Photo of young woman with glassed standing while playing the violin with an audience behind her. She's wearing an Equity Arc National Pathways Festival Orchestra shirt.


Equity Arc | Chicago, IL

Musicians of color make up less than 15 percent of orchestral musicians. Equity Arc levels the playing field by developing new pathways that empower BIPOC instrumentalists to pursue their passions.

Above: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, by Mark Lyons


In the early planning years, the coalition used an acronym (representing six lengthy words) as a placeholder name. “NIMAN” proved hard to pronounce and lacked stickiness. In the hopes of increasing membership and visibility, they reached out with a challenge: develop a meaningful name, create a powerful visual identity, and launch an informative website.

Brand attributes displayed largely and in color: Equity, Bold, Inclusive, Umbrella, Supportive, Journey, Arc, Bridge
Brand attributes displayed largely and in color: Equity, Bold, Inclusive, Umbrella, Supportive, Journey, Arc, Bridge


Stakeholders unanimously expressed a bold and inclusive commitment to equity as the driving force behind their novel movement. From their input, we identified an unapologetic determination to demand change and a set of key attributes that inspired both the name and the visual identity.

Graphic image of the five stages of development set in an arc and broken into slivers it flips to reveal an orchestral seating chart


The national organization supports musicians of color at pivotal development stages. They do this through an approach called the Arc Framework. The word “arc” suggests a curved path between multiple points. We baked that concept into both the name and logo. Also embedded in our visual mark is the shape of an orchestral seating chart, which represents the space in which equity is the ultimate focus.

Four circles set in a row with each revealing the official color palette: rust, beige, cream and mint


Visual Identity
Conference Branding
Website Design

Website: ‍Melinda Steffy, copywriting
Beth Blinebury, development
Image of the website homepage for Equity Arc. It features a photo of several young musicians of color playing flute, clarinet and oboe
Blue baseball hat with mint green imprint of Equity Arc logo at the center
Four buttons featuring the Equity Arc logo in different colors
Three high school students standing with arms linked holding their instruments cloaked in black bags. Each student is wearing an Equity Arc T-shirt

Logo in Action

The emblematic logo not only functions as a symbol for the organization but it also helps to identify students who are active in one of the five stages of development. Here are three students that represent the “High School & Pre-college” stage.

Above: Students from the Nashville Symphony, photograph by Kurt Heinecke
Cincinnati conference logo in beige feature a steam boat inside an arc
Nashville conference logo in cream against navy features landmark buildings inside an arc
Chicago conference logo in mint on a navy background features iconic buildings inside an arc

Conference Branding

Each year, Equity Arc brings together members and artists from across the US to collaborate and create solutions. The event encourages cross-sector engagement, with conversations that span the arc of musical development.

Our location-based illustrations help to promote each of the convenings, which take place in different cities each year.