Skip to main content
search
0

It’s time we get back to your identity, but this time focusing on the visual aspects. This is important because often things like your album artwork or Instagram posts will be the first impression people get from your music. Visuals can be just as important as the music, and when done right the music and visuals communicate in unison. Without a coherent plan for how to communicate through your visuals, it’s hard for record labels to judge the execution of your visuals since they don’t know what you want to communicate. Let’s get into it and look at how you can develop the features to let people know what you are about.

 

 

What is Visual Identity?

Visual Identity is to put it simply the core message of the visuals you use when communicating your artistry. Visuals include — among other things — your music videos, album artworks, social media images, press photos and to some extension clothing and physical appearance. Every piece of visual content you produce should at its core communicate the same message, or work within the same theme: Your Artist Identity.

The visual branding is just as important for a musical artist as it is for any other brand. Just like with creating music, a visual brand is highly subjective and dependent on personal aesthetics and goals. You need things like taglines, logos, colours to all work in symbiosis to create an overall branding for your stickers, merchandise, etc. Your brand is the persona that you want to express to the world, so make sure you’re insightful and consistent with your branding. A successful image will not only make your target audience understand what you stand for, but also make your brand more memorable.

How colour and style can affect your representation

One of the most important parts of your visual identity is your artist name and the associated symbol or logo. When thinking of a potential design, you should go deep into it. Researching different colours and their psychological association can get you in the right direction. Let’s consider some colours and how they usually are associated in terms of affecting the consumer in the desired way. This image demonstrates some typical associations:

If you choose an associated colour for your brand, make sure you understand your demographics and psychographics of the intended audience and choose colours that represent the emotions that your brand intends to elicit.

Designers frequently use three different colours and use them in the ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%. This rule provides a simple way to create a professional colour scheme for your brand. Analyse and compare your competition/industry to see what colour schemes and themes are common, then decide if you want to go the same direction or go a different way.

The human mind is highly responsive to visual stimuli and colour is one of the most defining factors in that response. On both a conscious and subconscious level, colours convey meaning by associations. Graphic designers need to understand the power of colours and their associations to bring resonance to their designs. Even if you aren’t planning to do any design-work on your own, having an understanding of graphical design and setting up some guidelines for your visual style helps a lot in the communication between you.

Basic colour psychology & associations

  • Red implies passion, energy, danger or aggression; warmth and heat. It has also been found to stimulate appetite, which explains why it is used in so many restaurants and food product logos. Choosing red for your logo can make it feel more dynamic.
  • Orange is often seen as the colour of innovation and modern thinking. It also carries connotations of youth, fun, affordability and approachability.
  • Yellow requires cautious use as it has some negative connotations including its signifying of cowardice and its use in warning signs. However, it is sunny, warm and friendly and is another colour that is believed to stimulate appetite.
  • Green is commonly used when a company wishes to emphasize their natural and ethical credentials, especially with such products as organic and vegetarian foods. Other associations include growth and freshness, it’s also popular with financial products.
  • Blue is one of the most widely used colours in corporate logos. It implies professionalism, serious-mindedness, integrity, sincerity and calm. Blue is also associated with authority and success, and for this reason is popular with both financial institutions and government bodies.
  • Purple speaks to us of royalty and luxury. It has long been associated with the church, implying wisdom and dignity, and throughout history, it has been the colour of wealth and riches.
  • Black is a colour with a split personality. On the one hand, it implies power and sophistication, but on the other hand, it is associated with villainy and death. More mundanely, most logos will need a black and white version for use in media in which colour is not available – and there is currently a trend for bold monochrome logos.
  • White is generally associated with purity, cleanliness, simplicity and naiveté. In practical terms, a white logo will always need to stand in a coloured field to make it show up on a white background. Many companies will choose to have a coloured version and a white version of their logos; for example, Coca-Cola appears in white on its red tins and brown bottles but is used in red when needed on a white background.
  • Brown has masculine connotations and is often used for products associated with rural life and the outdoors.
  • Pink can be fun and flirty, but its feminine associations mean it is often avoided for products not specifically targeted at women.

These associations are not rigid rules, of course, but they’re worth keeping in mind as you make your colour choices. Not following these “rules” can also be a creative decision, but regardless of if you use or disregard the associations — which colours you use where has a message. Use the information above to be aware of the associations.

Moodboard

Why is a moodboard important? After all, you know how you want your graphics. Problem is conveying your vision to others, words only say so much — and sending just one reference image will lead to any graphical work commissioned being highly derivative of the reference.

Here’s where moodboards come in, by creating a compilation of images & visuals that all capture the “vibe” you’re looking for you can easily convey the feeling to a graphical artist, photographer or videographer. Which surprisingly gives them much more to go on, since they can draw inspiration from the similarities of the visuals in the moodboard rather than just the content of one picture.

So how do you make a good moodboard?

The easiest (and in our opinion best) way is to use Pinterest. Pinterest easily combines both the scouting for content and saving into one easy-to-use platform. When you’ve gotten a few images together, Pinterest also suggests content for your moodboard — helping you find new additions to elaborate further.

Doing some prepping by listing words, feelings & similar artists/brands you associate with help you get started a lot. When you’ve gotten some keywords and things to start searching for, you just type it into the search bar on Pinterest and go bananas. Search wide and broad in the beginning, don’t be too picky!

The first 20 pins are the hardest, after that — Pinterest pretty much does the work for you. You just need to curate the content it suggests and decides which fits your brand and which doesn’t. Each pin you add will help Pinterests algorithm get better, and more and more relevant content should appear. When you’ve created a moodboard with the right mood for you, it’s time to get picky. Go through the pictures and delete those that ain’t 100% right.

We usually aim for around 50 pins with our artists, but it’s not an exact science. Between 35 – 80 is usually enough to capture the range of your brand.

Here’s an example of a moodboard. Do you get the feeling?

Leave a Reply