You may already have a stonking fan-base that fills your gigs, but as your fame grows your newest fans mean just as much as your loyal ones. After all, a band is a business, and who doesn’t dream of being rich and famous with that all coveted ‘cover of the Rolling Stone’?
While social media sites are a great place to start, their future popularity is unpredictable. In 2006 Justin Timberlake’s MySpace was the biggest social networking site in the world, but by 2011 is it had lost nearly half its users and advertisers shunned it. Facebook is going the same way – after all not just mum and dad but even granny is on it. There couldn’t be a better way to kill ‘hip’.
Let it be a lesson – change is constant. Anything truly cool is vulnerable to aging and the immunity factor, just like those antibiotics you’re being told not to take unless you have a serious infection. Twitmusic, Spotify, Instagram– anything your old aunty or baby brother can use will likely take you far from the professional (and perhaps raucous) image you’d rather present.
Hopefully you’ve already tuned in and launched your own independent website. This is great for stability, control and communication with your own niche market. But for attracting new fans, not to mention journalists, booking agents, promoters or even labels, nothing beatseye-blasting posters or print flyers that make the folks you want to reach slow down and stare. Great concert posters and logos are now cultural icons, as you can see in the stunning pop/rock art and design collection at the Victoria and Albert museum. The famed Rolling Stones ‘lips and tongue logo’, so naughty when it graced the Sticky Fingers album in 1970, takes pride of place and is an image no one in the history of rock has ever forgotten.
Make sure, however, that images don’t distract from the most crucial part of your text- the who, what, when, and where. We’ve all seen those cheapie prints where the website and other contact details is lost under a riot of ink. Sloppiness like this means your message is lost and your sure-fire hit is consigned to the garage with the rusty drum set forever.
Likewise, great graphic design means building a distinct image for your band’s message and fan base. Your visual identity needs to generate instant recognition as well as emotional and aesthetic appeal. Color consistency, such as a striking red, white and black, will pierce visual complacency as it did in early Bolshevik posters, and moody blues suggest a private pain in need of jazz horns and soulful lyrics.