The Visual Brand of Music

By: Stephanie of S2M

November 1st 2015

Visual branding refers to the imagery fans will relate to yourself and your music, such as your logo, fonts, colors, merchandise and other visual consistency. Often musicians will take the DIY route to save on expenses, but in this world governed by technology and social media, professional imagery is very relative to a viewer’s opinion of your music. Throughout social media, your audience sees you before they hear you. We happen to be graphic designers at S2M (www.signedtomyself.com), with a niche for music related art so we’ve noticed some differences between major and indie acts. Most would think it’s their music, but it’s actually their branding efforts. Tons of inquiries cross our paths for music branded designs because visuals convince an audience to pay attention to what you bring to the table. Visual branding is what sums up who you are as an artist. If you fail to deliver your concept visually during the first view, you may have lost your chance to capture the attention of that viewer who unconsciously has developed an impression of what they think you represent.


As important as graphic design is, many artists don’t budget for it. They think it’s too expensive or not as important as the music itself. Let’s say for kicks, you’re an awesome sandwich maker (musician). All of your friends and family love your sandwiches (songs) and endorsed your idea to sell them to the general public. You pay top dollar for a facility (production), but you made the logo yourself. You took the pictures for your menu (album/website/flyers etc), and printed them out yourself and taped them up on the walls (social media).  Your mouth watering sandwich (great music) is served in a rolled up paper towel (poor packaging). You spend thousands on advertising, but the only return visitors you get are friends and family who have supported your sandwich making skills (music) because they were emotionally invested in you as a person. If you specialize in making yummy sandwiches, (music) you would want people to know how great it is. Restaurants spend lots of money on graphic design because they want to make sure their brands are properly represented to reach the people who eat their food. You can’t make a person listen with their eyes closed and buy your album because it’s produced well. Listeners need to buy into you first, but before they will buy in to you, you as the musician must buy in to yourself.  It’s difficult to think about how people may perceive you, so try not to. Instead find great people who can give you honest but professional feedback, and you will be well set to seeing a better reaction to your visual branding efforts.