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NYCB Logo History

Had a lovely evening at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts seeing so many friends and celebrating the School of American Ballet’s 90th anniversary with The George Balanchine Foundation’s talk led by @stevecaras. Some of us came decked out in our NYCB gear. This is @perinhurwitz, a long-time NYCB volunteer (since 1978), whom I see on a regular basis at the theater and we often run in to each other at extra-curricular City Ballet-related functions like tonight.

Just for fun I thought maybe you’d like a quick lesson about these two logos.

The one on the left, currently in use by the company, was designed by Paula Scher with Lisa Kitchenberg of Pentagram in 2008 as part of the rebranding campaign developed by Luis Bravo. The typeface used is “FF Din,” designed by Albert-Jan Pool. It’s a flexible typographic logo that can be formatted landscape, partially stacked, or fully stacked. My favorite fact about this logo is that—especially in the stacked layouts—the gradation from light to dark is meant to evoke the look of the New York City skyline. As overlapping buildings recede into the distance they become obscured by haze or smog, so too do the words of the logo. (The NYCB logo was one of the first I ever studied in college for my graphic design degree.)

The logo on the right comes from the cover of the book, “Thirty Years: Lincoln Kirstein’s The New York City Ballet.” It was never really used as a logo for the company on any marketing materials until this year, it was adopted for the merch line for the company’s 75th anniversary. The cover was designed by Robert Donald Scudellari in 1973. His obituary said, ‘Scudellari was best known in the design community for the bold typographic book jackets he produced during his 26-year tenure as Vice President and Corporate Art Director at Random House during the 70s and 80s.’ The logo is set in ITC Serif Gothic, a typeface designed by Herb Lublin and Tony DiSpigna.


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