Developing a Website that Reflects the Style of an Artist
Alan Long, from Classical Music Design, explains the opportunities and challenges of developing a website that reflects the style of an artist
Before websites became the go-to place for information or hubs full of content, it was mainly required for young artists. Now the weighting has changed, the industry has caught up and branding and design is now a calling card for every artist, orchestra or organisation. It’s therefore crucial that we as a design agency are able to carefully depict an artist’s style through their website and to remarket them as a brand.
There are so many different factors to consider in the classical music industry, in comparison to commercial projects, as designers are often designing for people with multiple interests, skills and assets, which can prove quite a challenge. When designing the website for international public relations company WildKat PR, for example, we had to take into account the vast range of their clientele from traditional classical musicians to contemporary composers, international touring orchestras to newly established quartets, world-renowned concert halls to trendy performances spaces.
Classical Music Design has emerged through a gap in the market for industry professionals and organisations who need an all-encompassing design agency that can create a brand out of an artist, orchestra or organisation. Branding and design is now a make-or-break deal in the arts, rather than an added extra.
It’s important to factor all these aspects into the design and house them coherently into one place. We are able to do this at Classical Music Design as we have not only an in-depth working knowledge of the classical music industry but also a huge range of experience in other contrasting fields. We have an unparalleled vision of the industry that non-niche agencies are unable to achieve, allowing us to differentiate between different companies, orchestras and artists, such as well-known universal record labels from independent companies.
Creating a Brand that Portray’s an Artist’s Style
We often get asked not to just design a website for an artist, but to create a wholesome brand around them that portrays their style, characteristics and creates a virtual representation of their sound. The award-winning website of Johannes Pramsohler, which won the Music Design Award for Art/Classical in 2013/2014 reflects these elements of the violinist seamlessly into a packaged brand or ‘product’. Through experience in understanding artists and a sensitivity of their image, we are able to quickly and accurately form ideas of the finished product from our initial meetings, guiding and edited them through discussion to create what the artist has in mind.
With Johannes, we knew that we needed to market him as an accessible, friendly, young musician whilst alluding to the traditions of his music and versatility. We used two contrasting colours – green and black – to reflect his modern twist on the Baroque, using a fresh colour to emphasise his style and as a contrast from the standard perception of the genre. To contrast this further, we decided to use black and white imagery, encapsulating a sense of the classic but with our vision in design we didn’t want to take the focus away from the contrasting colour palette. We used a lot of asymmetric lines in the design to show how complex his music is and ‘out of the ordinary’ to usual perceptions of the Baroque and also hinting at the movements that he uses in performances.
Importance of going beyond the usual remit
Whilst branding is primarily associated with design, we offer an all encompassing service, working closely with other people in the creative field, such as copy-writers and translators who are specialists at writing biographies and content for website. Since many of our clients at CMD are international performers, it’s crucial that we provide a range of languages for websites that do not rely on web translators. Our creative relationships also go beyond the usual remits; for the website of arts festival Music at Malling we collaborated with an illustrator who created a striking design for the website. Within our services, we also design and produce business cards, brochures, marketing materials and press packages, which we do in-house and with others in our industry who we have close connections with.
Artists need to consider themselves as a Product
One particular challenge of creating a brand for an artist is that they do not consider themselves as a product and are often not aware of how to market themselves, which is a major consideration for the designer. The classical music industry is an interesting development point between a charitable and non-profit art form, needing to provide artistic depth whilst also requiring a commercial edge. This means that the consumer habits of classical music need to mirror that of a brand, using the artist, orchestra or organisation as a product which needs to be marketed appropriately and respectfully of that field whilst also taking into consideration the mass market, in the way that the increasing number of cross-over artists do. Classical music in the digital spectrum therefore needs a designer who can apply these factors to the classical music world, expressing the sensitivity of individual artists and letting the design show through that.
Classical Music Design is an award winning design agency. Their in-house services include web design and development, project management and SEO expertise.They are one of the only agencies in the UK that deals directly with artists, orchestras and organisations in the arts and are able to create a commercial brand around their ‘product’ in a way that larger agencies with a variety of clients can.