Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sequential Circuits Inc. family of products, Keyboard 1982

Sequential Circuits Inc. family of products advertisement, including (clockwise) Prophet-10 synthesizer, Remote Prophet keyboard, Prophet-5 synthesizer, Poly-Sequencer, and Pro-One synthesizer, from page 50 of Keyboard Magazine February 1982.

This advertisement ran sporadically throughout 1982 starting in February. You've probably seen this ad numerous times on the Web, but I just had to post and blog about it because the ad has some absolutely great historical significance.

Not only was it one of the first ad campaigns to replace the famous Ear-Force campaign (along with the plexiglass Pro-One ad), but it was also one of the first SCI advertisement to use the new Sequential Circuits Inc logo.

Ever since I can remember coming across this logo, I had always thought the little swervy design element beside the logotype was supposed to represent recording tape. But, of course, I was wrong (again)...

The new logo was actually introduced and explained on page one of the February 1982 issue of 'The Patch' (Volume 2, Number 1) - SCI's customer magazine that included information about new products, hints and how-to's, patches, etc.
"SCI has introduced a new corporate logo designed by Greg Armbruster, Advertising Coordinator. Greg took the simple, reverse 'S' shape from the evolution of the treble clef and combined it with the existing Sequential Circuits typeface. John Mattos air brushed the design, creating a three-dimensional symbol and 'ruby' letters. Look for this new logo, which will be extensively used in all future ads and promotional campaigns!"
A treble clef! (*smacks forehead with hand*) How did I not see that? Geeez.

And even better, overly-blogged-about beloved Ear-Force ad designer John Mattos also had a hand in the design. Awesome.

If you've read past blog posts, you will know that I like researching the evolution of logos. I've blogged about SCI's early logo evolution before, and here we see more. The new logo started to appear on gear shortly after the launch - but there seemed to be a problem. Even as far as into late 1984 when SCI was about to change their logo yet again, you would see gear both in the wild and in ads that had both the new logo ('S' logo) and a version of the old logo (although, maybe technically it never was the logo without the 'inc' - but I'm going to keep calling it that). And we are talking both logos on the same piece of gear.

So, for example, all the Six-Traks I've come across have a non-treble-logo (sans inc.) on the front and a treble-logo on the back. Even when looking at Six-Traks in ads running as late as 1984.

(Photos shamefully taken from
MATRIXSYNTH's Flickr stream)

Drumtraks vary - I've seen ads from as late as 1984 with the old-style logo on the front, but my Drumtraks, and most of the ones I come across in the wild, have the new treble-logo on them. Prophet-T8's - old logo on the front, even in later ads.

I'm a big fan of consistency in branding - if you have a new logo, it should always be used. But I think I can see SCI's reasoning for continuing to use the older logo style in most cases. Aesthetics and/or real estate.

In gear that had already been designed like the Prophet-10, the front panels were really thin - so keeping the older logo makes sense. Otherwise the logotype would just appear too small. But, again, then why not include the 'inc.' as well? Consistency!

In gear designed after the new logo launched, such as the T8, the long thin wooden front panel screams for the old logo as well. In something like the Drumtraks, the front panel is a bit taller, so the treble-logo snuggles in nicely and is balanced.

So far, so good. Looks like SCI is making some good calls on when to use the old or new-style logo.

But then you look at the Prophet-600. All Prophet-600's seem to have the new logo on the front as well as the back. Finally! Consistency!

But when I look at it, that front logo just looks too small. Gah!

Maybe I'm just being nit-picky.


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