Q&A With Harmonic Concepts – Graphics in the Music Industry
MB: How valuable is it for an artist /band to hire a graphics company tailored to their industry?
Jeff: It is very important to hire an experienced designer that can offer a diverse portfolio, especially in music. From my experience, a lot of designers are very linear & technical, or aren’t able to conceptualize designs that are suitable for musical genres… so having someone that has experience in the music industry will save you time and money. My best advice would be to find an experienced professional that will be capable of producing designs / illustrations within your specific music genre.
MB: What are the most important key components a band should need for branding themselves graphics wise? What should a band not be without?
Jeff: When a band is ready to talk design & branding, it is important for them to know what genre of music they will be classified as by industry professionals. Another important point that bands should know is that they should do a lot of research on what they like or dislike about brands that are within a similar genre. If the client (band) knows what they want, it will allow the designer to narrow the creative scope when executing branding elements. A band should always invest in a solid word-mark first and foremost. A word-mark is a design that literally spells out the band’s name in a creative and unique manner. Secondary logos, icons and emblems can always be added to existing word-marks down the road for merch, stage production material, marketing material and so on…
MB: What has your favorite project been to date and why?
Jeff: That is a really hard question to answer! I have a lot of fun with every project I take on… I think the most exciting part of my job is hearing from new artists and bands, and taking their art (the music) to the drawing board and creating a visual representation of it. Developing imagery from sound is a really cool process… you just have to dive right in and be flexible enough as an artist to roll in any direction the music may take you. I guess I could say that the best part of my job is dealing with ‘the unknown’. It really allows me to have fun with it and create something that I know I will be proud of submitting to my clients.
MB: What sites that you have designed do you like to use for an example for a simple splash page artists can use as a building block until they need a full site?
Jeff: I basically use anything and everything from my http://harmonicconcepts.ca/webdesign page. I take a lot of time and care with my clients to really assess what stage they are at in their careers and what would be suitable for them in their efforts to move forward with their project. For example: If an artist is between album cycles and is working a new single… I would only really recommend a simple splash page that will cover the necessities until they are ready to put more effort into up-keeping a fully functional blog site. Having years of experience in the music industry has also proved to be valuable to my clients, as I am able to offer realistic advice on what to invest in, rather than solely being a sales-driven business. I care about what they need, and I think that has really allowed Harmonic Concepts to come to the surface in when people think of the Creative and Music Industries.
MB: What additional graphics/costs do you see a lot of bands doing that you find unnecessary?
Jeff: It’s all about timing. If an artist comes to me and says “I need a single cover designed”, I usually prefer to have a one on one with them about their future plans with the imagery I am about to create. Costs can be saved by timing your creative out properly. If they want a digital design for iTunes (for example) and 3 weeks later want to get CD Sleeves printed, they often don’t know that the designers have to start from scratch because print design and web-based design are so different. If you design the other way around, it takes much less time and money to modify your print-ready designs to work for your online needs. You have to be smart about your timing. This brings me back to question #1… hire someone that knows what they’re doing in your Industry and you will be saving a lot of time and money.
MB: Any advise for up and coming designers in the music and arts industry?
Jeff: Do as much work as possible in ways that challenge you. A good artist is one that is able to adapt… If your experience is in corporate or agency creative and you want to work in music – you have a lot to learn to be able to adapt. Don’t be afraid to do work for free at first, especially if it is going to help you expand your creative abilities… Remember that you’re providing a visual representation of a client’s art that they have poured countless hours, emotions and dollars into. Make sure you’re pouring an equal amount of energy into the representation of their art. Lastly, have fun with it!