West Coast Modular Society is a collection of modular synth experimenters, collaborators, enthusiasts, artists, and hobbyists.
They are located in the heart of northern California Gold Country–Auburn, California.
Their goal is inspire, educate, and elevate the interest and viability of modular synthesis as a creative outlet.
They hope to achieve this by having a prominent online presence and through hosting in-person workshops and performances for their target audience.
By manipulating an assortment of cables, inputs, outputs, knobs, and dials, repeating sounds are created that on their own are simple blips, bleeps, and bloops. But when combined, become beautiful and sometimes disturbing soundscapes.
Modules are the base of modular synthesis and are literally flat, metal plates of various sizes that are secured within a larger housing: a blank slate ready for customizing any number of sound parameters, while working in tandem with other modules via patch cables.
The function of modular synthesis allows infinite soundscapes to be explored and created by anyone, regardless of age or gender.
Many times, an individual’s first experience with modular synth happens through a synthesizer keyboard, before delving into the infinite possibilities of building their own modular system.
WCMS is a unique business, in that they don’t sell a product or service. Like a nonprofit, their mission is for the greater good: to help inspire, educate, and elevate the interest and viability of modular synthesis as a creative outlet.
Our goal then was to project a friendly, fun, and confident presence online and off, while sharing tips, tricks, and original sound explorations that they and others create.
We began by discovering everything relevant about WCMS, its customers, and market. Then we used those answers to develop a strategy to achieve their goals. We then distilled that information into simple attributes that stand for the company’s beliefs and style, discovering common threads and connections between needs, values, and desires.
While no one word can describe any business, “experimental” became the dominent key word over all the others. The result is a new visual identity, consisting of a logo, symbol, colors, fonts, style guide, as well as a website and a social media graphics.
Next, we developed a list of clients the business would attract. From their demographics, visual stylescapes were created to reflect their personality and creative voice and how they might envision WCMS. The stylescapes also include logo, color, font, and messaging concepts.
These marks maintain a simple feel, while juxtaposing the long name and a symbol for all the complex knobs, buttons, cords inputs, and outputs.
A small, primary group of colors was created that includes one accent and two neutral tones. We also established a more vibrant secondary color palette to differentiate categories of content, much like the various colors of patch cables used to transfer sounds from one module to another.
As simple as the logo, we chose one font family to represent all the copy—a Google typeface family called, INTER. Like tofu, the letterforms acts as a neutral base to support and compliment the more colorful graphic elements. While the same font architecture can be used across print and digital platforms, allowing for consistency and clarity.
We also use contrast between heavy and lighter weights to communicate the hierarchy of information. In doing so, we’ve chosen these five variations out of the larger Inter font family: