Music is one of the most abstract creations out there. It involves physical effort but the result still stays as something “invisible”. Yet it can be the most concrete way to describe something; such as the heart beat.
Having a vision of an end product is sometimes just not enough. To reach there, the musician or the musicians and their production team need to come up with a plan. There is plenty to think about from styling the visuals to the language and character of the online advertising profile because this abstract end-product that all musicians spend their lifetime to “better”, needs to be presented as physically as possible.
Below are some strategic decisions that are recommended to starting projects to consider; making the choice from the beginning can prevent a huge headache in the future steps.
While planning the visual and physical form that represent their songs, musicians often draw a whole world around it. Audience picks this up mostly unconsciously, but sometimes the “look” gets so much associated with the “sound” that a writing style, a clothing style, a color palette can be associated with a certain type of music or musician.
This does not have to be seen as a rule, since there are music styles that one can’t associate with “a” style of clothing, or “a” style of design, but even then, various visual styles can hint the “sound” of the person, persona or product. A musician on the ladder must then analyse the strategies of their heroes and heroines.
Given examples only concerning the visual-end of some of the most deservingly famed artists; Björk and Lady Gaga’s constant out-of-the-box thinking, Madonna’s success to constantly update herself to the current and changing the current from within can be given as examples of the look and the style from the bold end; whereas black-and-white headshots where the members are in their most transparent and genuine selves, the bands Travis, Coldplay and Radiohead do not ask for this bold of a distinguishment from their audience, they distinguish themselves from the others with other means and forms. So, even within the “image” of the person/persona/product one can have different desires. Wanting to “be one with them”, or wanting to “be the only one” address different consumers and audiences.
This reflects on the sound as well. Most indie genres are products of people who started their path with what they had; without climbing to the top of the financial ladder, they wanted to show the audience that it is the “idea” that counts rather than the hi-finess of the music. And often, as long as the music is good, the audience received the means beyond the quality, and famed the low budget bands to a level that the many indie bands gained the means to provide hi-fi music.
This type of separation can also be seen in the approach towards the audience; bands that use “We” in public announcements certainly want to link to their audience on a more personal level while the bands and people that use “They” to refer themselves are projects with a need to sit on a different position than their audience. Both approaches come with a need or an idea behind, so it is important to make this choice at the start and keeping the sympathetical, cool, kind, aggressive, bold, serious, glamorous or down-the-earth approach stable.
Within the presentation of the individuals one can also see a difference. Britney Spears or Rihanna or Yann Tiersen don’t exist on stage alone (often), yet (often) they do not present themselves teaming up with their bands like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Adam and the Ants or Bob Marley and the Wailers would or did. These all lead the audience to various conclusions, and sometimes are strategies of the production. It is good to keep an eye on the current fashion of naming of the existing projects; and one should always remember, even when going on a solo career, it is a good deed to give credit to the people who walk to the same stage with the solo artist!
Visual unity is another topic that can be discussed and justified from two totally different ends. Some bands and musicians like to stick to the “logo”, while others shift their visual and text style from album to album to reflect the content of the album to its most. There are so many names that we know today as strict as a brand that never associated themselves to a logo. Each album of Sting comes with a unique layout, so as Leonard Cohen and Adele, but we know their consistency does not rely on their font choice. Meanwhile, Metallica can change their sound to the most modern edge with every single album, go out of their classical heavy metal roots or “reinvent heavy metal” as some refer, but they bring their spirit on their logo to every single product they create. Blind Guardian and Dream Theater members can change here and there, but the logo and the image of the band stays as invented in the first place. So both choices are valid, the important part is to decide on one and keep it running.
Here in AlbumCoverZone we can help you with the last decision to make. Next to our hundreds of uniquely designed covers, we also provide customization service in many forms. If you want your album to have your own logo, our designer team is here to place it on an album art that you enjoyed from our ever growing unique selection. If you enjoyed the layout of an album but you want your artist/band photography on it, we can sort that out as well. All you have to do is to contact one of us via the firstname.lastname@example.org for learning the possibilities. Because when you work with AlbumCoverZone to release your single or album, you do the music, we cover the rest.