Updated: May 26
Branding and rock ‘n’ roll rebellion may not seem the most obvious of partners. I doubt if the Velvet Underground or The Clash thought we must get the logo sorted before we launch our blistering music to the wider world. Then again the VUs had Andy Warhol and they will forever be associated with the iconic banana on their first album cover.
And although they may not have particularly marketed it, the Clash had an immensely strong band identity. Just look at the three of them on the cover of their first album all attitude, ready for political action.
The Rolling Stones, The Ramones and AC/DC* have three of the most instantly recognisable logos in rock ‘n’ roll. At some point in time they were all considered outlaws of music yet they also took the time to create a lasting b(r)and identity.
We were talking on this in the Blowtorch offices when we were discussing how musicians now can make money. Unless you’re a Taylor Swift size concern streaming is unlikely to pay the bills. Similarly you could be a brilliant song writer but unless your tracks are picked up by a big star, again where is the money. So that leaves live performance, either out on your own or as a hired hand. And if you are out on your own why not sell some merchandise while you’re at it. It seems some people are still sniffy about selling merch but it’s a fact that the whole landscape of music sales has seismically shifted. If selling beautifully designed (and ethically sourced) T-shirts, vinyl and beanies makes enough for you to carry on writing recording and delivering new music then so what?
Which brings me back to what is essentially a branding exercise. Take some time to think about your name, how it could be written and also investing in a great logo which will look good on black and white, as they are the most common background colours. Try and find an artist who is also starting out and perhaps you can help each other develop. Design is a creative process and may spark off some songwriting ideas too. Identity! 'Do you see yourself on the tv screen, do you see yourself in the magazine?'
* for tips on playing guitar like AC/DC check out this great site