Pentagram identity for leading UK charity visualises the potential of music therapy

Approachable illustration and considered graphics are part of a new look for Nordoff and Robbins, the UK’s largest music therapy charity.

28 February 2023


While Nordoff and Robbins has been running for over 60 years as a music therapy charity in the UK – working with thousands each year – the practice of music therapy still isn’t always widely discussed or understood. Nordoff Robbins was founded in 1959 by a musician – American composer and pianist Paul Nordoff – and a special education teacher, Clive Robbins. They found that music therapy could help with children’s concentration, self-control and self-awareness. Today the charity uses the practice to help people connect and communicate better, with partners in over 300 organisations. Aiming to create greater awareness around the benefits of this therapy, Nordoff and Robbins turned to Pentagram for its recent identity overhaul.

A new logo is part of the refresh; comprising a wordmark and a symbol, it reflects the charity’s name change from Nordoff Robbins to Nordoff and Robbins. Rather than just adding an ampersand to connect the two letterforms however, Pentagram created a form that could mimic sound waves, as well as nod to the connection between therapist and client. In contrast to this more illustrative aspect, “the wordmark is direct and grounded, and represents the charity’s rich heritage and expertise in the field of music therapy,” the release explains.

Pentagram has made the new brand with young people in mind, as this is a market the charity wants to grow awareness in. Though the identity seeks to outline the work of Nordoff and Robbins “for many people who have felt disconnected from the world and their loved ones”.

Colour is a major part of the project, and the palette flexes between vibrant and more subdued depending on application. Sound waves also appear throughout, with Pentagram creating a range of abstract patterns and wave forms to reference the potential of sound in the practice of this form of therapy.

Tonally, the project attempts to be “real, honest and straightforward”. It also aims to be “clear and consistent”. For example, the brand concept of ‘Breaking through with music’ is embedded throughout, while “high accessibility” is enabled through the sans serif Silka.

GalleryPentagram: Nordoff and Robbins (Copyright © Nordoff and Robbins, 2023)

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Pentagram: Nordoff and Robbins (Copyright © Nordoff and Robbins, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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