Muse Group and Collins collaborate on a monumental musical rebrand
June 27, 2024

Muse puts a twist on its bedroom musician roots with a fresh new look for all its products and software.

The sites and software you love just got a major musical makeover. 

Last year, branding agency COLLINS accepted a huge challenge from Muse to create a consistent umbrella brand that lives across all its products, while still giving a voice to each one and its individual needs and audiences. This joint venture between Muse and the agency behind huge brands such as Spotify, Robinhood, Mailchimp, Dropbox, and Bose, led both teams deep into research on music, musicians, and everything in between. The result? A brand that truly connects emotionally to the millions who make music, podcasts, and more with Muse products every day.

So, how did we connect with both the 20-year-old Swiftie and the 55-year-old metalhead? We went down to the bare bones of music, actually, deeper than that, to the heart. We found a sweet spot where art and music meet, just as Kandinsky would paint to music, all creative endeavors are linked together by the creative drive inside us all. Visualizing this through vibrations, waves, and spectrograms creates the perfect metaphor for creativity in Muse’s very own musical language. A major part of this rebrand will be to explore the relationship between the visual and the sonic, creating design that reacts to music in many different ways.

Muse has always believed in access to music for all, whoever you are, and that will never change. The core of the new brand purpose is to ‘Inspire the artist, unleash their sound’, it speaks to audiences in a rallying cry to stop worrying about getting it right, and just start enjoying playing your way. Music is for everyone, you don’t need the best guitar in the shop, formal training or even to name five songs from the band t-shirt you’re wearing. The rebrand was created by a diverse group of perspectives, all with varying levels of musical experience to ensure we capture the audience at any stage of their journey. 

"At Muse, we believe the brand exists in users’ minds — it’s shaped around interactions with brand touchpoints. That’s why a great brand is how it looks, works & feels. You have to work on all touchpoints to make it happen. It also means that a brand = product for great companies. It’s a product, design, technology, emotion." says Yury Vetrov, Design and Brand Director at Muse Group. 

"We're working on all these aspects of Muse products now. So the current brand update is just one of the first steps in this journey—stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

This all-inclusive concept is reflected everywhere in the rebrand; creating a family of apps means people can try out any of them, and no one is excluded. 

Your Muse products are about to look a whole lot better. A series of logos born out of music, each crafted out of an imaginary language made up of elements from notation. This further builds the relationship between each of Muse’s brands, opening up awareness of Muse’s full offering to new audiences.

The photography style is authentic, raw, and energetic. Muse started as Ultimate Guitar with bedroom musicians, and the roots are clear here. People will see themselves in these images, not the unattainable and unrelatable.

Every brand element has the potential to react to sound, logos and typography can dance and play music as your cursor rolls over it, soundwave imagery vibrates out of instruments and musicians, spectrograms grace backgrounds — a literal snapshot of a sound. Visualizing the creative force bursting from people in the form of vector waves in bespoke new brand colorways gives a fresh modernity to the imagery, and brings musical moments to life. We took this idea even further, with animated waves reacting to music as it plays.

Celebrating the roots of Muse’s flagship product Ultimate Guitar, we kept our core colors, black and yellow, and found a more dynamic version to wake up the brand. The logo has been reworked to reflect its playful, irreverent brand personality while keeping the recognizable ‘rock horns'.

Taking the ‘S’ from ‘score’ as the main focus for the logo, created with musical iconography, the MuseScore brand is brought closer to the Muse family. The colorways take MuseScore from a clinical brand to one that reflects the passion and emotion in its offering, and more importantly, its audience. A MuseScore Studio logo is on the way soon.

This musical approach lives in every element, including the bespoke Muse Display typeface created by Contrast Foundry with several expressive variations: Harmony, Rhythm, Riff, and Symphony. Just like music, it lives on a spectrum Muse calls “The Rebel Scale”, this allows design to be simple and clarifying, and rebelliously off the wall in different contexts.

This scale also applies to brand personality and tone of voice, each brand has been given its own language to speak to its audience. MuseScore sits on the more refined yet approachable end of the scale, compared with Muse’s more irreverent enfant terrible Ultimate Guitar — different personalities living in the same family.

The attention to detail in this rebrand is second to none, what might seem like simple cool images are actually real visualizations of the instrument’s frequencies in the form of spectrograms. Authenticity and craft have been the highest priority in this project, and there’s so much more to come. So stay tuned, and while you’re waiting, grab your instrument and unleash your sound.

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