Staff Inspectionfiled April 27, 2023
What came first: the folds of a tulip’s flower, or the yonic symbolism we’ve bestowed upon it? These are the questions consuming the minds of The InQueery’s research teams. Our facilities are known for addressing pressing cultural questions with the rigor of scientific research, making us particularly suited to participate in brand partnerships.
The InQueery was recently tasked with its most challenging collaboration since we tossed Sweetgreen’s salad… America’s Spectrum Symphony, the country’s preeminent LGBTQ+ symphonic orchestra, asked our corporation to design an identity overhaul in preparation for their first national tour. Opening with a performance of Copeland’s “Hoe-Down from Rodeo” in Palm Springs, the tour will conclude with a live orchestral accompaniment to Todd Field’s TÁR at Provincetown’s Town Hall.
The organization’s logo—generously donated by one of the orchestra’s flutists who is also passionate about “messing around in Photoshop” clearly signals an association with their acronym, but distinctly reminds us of sheet music for a middle school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
America’s Spectrum Symphony (ASS) leadership explained that keeping a musical note or symbol in their logo was a priority. But how to choose? We conducted a thorough investigaytion to determine which musical symbol is the queerest. We pushed our musicologists to the limits, asking them to repeatedly strike our company collection of tuning forks until the answers rang true. After much deliberation, we landed on finalists in four unique categories. Our findings are as follows:
Clef Selection: The G (Treble) Clef
What’s in a clef? That which we call a curlicue; by any other name would not indicate the musical key of a piece of music. The G clef is, for lack of a more analytical term, flamboyant; there’s no way around it. She is the musical equivalent of practicing a “When I’m Famous” signature on the very last page of a classic black-and-white composition notebook; the consummate doodles of a gay daydreamer.
Note Selection: The Sixteenth (Semiquaver) Note
The sixteenth note knows they’re hot. They’re that friend at Pride: shirtless, jumping up and down, double fisting TD Bank rainbow flags in each hand, somehow embodying pure unadulterated joy and no cringe. They also go both ways—our diligent researchers uncovered that, when placed below the middle line of the musical staff, sixteenth notes are drawn with their stems on the right, facing up. But when they are on or above the middle line, their stems are depicted facing down and on the left side of the notehead. These freak flags fly in either direction, babe!
Time Signature Selection:3/8
Do you remember that girl in high school choir who wouldn’t shut up about her AP Music Theory homework? Yeah. She’s gay now, and this time signature is her thing. (And yes, it is statistically likely that she did have a crush on you.) ⅜ is a dancey, triple meter time signature, used for waltzes, minuets, country ballads, and even pop (she’s got range). ⅜ is a girl on the go. She is no sleep, bus, club, another club, another club, plane… Need we say more?
Musical Dynamic Selection: Fermata
Despite her name evoking the Eurotrash plotline in your favorite early-aughts teen drama, fermata has class. A fermata is a pause; meant to indicate that a note or chord or even a rest is sustained longer than its written value. She is more than meets the eye. But above all else, fermata is tension; she is eyes meeting across a crowded room, breathless and questioning. The fermata is held for as long as the conductor desires. (Kinky.) She is a sapphic period piece, she is Cate Blanchett, she is queer yearning in a bottle.
As we all know, sitting on a judges’ panel does not an easy decision make. It can be incredibly hard to choose just one winner. But even if you’re an All-Star, Twinners are rarely satisfied. Sometimes, you just have to go with the curl you know will always turn it out. At The InQueery, we’re committed to sniffing out that special something via a peer-reviewed, double-blind study. With this in mind, we provided our brand analysis and our first official recommendation for the orchestra’s logo’ rebrand:
In our experience, the first clef is the deepest. Our team thought it offered the most elegant solution for a less cluttered, less distracting logo. The InQueery felt the G clef embodies a queer sensibility by dictating its own musical spectrum. It bravely soars across the staff, touching and encompassing each line and space, while also reaching past them. This is a mark that says: you can and will stand under my umbrella. All are welcome here, as long as you remembered your music stand today. The G clef was our winner, baby.
As our brand strategy team popped champagne and began toasting themselves on another job well done, a niggling feeling started to creep in that maybe they could have gone, well, further. ASS didn’t quite seem to have the pop we were looking for…
ASS deserved a name that was equal parts resplendent and sublime. A name with mainstage appeal; one that would look great emblazoned on marquees, merch, and the sides of tour buses. A name that could hold a candle to their brand-new Comme des Garçons tour uniforms. After many hours of furiously contriving word scrambles on the company whiteboard, we stepped aside to reveal a whole new identity. Now introducing: The Iconic Technicolor Symphony.
Queer Rating: Cherry Jones bidding for a 17th-century fagotto on eBay.
Our conclusion: Come in for a new outfit, leave with a new personality.
Logos by Christian Ort