Now that you know what genre you’ll do and what you will sound like, you’ll have to further work on your image and identity. In this subchapter we will focus on the following:
- your identity, and what you stand for
- your artist or stage name (no matter if you’re a solo artist or a band)
- your initial web presence
- font(s) you will be using
- your logo (optional, but often a good idea)
- colors you’ll use
- your look and visual style
- your photos and your biography
All of this will be part of your brand, if you want. If you don’t know what a brand is, here’s a short definition:
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. – Wikipedia
Developing your identity and your own brand will be OVERLY IMPORTANT, no matter what kind of music you do.
Your brand will help fans will recognize you, and it will also help to get the attention of further potential fans. Your brand is important, and it has to be consistent with your genre, your sound, and your message. If I say “Pink Floyd”, then you’ll not only think of one or more songs (most likely Another Brick In The Wall Part 2, and maybe some others), but also of their album covers (The Dark Side Of The Moon for example), as well as other visual elements such as photos or live show objects maybe (think of those giant inflatable puppets).
An artist is usually much more than just a name, a photo, and a song.
It’s an entire package consisting of a large number of elements, which all represent the image and the message of the artist.
As an artist you will offer your fans an EXPERIENCE, and that’s usually a bit more than just your songs. This experience needs to be AUTHENTIC and CREDIBLE, and it will also need to be both RECOGNIZABLE and DESIRABLE.
In other words:
You will have to be COOL – or hip, or dope, or fucking great, or whatever term fans will use in your genre.
Your fans must be proud to support you, as you’re simply the greatest artist on the planet. Your music will be insanely great, but you will also look like a real star, and all of your designs will represent all of this. Don’t forget that every single successful artist needs to work on those things, and even the Masters Of The Past did this – some of them got help by their manager(s) or their record company, while others were real marketing geniuses when it came to developing an own image (just think of James Brown, David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, or Madonna for example).
Even those artists who were perceived as being "non-commerial” often excelled in this domain, such as Nirvana and The White Stripes for example. And even wierdos such as Frank Zappa had their own crazy image. And this is also true for all genres, including hard rock and heavy metal – just think of Back Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden, or AC/DC, who all carefully designed their logos and put a lot of energy into the fine-tuning of their highly recognizable visual elements. Even Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles cared about their own visual style.
So if you think that you won’t need to work on those things, then you already lost the game, and you will NEVER make it.