Between my second and third year at UC Berkeley I was introduced to a start-up non-profit called Music THINKS created by an alumna of my high school, Anya Baroff. The goal of the organization was to help those with degenerative brain diseases (such as Alzheimer’s and dementia) through the power of music therapy.

I was intrigued as I didn’t know much about music therapy at the time, and I was brought on as the public relations intern—which, given the size of the organization, meant I was in charge of pretty much all marketing efforts.

I immediately began work creating and keeping up to date a Facebook and Twitter account and researching grants from various foundations, but my main project was to help develop the organization’s visual identity.

In order to develop a creative brief, I worked with one of my mentors to put together a questionnaire, which I used to facilitate a discussion with Anya.

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Armed with the answers to these questions, I was then able to get to work developing a brand identity and logo. I sketched out some rough ideas and presented them for further feedback.

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It was after this first round that I came up with what would eventually become the logo. My previous ideas were heavily influenced by the logos of non-profits I had previously volunteered for. It was at this point that I started to think about something cleaner. I played with fonts, analyzed musical notation, and eventually came up with this.


The symbol above the “i” in ‘music’ is called a fermata, a notation used to tell the musician to hold a note for a longer, unspecified amount of time—here representing the organization’s goal of extending patients’ quality of life through the use of music therapy.

The pairing of a rounder, serif font (Garamond) with a sans serif, modern font (Helvetica) replicates the sonic quality of each word, and the pairing of old and new inherent to this kind of therapy. A familiar pair of complimentary colors are softened to appear comforting instead of harsh.

As my time with the organization was ending, I also sent a few mock-ups demonstrating how elements of the logo could be used in different ways in the future.

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While I may not have known how much work I was getting myself into, I jumped in with both feet and gave it my all. I believe in what Anya and the team at Music THINKS were trying to do, and I’m proud of the work I did there.