Branding has always been an integral part of being a band or musician. Now, the industry is more crowded than ever before, with Spotify alone adding over 40,000 tracks a day. This means an eye-catching and captivating campaign extends far beyond album artwork.
Branding campaigns for musicians need to work across video content, merchandise, social media, band logos and more. A musician’s branding needs to be synonymous with the its music and members, instantly recognisable and above all, timeless. These well-known and indie acts offer a range of examples when it comes to nailing a musician’s branding campaign, and they all teach us something slightly different about the art of branding.
01. Taylor Swift
As one of pop’s biggest stars, Taylor Swift is one of the most influential artists out there. She has consistently nailed her branding campaigns, from 1989’s polaroid-heavy nostalgia, to the villainous Reputation era.
Reinventing herself for each album release has become a mainstay for Swift and that Reputation branding campaign, created by boutique agency ST8MNT is a masterclass in marketing. Deleting her entire Instagram feed, Swift then teased fans with images of a snake that flipped her previous bad press as a sneaky back-stabber into someone who was unapologetic, ruthless and inspiring. It’s certainly one way to reinvent yourself.
02. The 1975
British indie band The 1975 show just what you can do with a simple shape.
Creative director, artist, graphic designer and photographer, Samuel Burgess Johnson is responsible for most of their designs, which often include a rectangle surrounding their name across a multitude of their releases – proving that keeping things clear and concise can work wonders.
The shape has become synonymous with the group, with fans tattooing the shapes on their bodies and the band regularly using it for merchandise and tour imagery. Although their most recent release A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships seemed to stray from the rectangle, eagle-eyed fans pointed out that by connecting the squares, you could make out an array of rectangles.
If you’ve been a band (or perhaps a studio or brand) for over 10 years, it’s important to keep things exciting – especially if you’ve had a reshuffle of members. Paramore’s 2017 release After Laughter completely reinvented the band’s image from pop-punk kids to a glossy, 80s-inspired group.
Created by LA based designer Scott Cleary, After Laughter used bold duotones, clashing patterns, and zine sensibilities to completely transform Paramore’s image (much to some die-hard fans dismay). This new branding extended throughout their videos and merch, with the band also donning bright and bold jumpsuits in press imagery. Juxtaposing colourful imagery with an album that comments on mental health issues and isolation is a brilliant move.