“Traditional career paths for professional musicians have become more and more difficult, with the odds of finding single-employer work daunting. Yet there are artists who are successfully creating new niches and paths for themselves, and, in turn, helping our art evolve.” —Dean Mark McCoy, President of DePauw University

The 21st-Century Musician Initiative spearheaded by DePauw is a re-imagining of the skills, tools and experiences necessary to create the musicians of the future—flexible, collaborative, entrepreneurial artists that experiment with diverse musical venues and outlets in addition to traditional performance spaces, develop new audiences and utilize their music to impact and strengthen communities. DePauw approached Studio Fuse to transform 21CM from an idea into something their audience could interact with and react to. We created a clear visual identity and a physical space online to curate a developing dialogue and engage this new community.

The 21CM mark was developed to reflect the changing landscape of the music business. Echoing the shapes of a horn and sound wave, the letterforms that make this mark are bold, aggressive, and nonconforming. It is designed to feel like it’s breaking out of its surroundings, reflecting a community that is charting new paths on their own terms.

Created in collaboration with DefCult, 21CM.org was designed as an online, professional resource to help serious musicians thrive. The site includes a magazine highlighting the people, organizations, projects and innovations advancing 21st-century musicianship; as well as educational and informational resources focused on advantageous 21CM (21st Century Musician) skills.