Pentagram designers create MIDI visual identity

The Musical Instrument Data Interface (also known as MIDI) is a technical standard connecting electronic musical instruments and digital devices. While the MIDI Manufacturer Association, a maintaining body for the technology, presented the MIDI 2.0 version last year, there was a need to update the MIDI visual identity as well. This task was delegated to Yuri Suzuki and Sascha Lobe who work in Pentagram.

MIDI’s new brand identity, including a logo, typography and sound design, was influenced by the technology itself. The curves, that make up the central motif of the design, were inspired by sine waves which appear on an oscillator during a recording process. To create the logo’s curved “M” and other brand patterns, Lobe and Suzuki worked with the frequency range between 440 Hz and 880 Hz corresponding to the notes A and B of the one-line octave, respectively.

As the designers say, using the cross-modulation is a great way to create remarkable visual elements, and the “M” is a clear example of this. The graphics also includes Lissajous figures that illustrate harmonic motions. Additionally, the technical solutions are embodied into a sound logo which corresponds to the visual design.

For the promotional materials, the team chose an unconventional design, stepping away from musical clichés like notes, gigs, a piano keyboard or other musical instruments. The basic idea was to imagine sounds in an abstract way. Thus, the visuals reflect a kind of a play between the heard and unheard, according to Lobe.