Vital Visual Impact

As a part of the sub|division fam, a group of West-Coast music lovers pushing forward thinking sounds, we are celebrating our two year anniversary this month. 24 months packed with parties, mixes, tracks, and media coverage and the crew is still gaining momentum and further support. For sub|div, 2 years of content also means we’ve needed a lot of graphic work done. A lot. One undeniable aspect of this success is the consistently high quality branding work done by Carlin @ Cab Design. The identifiable logo, color schemes and fonts are a big part of the glue that holds the brand together (Monolithium being the other major ingredient in the adhesive mix!).

Silent Season is a BC based label that imparts a strong visual impact. Their website (perhaps my favorite ever) and every release feature high quality nature images including beautiful Vancouver Island forests. It feels like there photos they use for their website and releases are so much more than just images, they are an integral part of everything they do. It imparts their ethos.

Even if you are doing a free release, I believe it’s 100% worth it to commission some cover art. I’m speaking for myself here but I’m more likely to check out a track or mix if there’s quality cover art. Perhaps it shows that you value your work. High quality posters raise the pervieved value of events. Using great art that is somehow logically connected to each other creates a sense of consistency. Have you noticed in record stores or online that you can often tell what label a release is on before you read it?

I absolutely love Prison Garde’s no-nonsense approach to the visual element (as he also acts as a curator for Catalog Gallery).

On the topic of design. If you are booking me for a show, and the aesthetic for the print material resembles a psychedelic spirit / shaman disguised as a forest animal / has more than on fluo pantone on a primrary color/ has my name written in weed leaves, or any type of budda/shiva/lion of judah icons, I will not post the information about the show. Forgive me, but I place a great deal of importance on visual language, and do not wish to be lumped into things that I find aesthetically offensive.

With that being said, if you are booking me, and want a tight looking flyer, drop an extra 100 bucks on the booking, send me the copy, and let me handle it for you. I will make it pretty, promise.

If you look at Cabfree’s work for sub|division – your subconscious mind (see what I did there) already knows that it’s part of a body of work even before you consciously identify it.

  • Create an impression on your audience before they even listen.
  • Hire someone to do your graphic work (let a pro work for you!)
  • Consistency, consistency, consistency is key.

This post is not so much a “big up” to efforts of friends, but rather to highlight what is working. Consistent visual branding helps tremendously (thank you Carlin). Don’t miss a crucial aspect of music culture. Look good, on purpose.

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One response to “Vital Visual Impact”

  1. Étienne says :

    couldn’t agree more. we often come in contact with new music with our eyes first and I, for one, am certainly more likely to check out a release by an artist I know nothing about if the cover art is appealing and appears to be well thought out. it’s like wearing your soul on your sleeve
    a clear example of that for me is how I purchased Trentemoller’s album. there wasn’t a hype yet and none of my friends were into that kind of sound, but the cover (white trees against smokey black background) was so poetic it called me from the shelves and I bought the deluxe pack right away

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