The music release as a brand

The music release used to concentrate on one media channel to reach it’s audience: the physical format – and maybe a simple T-shirt design and a stage backdrop. Designers in the music industry used to be restricted to the dimensions of a vinyl sleeve or a CD case to showcase the music of their clients visually before the consumer had heard the music. Although there were some iconic and expressive designs, they were limited due to the fact that record stores would only stock packaging that was a specific size.

Today, people are now consuming media through a much larger variety of outlets. The rising popularity of the music download has brought about many new design opportunities. And the arrival of new technologies is driving the popularity of new media channels (namely mobile devices, social media and Youtube), these go hand in hand with the most popular format of music consumption today. The future of design in the music industry could now become a multimedia, cross-format experience that can connect with the viewer on both physical and digital platforms. Artists such as Arcade Fire and Bjork are fully cementing themselves in the digital era – with their albums being released in conjunction with apps, interactive websites and viral online marketing strategies.

Graphic design in the music industry today now takes on many forms in various new media. There is some exciting, engaging and innovative work appearing that not only gives the listener visuals to accompany their music, but offers an immersive experience that is long lasting in the memory of the fans that it is created for. We have have come a long way since the vinyl releases of the past. The music release as we know it has evolved from a simple 12” record sleeve to an ever-expanding digital (and physical) presence. The main problem that designers are facing in the music industry is keeping up with the ever-changing mentalities of the music consumer.

Just as design in the music industry is now more than just a vinyl or a CD, the same can be said for what we do for our clients at Fogg. One of the key things that has been reinforced for me whilst working here is that branding is not just a singular aesthetic or a logo on a business card and a letterhead. It is an experience that is felt across many different formats – be it a website, a book, a billboard, a social media presence, a magazine advert or even an appearance on national TV! And just as designers are having to keep up with the evolving music industry, it’s essential that we are up-to-date with the skills and strategies that are needed for our clients’ present-day needs. Your brand can speak to a huge audience on many different levels – and we can help you to realise these opportunities. No matter how big or small your organisation is, there will always be an exciting new way to reach your audience. Really, anything is possible!

Jack Fairhurst,