Hey guys, it’s been a while I know. I’ve been trapped with deadlines and writers block. I had a much longer post planned for today but I didn’t finish it in time so I’ve decided to write this instead.

Lately I’ve been reading this blog a lot and really enjoying it. It’s written by L.A. based designer Kyle Valentic whose portfolio is linked there and who you can follow on twitter here. The blog is not metal specific and rarely covers the harder side of music. But in design, as with music, I believe it’s important to keep an open mind, so I can cast aside my elitism for a little while. I like that the stated goal of the blog is to document ‘how bands communicate with their fans.’ It implies that he goes deeper than simply graphic design and critiques the whole musical package and brand of an artist. He stays true to this goal, covering album artwork, special edition packaging, websites and other promotional materials. Needless to say there is some very cool work out there and some very creative people working in all aspects of design for musicians.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dYWof3QZbQ&feature=player_embedded]

What lead me to write this post however, was Mr. Valentic’s recent post about the band Fucked Up and their trailer for their new album David Comes To Life. I enjoy this video because the band is very open about the branding and marketing strategy behind their cause. Clearly, they are not doing it for the money, so it’s even more interesting to see what drives them and how they view themselves and what they are creating. All bands have a brand image that they want to achieve and a target market in mind, Fucked Up happens to know exactly what both of those are for their band. The exciting part is how thye constantly strive to stay within the guidelines they have set for themselves, while still creating new and exciting music. Notable aspects of the video include the band members talking about the aesthetic of the band and what influenced and inspired it, how they decided to use a logo which has stayed constant throughout the years, how the album artwork matches the lyrics of each release and how it’s not just about the music on the record but the whole package including the live show. They discuss their strategy for releasing material (singles instead of albums) and you will notice that their album covers always follow the same visual guidelines. Even the lead singer’s unique performance style is taken into consideration and used to maximum effect.

Now most of this stuff is fairly common sense. A band needs to have an idea of how they are going to do things and how they will communicate with their fans (to borrow RockBrand’s words). But it’s refreshing to see a group talk about this aspect of their career so openly. It’s doubly interesting because Fucked Up is a punk band who clearly does not care about appealing to the main stream, yet they still consider their marketing and branding strategies on the same level as corporations.

Anywho, Fucked Up’s new album drops on June 7 and I would encourage everyone to check it out. Their last album, The Chemistry of Common Life is also pretty rocking so give that a listen too if you want to see what a carefully branded and managed post-hardcore band sounds like.

– SS

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