Sometimes all you need is a logo, but here at Solt Creative, we feel it's our duty to look beyond that, to push the thinking further, and deliver the unexpected. Grab a drink. This is a fun one.
James Bright’s career in the music industry as an electronic artist and producer already spans two decades, and with that comes a bucket load of experience and a respected position in Balearic genre circles. Drawing on his industry knowledge and success as an artist gave him the opportunity to start his own record label. All he needed from Solt Creative was a logo… or so he thought.
We started this project the same way we start any logo or brand project – by gathering as much information about James’ plan as we could; the purpose of the project, who the audience is, the positioning, timeframes and deliverables etc, etc. However, unlike any other branding exercise we’ve worked on, there was something incredibly refreshing during the ‘purpose’ stage.
“The main reason I want to start this label is so that I have more freedom to release my own music.”
You see, a huge opportunity that comes with owning a record label is that you can sign other musicians and release their music. You’d get a cut of the sales and the business would grow. When we talked to James about how important it is for his label to attract new talent his response was inspiring: “the main reason I want to start this label is so that I have more freedom to release my own music”. Game-changer. Creating a strong brand identity that displays consistency across all media will certainly elevate your business but perhaps, on this occasion, all James needed was just a logo?
A logo is often the starting point for most people when approaching a creative team to help launch a new project and, while it is a very important element of the brand to get right, there’s often a world of opportunity waiting in the wings – you just need to be prepared to open that door. Fortunately for us, James was open-minded enough to let us explore the possibilities.
James had already picked the name for the label: Life on Earth Recordings. One box ticked. We knew straight away that simply plonking a globe where the ‘O’ should be isn’t enough. It’s unoriginal. The same too for anything overtly focussed around an icon of earth. James wanted something abstract that reflected the kaleidoscopic offering of the Balearic genre and, having delved into the music ourselves, we couldn’t have agreed more.
Following a handful of informal meet-ups in the studio (and on occasion, at the local public house) to discuss ideas and get to know his world, we presented James with a single option. And he loved it.
As simple as the icon may first appear, it exhibits two important aspects of music and, of course, a visual link to the name of the label. We used Forma DJR for the wordmark – a modern take on a traditional sans serif that aligns with modern, technology-led electronic music, while also giving the brand an established feeling.
The positioning of the icon next to the wordmark allowed the two elements to work independently from one another, carefully crafted to consider the wider visual identity.
The brand identity
We could have stopped there. The brief was to stop there. But we simply couldn’t. When opportunity knocks you have to open the door, and with this newly crafted logo we could see the potential it had if we could roll it out across other media. Plus, James was a top chap and we wanted to give him something that could scale, if he later decided he wanted it to.
With this, we presented a smorgasbord of visual mockups that captured the essence of the brand; posters, stationery, a website, album artwork and more. This opened up the brand and enabled James to see beyond a flat logo on a page.
We introduced photographic imagery as varied as the music genre itself, showcasing life on earth; from sunrise to poolsides, nightlife to wildlife. Nature, culture and architecture, united by the brand icon. We gave the brand identity rules, which are important, but also the flexibility to be playful and spontaneous. Finally, we established an opening statement that encapsulated the brand’s values and vision:
“Life On Earth Recordings was founded for the very purpose of providing the soundtrack to a life well travelled; for the smooth operators and the cocktail waiters; the slower-pacers to the good-time celebrators. And voyage we must, at times, to escape the hustle and bustle.”
Letting the creative momentum flow
James was so blown away by our vision for the brand that he commissioned us to start working on other assets he required. We don’t openly offer web design but we pulled a simple site together for his launch. Track artwork was something we hadn’t produced before – we created a set of three artworks to accompany his first debut label EP (with another four due for release later in the year). We also created animated videos, again not necessarily our forte, based on the EP artwork to use on Spotify and YouTube.
Across all media on various platforms one thing was key. Consistency. Creating everything in-house at Solt kept a steady hand on the development and output of the brand, and we take great pleasure in considering ourselves brand guardians. After all, consistent presentation of a brand, according to Lucidpress in 2019, has been seen to increase revenue by 33%. (Obviously in the case of Life on Earth Recordings it’s not all about the sales reports, but we thought it worth throwing that little tidbit in).
James gave us the freedom to explore and experiment with his brand, and in return we feel we delivered something he’ll be proud to champion for years to come. And don't just take our word for it:
"You guys did an absolutely amazing job. Thank you so much. From start to finish you made what was a daunting process for me so easy. Your creative vision far surpassed anything I could imagine. Thanks for everything, looking forward to working continuously with you this :)" James Bright
Recognising the potential of a brand or idea is something we take huge pleasure in (honestly, we're like kids in a sweet shop once we get going) but the credit must also go to the open-minded client willing to push the boundaries and test new ground.
Fancy unleashing the potential of your brand? Talk to us.