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Elements Of An Artist’s Image

April 20, 2009

It’s very easy to say your image is just the look of your band, but image is really about authentically matching your music with the right visual elements. Everything you present to the world needs to be aligned with who you are. Think about your favorite artists. Those artists stay relevant because they know who they are and how to represent themselves.

Elements of an artist’s identity

1. Band style

Nearly every successful artist looks like his or her music. 50 Cent, Weezer , Amy Winehouse, Pearl Jam, and even the Flight of the Conchords look like their music.

Does your band look like your music? If you think you don’t have a style, or are against image, then that is your style. Be aware of it and embrace it rather then discarding an important part of your musical identity.

2. Live performance

This is where people get to match the music to the artist. The way you present yourself, the way the stage is decorated, the way you interact with each other and the audience, all becomes part of your image. The details of live performances are what will separate the amateurs from the professionals.

3. Photography

Amateur looking band photos make you look… amateur. There are tons of great hobby photographers who will do great work for you on the cheap, if not free. Remember, you should know what look you’re going for. Don’t leave it up to the photographer unless they have a clear vision and you agree with it. Be willing to work with the creativity of the photographer, but remember that it’s YOUR IMAGE.

4. Artwork

Again, the cover art of a single or an album conveys something about you. If you’re a clean-cut college rock band and you have a demon figure on your cover art, people may be a little confused when they see you live. Also, take some time and choose a proper band font. Coldplay’s use of the Hoefleur Text font works perfectly with their style of music. Find your best match.

5. Videos:

Music videos may not be played on MTV anymore, but they still help promote a band online. Crafting a music video doesn’t have to cost $100,000 in today’s world, creativity is the most important piece. OK GO’s “Here it goes again” video is a prime example of well planned out and cost effective video.


Remember, your look doesn’t have to be slick and polished, but it should stay consistent. Look at The Strokes, they came out with a totally un-polished look. However, that fit them perfectly. The recording quality was low-fi and meshed really well with the photography and sense of style.

Who you are as a performer, your music, and your visuals, all combine to create and build your image. If this sounds slightly overwhelming, don’t worry, no one said you have to figure this all out overnight. But it’s good to start thinking about it.

Take Control of Your Music


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