How to design your Visual Brand Identity as a creator?
by Doug Davala | Design Lead at Artist Originals & Lead Graphic Designer at JioSaavn
How to more effectively brand your artwork
Your brand as a musician or podcaster is what communicates who you are, and connects you to your audience. Here we’ll focus on producing visual elements that effectively brand your podcast or album artwork, whether you’re working with a designer or DIY’ing it.
A logo can be a consistent stamp on your artwork that makes it immediately identifiable as yours. If you’re a podcaster, your show will need to have at least a basic logo to be featured in the JioSaavn app. As a musician or band, having a logo isn’t an absolute must, but it’s helpful to at least think about your brand in terms of a single visual and ask yourself, what would that look like? Often the genre or style of music or podcast will shape the visual: Are you metal, hip hop, punk? Is your podcast comedy, news, true crime?
Your logo should help you stand out as an artist, so in general it’s best to avoid music notes, headphones, microphones, and the like (though there are always exceptions to every rule). Be creative! To start, take guidance from your influences — keep a collection of logos that you like as reference images that you can mine from in developing your own. (And do the same with artwork in general — if you see something you like while you’re out, take a pic and keep a folder.) Keep in mind that a logo doesn’t need to be incredibly complex — plenty of effective logos are essentially a simple mark and a well-kerned font.
Fonts, Colors, and Imagery
Your choices here are equally essential to conveying your brand. Lessons on typography, color theory, and image use far exceed the scope of this article, but the Internet is full of great resources and tutorials that can teach you the basics. Do your research — what fonts or font styles tend to pop up in your genre? What colors work together, and what associations do people make with the ones you’re using? What type of imagery is common, and how is it treated?
The choices you make should always be deliberate, and should make sense for you — a certain style, or filter, or effect might look cool in a different context, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fit for your artwork. When in doubt, send your artwork to a few friends and see if it makes sense to them, coming from you, without you having to explain it.
Repetition, Consistency, and Evolution
Any single creative probably can’t visually tell your entire story, so it’s important that everything you produce — album or podcast artwork, stickers, t-shirts, social media posts — reinforces your brand. Consistent use of even a single design element (such as that logo) sends a visual alert that a creative is authentically yours; it’s at once new and familiar, like a visual breadcrumb for your audience. (Here is an article about our own recent rebrand at JioSaavn, which showcases our design language and system, reinforced through repetition.)
You don’t have to be tied for all eternity to every design choice you make in the beginning, but you shouldn’t be starting from scratch with every creative either. Remember, everything you produce will either strengthen your brand, or weaken it.