I taught a class at Art Center College Of Design with the focus on creating Brand Atmospheres™ for an artist or a band. I am very passionate about music, design and branding, so the outcome of the class was a big success for the students as well as for myself, which most often is the case when you put passionate people to work together.
Based on us just having spent 3 months designing for music as a group, it was reassuring to see today’s digital music fans being very opinionated, and also quite savvy, about design and brands that are being built around their favorite artists as new albums are being released.
Three of my favorite creative collaborators, Depeche Mode, U2 and Anton Corbjin, sparked this blog entry. Depeche Mode’s soon to be released single design to the upcoming ‘Sounds of the Universe’ album is, well, let’s face it ‘wrong’. I will not bash it more then others have already done before me, but it is amazing to see fans’ mock-versions appearing online when the single will not even be released until April 6th. As a bonus I throw in the design of the full-length, just so we all understand the depth of the design issue at hand. Anton Corbjin is the backbone of the visual re-launch of the Depeche Mode brand in 2009, and it shows that an amazing creative force with a unique vision for the moving image, does not immediately make a good graphic or brand designer. Or typographer of course:
The mock ‘remix’:
The full length album design (NOT a mock-version):
U2′s just as eagerly awaited full-length feels like the opposite to me and I was taken by its beauty and modern simplicity, yet the equal sign disturbed me mainly because of Coldplay’s very apparent and frequent use of the ‘trade fair’ symbol. Yet, as you can read here, fans of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto and U2 had their own strong opinions.
And the ‘trade fair’ logo as seen in tattoo form:
The power of brand building, seen in one of its mass market – and most competitive and critically viewed – forms.
On that note I salute our friends at Audiolife for having launched their web site recently. The power of music and design, displayed in a visual language that, we hope, shares common ground.