performance excellence, audience appeal and critical acclaim, the Kearsney College Choir has a growing international following.
Part of the brief was to reflect the pride the choir members take in their heritage, with the possible incorporation of African musical instruments in the logo. This idea was incidentally abandoned as it excluded the purely vocal aspects of the music department’s programme. We settled on the shape of the continent, comprised of vertical bands that draw inspiration from a pulse or beat, and resemble the spectrum visualizations that audio players use to display music. The standard Kearsney fonts of Goudy OldStyle and Vrinda were a stipulation and not my usual choice for logo typography, but they work well to tether the final graphic to the parent brand, along with a pallete that includes the original Kearsney colours, mixed in with earthy browns and shades of maroon.
The new logo’s most pressing obligation was to brand the Kearsney College Choir on promotional materials for an international tour titled “Footprint of Africa”. The Choir had been invited to the Rhythms of One World festival in New York City, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter. Scheduled performances included a concert inside the General Assembly Hall for invited guests from across the globe as well as other events in New York, Washington DC, Charleston and Pittsburgh en route to the 7th World Choir Games in Cincinnati (at which they won Gold).
Kearsney has many scholarship holders from less than affluent backgrounds and some boys required full tour sponsorship. Various documents were produced requesting donations or promoting fund-raising events, and encouraging purchases of advertising space in the commemorative magazine. Aptly titled “Passion with Purpose”, the magazine was to be given to targeted high-level professionals within the public and private sectors and the diplomatic community at selected performances, receptions and black tie functions, and needed to present the choir and South Africa favourably to an influential international community.
“We have been blessed with such creativity. We communicate through art, dance, music and hope!” ~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu
With the full support of Archbishop Tutu, another objective on this tour was to raise awareness of two local charities with which both the school and the Desmond Tutu Foundation have had a long association: The Sunflower Fund and the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust. The choir traveled with the unique and beautiful Dreams for Africa chair throughout the tour, assisting the Woza Moya Project with their efforts to raise awareness of the needs and dreams of Africa and encourage positive sentiment towards our continent and its future.
The aim of the Woza Moya Project of the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust is “to make people dream again and encourage powerful positive thoughts about our futures and that of our beautiful country”.
I had the privilege of working with some wonderful images by freelance documentary photographer Matthew Willman. He is involved across Southern Africa with some of the world’s foremost charitable and funding organisations including Oxfam International, World Health Organisation and the European Commission. He is also the founder of the Matthew Willman Foundation for the Visual Arts, which seeks to provide empowerment opportunities for visual artists and to nurture and develop talent and ability.
It is immensely rewarding to collaborate with passionate individuals who are so actively involved in community and charity work and I’m thankful for the relationships that were formed over the course of this project.