”What’s in a name?” Undoubtedly one of William Shakespeare’s greatest quotes from his Romeo and Juliet play. Well, turns out a name influences public perception, and it’s one of several pieces that build an artist’s brand. Without compromising the integrity of your sound, an ever-evolving process, yet happens all too often with aspiring artists admit industry vets like Mark Knight and Carl Cox, it’s important to understand the external factors involved in building your artist brand. This Building Your Artist Brand Series: Establishing Your Presence installment approaches everything from landing on a name and logo to your brand’s look and feel.
A name can make a person smile and feel bubbly or frown and get cold hands. Choose a name you’re comfortable with and will be easy to remember (and say). Is it P Diddy? Diddy? Sean Combs? Confusing, right? If you’re not sold on a name yet that’s fine, just be cautious of rebranding multiple times. Also, picking a name is a part of building your artist brand that sometimes comes on its own, and can even come as an afterthought. Claude Vonstroke born Barclay Crenshaw, who also produces under his birth name, has admitted in a radio interview that he got his DJ name joking around with his friends. The name, then, kind of just stuck but so did his branding efforts.
While it’s encouraged to explore other genres and many artists create aliases for side projects, stick with one brand until that project has enough credibility with that given name. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and think long term.
Did you know that it only takes about a tenth of a second for people to form first impressions? People eat with their eyes, and visuals attract our attention, enhance our emotions, and affect our attitude. Consider how your artist brand’s look and even your personal appearance will influence people’s perception. Color schemes, fonts and graphics all add to the overall feeling your artist brand creates for others and will influence your logo. What do you want that feeling to be? Techno tends to carry a more minimal feel with artists favoring subtle colors like black. Less is more in the techno community, but everyone has their spin.
View your logo as your smile, and incorporate your artist look into it. Let it be an extension of how your music translates if someone were to hear you. Your logo can be how you choose to stylistically represent your name or symbols that personify it. Don’t lose sleep over it and have it be a fun, creative process; however, don’t let your logo fall to the wayside as it’s sometimes how someone first comes across you on a line-up without having ever listened to you. Your logo has the opportunity to communicate to someone before your music reaches their ears on an event flier’s lineup. It can be what catches someone’s eye and intrigue them. A logo can take inspiration from your actual artist name with a designful graphic like Green Velvet’s or an abbreviation of your name it as Charlotte de Witte does.
It can also take shape of a symbol taking shape of real things like cats as seen Coyu’s Suara label and branding, or there’s Deadmau5‘s mouse head logo that has become iconic and recognized worldwide. Other times, it’s not as concrete objects but left for the imagination like Armada’s “sails” or Bassnectar’s “butterfly” logos. Regardless, each logo holds weight in its respective music community. Whatever the case, further down the road a logo can also house broader branding efforts serving as the visual representation of yourself.
Just like there is a social etiquette “irl” (in real life) there are certain online rules to put into practice. Everything works toward building your artist brand. Your name, visuals, accompanying logo and the content you post online all feed into it. What’s your voice and tone? How do you want to be known? Will your online feed be inspirational and creative like Dirtybird’s Justin Martin or like Nicole Moudaber‘s cool-girl persona? Look to others for guidance, but ultimately be your own person. Nobody wants a carbon copy rather they want authenticity.
The same rule goes online as in-person: treat others how you’d like to be treated. Be good and do good. The third Building Your Artist Brand installment dives more into getting social: online and in-person. Building Your Artist Brand Series: Establishing Your Presence sets a foundation to build upon your artist brand as seen through the eyes of the public. Without the (electronic music) community there wouldn’t be a need for establishing an artist brand. There wouldn’t be an artist without an audience. On a greater level, read the 10 Principles of Electronic Music for important guidelines to practice within the music industry.