Variations on B A C H
New England Bach Festival
Season Posters and Brochures
In German, the musical notation for the scale degrees, B-flat, A natural, C natural, and B natural is written B, A, C, H. Intrigued by the mystical significance of this “spelling”, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Max Reger and other composers have written major works based upon variations of the four-note theme, B A C H.
Generating variations, whether for a musical composition or a visual design, is fundamental to the successful development of thematic content. For this series of season posters and brochures, the New England Bach Festival and CGD agreed to a similar strategy. First, a thematic “kit of parts” was identified– consisting of a public domain period engraving of the great composer, the Bach family crest, falling leaves, original signature, autograph musical notation, consistent color palette and font choice. These elements were selectively juxtaposed and manipulated to create lively variations or “iterations” from year to year. This approach ensured a consistent and memorable graphic unity– both between the poster and brochure for a given year– and over the course of the designer/client relationship. At the same time, fresh and innovative variations in the Festival’s thematic elements created distinct visual identities for each season’s publicity.