Society for Music Theory Logo Contest

Note: The deadline for submissions has passed.

The Society for Music Theory solicits proposals for an official logo for the Society. A logo is a unifying visual element that links an organization’s publications and communications to the organization. This is especially valuable as the organization’s activities expand and diversify. A well-designed logo also conveys something of the character and values of an organization.

The logo will be used wherever the Society has a public face (print, digital), including the web site, Music Theory Spectrum, Music Theory Online, the SMT Newsletter, and on letterhead, as well as in all formal internal correspondence (calls for papers, etc.).

The contest is open to anyone. A cash prize of up to $500 will be provided to the creator of the selected logo. The selection committee reserves the right to ask the designer of the winning entry to make changes to the logo, or to select no winner.

The winning entry will become the property of the Society for Music Theory.

Form and Use

Preference may be given to entries that include both (1) a "short form" that is either purely graphic or incorporates the initials SMT and (2) a "full form" that includes a separable stylized rendering of the full name of the Society.

Logos that incorporate color or grayscale are welcome, but these must also be submitted in black-and-white. Logos must be created using vector graphics (rather than raster, i.e. bitmap graphics) to ensure scalability.

The logo must work on the following (though of course the design of each of these is likely to change one or more times during the life of the logo):

  • SMT home page
  • The cover and/or title page of Music Theory Spectrum
  • The web pages of Music Theory Online
  • The SMT Newsletter
  • Letterhead, envelopes, and checks

Submission Note: The submissions deadline has passed.

Entries must be submitted as a single, letter-size PDF file that contains the following:

  • Logo short-form (required black-and-white and optional grayscale or color versions)
  • Logo full-form (required black-and-white and optional color grayscale or color versions)
  • An optional brief statement (fewer than 200 words) on the design

Submit the PDF as an email attachment to Vicky Long ( To ensure anonymity, the name of the PDF should have the form smtlogo_xxxx.pdf, where xxxx is replaced by an arbitrary set of four digits. The PDF should contain no information that would identify the creator. In the body of the email, include the following information about the entrant:

Email address
Mailing address
Institutional affiliation (if any)

Submission deadline: December 5, 2013.

Tips for prospective designers

A web search for “logo design” will yield numerous valuable sites, and entrants are encouraged to spend some time researching relevant principles. We recommend these two pages as a starting point:

SMT Identity and Values

The design should be compatible with the SMT mission statement (below) and with these statements of our identity and values:

  • We are a professional scholarly society
  • We embrace diverse and innovative ideas
  • We actively seek diversity among our members
  • While music theory has a rich intellectual history rooted in ancient Western history and is often concerned with music of the past, we are looking to the future

Mission Statement: “The Society for Music Theory promotes the development of all aspects of the discipline of music theory. The Society construes this discipline broadly to be the formal study of music of the Western tradition and beyond, embracing all approaches, from conceptual to practical, and all perspectives, including those of the listener, composer, performer, and teacher. The Society furthers the dissemination of music theory through the hosting of annual conferences, the publication of journals both print and online, and the ongoing maintenance of an online presence, as well as outreach to other scholarly societies. The Society actively seeks to support other publications, workshops, interest groups, and any such activities that serve the diverse goals of the study of music theory. The Society is equally committed to diversity and gender equity, actively seeking to promote the health and welfare of its scholarly community.”

Some Siblings’ Logos

These logos of musical societies are offered not as models, but to provide a sense of the range of possibilities.

Selection Committee

Eric Isaacson, chair
Ian Quinn
Brenda Ravenscroft