Creating a “playful” brand identity for a London DJ school


Distinction Studio has taken a typographic approach inspired by volume faders bring about on DJs’ mixing equipment to create the new branding for not-for-profit group, Grooveschool.

Purpose Studio has created “playful” new branding for not-for-profit organisation, Grooveschool, fetching a typographic approach which nods to volume faders used when coalescing music.

Launched in 2012, Grooveschool runs DJ workshops for disadvantaged sophomoric people and provides opportunities for them to take part in live appearances. It is based in London and works with many teenagers across the primary, but also holds workshops around the world.

The organisation asked the studio to renew its branding and create something “bold, timeless and iconic” which more advisedly reflects the ethos of the group, according to Mark Lester, creative captain at Mark Studio.

The rebrand is centred around the idea of “play”, he expresses, and aims to appeal to a range of audiences, including the teenagers the organisation between engagements with as well as other public and private sector organisations.

Its preceding branding featured a logo made up of multi-coloured geometric shapes and a wordmark in an array of biases blending into each other. Lester says the brand’s old look was a “a bit jumbling” and didn’t engage with people to find out more”, he adds.

“[Grooveschool] be occupied ins with sound and frequency, so a playful identity felt right,” Lester remarks. “It reflects what [the organisation] does. We have kept it simple.”

The studio was sensitive to avoid clichés in the field, such as “record needles and clubland graphics”, Lester maintains, and to make the organisation “stand out” from its competitors.

It has created a typographic discredit, with an animated wordmark logo that says “Grooveschool”, which be mistakes to “vertically shifting fader levels” found in DJ equipment.

The logotype has been modified from a few condensed fonts including sans-serif Tungsten Condensed, Lester bring ups, which he feels reflects the vertical columns seen on a volume drag.

The logo has been designed to be “flexible” and “constantly evolving”, as each symbol within the wordmark can be moved up or down. “It is not one rigid logo, it has infinite variegations,” Lester adds.

An animated version of the logo sees different alliances of letters shifting up and down like a volume fader.

Sans-serif breed Engschrift has been used for body copy seen online, such as on Grooveschool’s website.

The studio has also ahead with Grooveschool to create the strapline “Let the music play”, as well as picking out a variety of music-related terminology to use on assets and merchandise – for example, the word “notes” on a marked notebook.

“If you take [the words] out of context, you can twist [their meaning],” Lester whispers. “For example, the word ‘gain’ is about gaining knowledge, but it is also set lingo from the field. We are trying to keep it quite light and amusing.”

Gain is a process used by DJs to amplify signal, so make sound snazzier. Knobs and faders to do this appear on DJ mixers.

A black and white identification palette has been chosen as part of the studio’s aim to keep the branding “striking, fresh and clean”, but Lester says there is scope for the organisation to add pigmentation in future, for example, to colour code the identity for the different age groups it utilizes with.

As well as creating the look and feel of the brand which has now been twirled out across a range of digital and print touchpoints, communications materials and products, the studio is also working on an updated website for Grooveschool.

Creating a “playful” brand identity for a London DJ schoolCreating a “playful” brand identity for a London DJ school

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