All illustrations by Kyle Kramer
In today's music world, making memorable songs is only half the battle. More than ever, success in the 'biz requires a savvy sense of branding and a full, 360 degree visual aesthetic to match the tone of your music. And unfortunately, most artists are falling short of the task at hand.
One of the benefits of being an editor at an esteemed music publication like Noisey is that I have a bit of a "bird's eye view" of the industry at large, and I understand the ins and outs of what gets people's attention. Few people have a better perspective on how to brand yourself as a musician than I do, since I think about this stuff day in and day out. While I could probably use that knowledge to rake in huge consulting fees, I am a man of scruples, and ultimately I just want to see my favorite artists succeed. So, to help these artists out, I decided I could refine their logos for a today's visual-minded marketing enviroment.
I've taken a few classes in graphic design, and I consider myself a bit of an amateur enthusiast of the craft. So, after brushing up on some of my skills, I set to remaking these artists' images. Below are the results. Get ready to rethink everything you ever knew about music.
People love The Strokes for their strong, robust, straightforward style of rock, so I tried to reflect all of those qualities in this new logo.
Slipknot? Total rebels. For this one, I wanted something a little "Psychosocial" and unexpected, which is how I landed on what you see above.
Sonic Youth were noise pioneers and true artists, so I wanted to go with something that said: "art."
For this one, I kept it simple and told myself: The greatest band of all time deserves the greatest logo of all time.
Here, I riffed on the classic Migos-Beatles comparison and drew on the same template as my Beatles logo.
Sigur Ros is known for being a virtuosic band capable of stirring vast, inchoate emotions from the very depths of your soul. I wanted to design a logo that similarly captured the ineffable beauty of existence, one that offered a similar uplift of the spirit and a window into realms of greater understanding.
You know what else KISS stands for? Keep It Simple, Stupid. This one is pure minimalism.
How do you capture the sneering emotion and rock sensibilities of these 90s rock stalwarts? I went for something that telegraphs depth from the moment you lay eyes on it.
It's hard to imagine hip-hop would be where it is today without Salt N Pepa, so I made sure to choose something that would suggest a proud legacy and, like the group themselves, have a sense of mischievous fun.
RIP Kurt Cobain. It was important to me to honor the legacy.
Skrillex is a badass, so I went for something equally badass. Had a little trouble cropping this one, so you can kind of see what comes next, but don't peek, and, like you do with the drop, just wait for it...
An all-star logo for an all-star band.
Timeless songstress Joss Stone needs a logo that communicates the subtle grace and beauty of her music. I aimed for those lofty goals, and I would like to humbly submit that I succeeded.
Up-and-coming Atlanta rapper 21 Savage is known for his tough, uncompromising street style. I wanted something that was going to communicate "don't fuck with me" while also giving the uplift necessary for an artist on the rise. Very "gangsta"!
Damn. Brooklyn stand UP!
Kyle Kramer is Noisey's graphic design specialist. Follow him on Twitter.