Getting an effective music logo design that is going to work for your brand can be daunting…
Getting an effective logo that will work well at representing your music project, be it a label, event or as an artist can be daunting. I’ve compiled a quick reference guide to help you get started.
I have been creating logos for my music clients since 2005, well over 15 years now. I’ve created all man new of designs, for bands, singers, record labels, festivals, DJs, rappers, producers… well, you get the picture.
Despite having designed hundreds of logos, I have to approach each with fresh eyes, forget what’s gone before and attack each project completely new. This means starting with a blank canvas, a brief, a sketch pad, some trusted design books and Google.
My first line of attack is always to familiarise myself with the brief, find the nuances in it, try to get in the head of my client. I can usually pick up on a feeling or general direction wanted from the brief, and the better and more detailed the brief is, then the easier things run and the better the results. Once I’ve got a good idea my next stop is Google, where I begin to search for inspiration.
So what advice would I offer to anyone thinking about getting a music logo done?
Below I have detailed a few thoughts, some general guidance and traps to avoid when compiling brief or starting to think about your logo in general.
A good music logo is unique. Like you.
You might make death metal, folk music, euro-pop or dubstep. It doesn’t matter. To stand out and have the right audience take notice of your logo you need to be unique and think differently. In the same way, good music is unique and instantly identifiable to its audience, so too must your brand be.
It’s surprising how many briefs I get that say I sound like ‘X’ so I need to look like ‘X’. E.g I’m a dubstep DJ that sounds like Skrillex, so I want a logo that looks like Skrillex…. I often wonder if that’s how they approach their music too. It’s a sure-fire way to get lost in the crowd. If you’re a Skrillex copy, you’ll be seen as one and therefore will never get the kind of respect an artist like Skrillex would get. Rember before Skrillex, there was no Skrillex. Be someone other, less unique people will want to copy.
A good tip is to try to find inspiration from the most unusual sources you can, the more unusual the inspiration the more unique the design will inevitably end up. Think laterally. Avoid the temptation to look at too many of your counterparts for inspiration. Avoid it. Think carefully about who you are and try to form a brief based that. your market appeal is important but try to be original.
Keep it simple
A strong logo is unfussy. Bar black metal band logos, a good brand will be strong, clear, identifiable quickly and work at all sizes. The practical aspect is that in this day and age your music is going to be online mostly. Potentially on a 100px square somewhere! A fussy logo will just end up looking like an ink spot on the artwork.
A way around this is to create a shorthand logo or icon. the idea being that you have your text-based logo and then shorthand version. One you can easily use as a profile image. Ideally, you’d want your text-based logo to work with the icon, or the two work independently depending on the application. Your icon might look cool on a cap for example or as the full logo on a tee. Having a versatile logo that works well on merch is worth bearing in mind. Which brings me to my next point…
Its an investment! Don’t be a cheapskate.
A logo is an investment. It shouldn’t be a hassle or chore to get done, look at it as the visual culmination of your entire musical efforts, your whole sound encapsulated in one design. Get one done on the cheap and you will end up with a sub-par result that one no one will want on their tee shirt. The flip side is that if you get yourself a professionally designed, polished, original logo people will want to wear it and show it off and you will reap the rewards, believe me.
I’ve seen it happen. I have designed logos for clients who go on to sell tee shirts based purely on the design. I love it! Any money they spend on the design is quickly forgotten by the time tee shirt profits roll in. On top of that exposure of your brand (which is what the logo is at its core) equals exposure for your music. Why would you waste time and energy on getting a crappy logo done?
In summary, treat your logo project with the respect and reverence it deserves. It should last you a long time and ideally never need to be significantly changed. It is your avatar, your sacred rune, your symbol, it’s what represents you and the first thing people may often associate with you and what you do. The more care, attention and investment you put into getting it created the far more effective it will be. Do it once and do it right.
I hope that has been of use. If you need any help with your logo project, I’d love to help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org