Create Your Visual Identity
Once you have completed the four steps of your Brand Toolkit, you should have everything you need to create your visual identity.
Your visual identity is anything that people see and associate with you, your band, and your products (music, merchandise, etc). It is important for ensuring that your image is consistently represented and that it communicates your brand and personality every time it appears. There are several steps in creating a visual identity:
Take stock of what you need.
Probably a logo for the band that you can place on t-shirts and album covers, but you also may want some artwork done for a particular purpose, like stylized photos or member caricatures. Know what you’re asking for before you approach a designer.
Research your options for designers.
Choose the one that will be able to give you what you want. If the designer can’t interpret his client’s needs and produces something that looks nice but is not meaningful, then he hasn’t given his client something valuable. Review a designer’s portfolio, ask to speak to some of his clients and see how they felt about the product they received. A good designer will be able to interpret your brand identity, values, personality and desires into a band logo and any other creative artwork you request.
Get brand guidelines.
Your designer should create brand guidelines – a set of rules that determine how you can place the logo, colors, fonts and any other attributes of your visual identity that need to be consistent.
The cost can range from $500 to $2,000 for your visual identity and brand guidelines. Ensure your contract with the designer explicitly states that you own the logo and artwork or you could run into some tricky issues down the road.
You should get one or two rounds of feedback on his first draft. This is where you see your personality emerge in a creative form. If you’re not satisfied with what you see, tell the designer honestly how you feel, and specifically why it didn’t resonate with you. Designers despise a round of feedback where the client says “I don’t like it” but won’t explain why. If, after a round or two of feedback you are still unsatisfied, you may need to find another designer.
Once you are happy with your logo, artwork, make sure you receive your digital files in formats that can be used to reproduce high quality images, both electronic and print. You also want to have options for color, black and white, outline, or other variations.
Who you are is the foundation of all your decision-making and messaging. Figure this out before you start reaching your audience.
If you want to stand out and be recognized, figure out what makes you different from other bands.