A New Logo for the Church Music Association of America

I was recently commissioned to design a new logo for the venerable and esteemed Church Music Association of America (CMAA), and after running through a plethora of sketches of harps, organ rests, and caligraphies of the words Laus Deo, I eventually thought to come back to the theme of the musical angel, long a staple of Medieval and Renaissance art. Singing has long been intimately associated with the angelic rites of the heavenly liturgy, and in some way we blend our voices with theirs when heaven touches earth at the Mass.

This is never clearer than at the Sanctus, where we sing their words Holy Holy Holy, Lord God of Hosts (that is, we would if it were properly translated) to precede the arrival of Christ on the altar with the Words of Consecration. It is a setting of this chant (from the ancient Missa Orbis Factor) that appears on the angel's scroll, reflecting, along with its acolyte's garb of amice and alb, the mystical reality of Christian worship.

I can thus think of no better symbol--even better than the organ, queen of instruments--to represent our ancient musical heritage, going back to the early Church, to the rites of the Temple, and the songs the angels have sung around the throne of Grace since God brought them into being.

The CMAA was quite happy to listen to all my suggestions and eagerly accepted the finished logo. The CMAA owns the copyright to the design, so I cannot reproduce it here, but you can find it among the photos of their Flickr account, as well as on page 5 of the Summer 2007 edition of Musica Sacra, if any of our readers subscribes to that fine journal.


mystical_rose84 said...

I love the idea of an angel for the logo since it does encompass more of our church history and tradition than any musical instrument (which are time specific ... except possibly a simple harp). The line work is quite simple and yet elegant - very nice! btw I really like your portrait of Dawn Eden on her blog.

Brian said...

Very nice logo. The face and wings are particularly nice. But if I'm not mistaken, the angel is crushing a book under its chin...? The amice doesn't translate well. Is it too late to adjust it?

I'm also interested to see how the logo will incorporate the full title of the organization and any abbreviations. I imagine the delicate line work will close up and be lost in reduction?

theodore said...

Great solution! Lovely linework.

I'm curious why you couldn't display work that you have created... is this something the client specified?

I have always assumed that, unless motivated by profit, one could display (at least in a portfolio...) work you've created.

I can understand if a client wants to keep a project confidential until it's official release, but this seems odd to me.

Thom said...

Beautiful, but wouldn't the Sanctus from Missa de Angelis have been more appropriate? :)

Abigail said...

Very, very nice - wonderful logo.

Looking at the linework and fills I'm guessing the live trace feature in Illustrator CS2 would work really well to convert to vector art if you were ever looking to use it in a large format. Like billboard size! Never hurts to dream big...