How creating an iconic image can further your career
Over the years, an artist’s image has become an increasingly important aspect of their branding. Gone are the days when DJs could simply show up to their sets in all-black clothing. Now, having the right image is much more vital than ever before. With so many examples of artists using their clothing and appearance to give them a unique edge, it is important for artists to explore whether their clothing really represents their brand well. Every established artist in the electronic music industry and beyond has a feature that enables them to stand out from the crowd. While some artists are able to succeed on the basis of their tracks alone, others have been able to make an even bigger impact on listeners through connecting their music with their iconic image. As an artist, your image is part of the whole package, it is a major factor in dictating your overall brand, so it is vital to choose the right image. Let’s take a look at some examples of artists who have harnessed their image to create an iconic brand.
One of the earliest acts to use image to further the strength of their branding was French duo Daft Punk. In their case, it was their mysterious lack of human identity that really made them stand out. The intrigue caused by their hidden identity and robot helmets made their mysterious image an integral aspect of their branding. The impact of their image was maximised by the fact that they never faltered or lost their brand over the years, and never actually revealed their true identity in an official capacity. At every single appearance, live show or red carpet, they always kept their robotic helmets on, keeping their branding strong and consistently reinforcing it, and their appearance as robots was always incorporated into their branding across platforms.
Similarly, deadmau5’s branding was founded on his hidden identity underneath his mau5 helmet. Although he has taken a much more relaxed approach, and makes no attempt to hide his identity, his mau5 helmet has become his trademark over the years and is consistently reinforced across all of his materials. A major aspect of his album covers, his mau5 logo has enabled him to stand out from the crowd even more so than other artists, and has made him unforgettable as a musician. His mau5 head is always incorporated into his show visuals, and is represented throughout all of his media, consistently reinforcing his core messaging.
While undoubtedly a quality musician, a proportion of Marshmello’s success has undoubtedly come from his unique identity. His iconic marshmellow helmet has made him stand out from the crowd, and has drawn even more attention to his releases. Through wearing his all-white outfit and marshmellow helmet at every single show, he has constantly reinforced his branding, and has made his message even more powerful. Now, he is globally recognisable and has become one of the most prominent figures in the industry. Marshmello is a great demonstration of the need to find your own trademark and never stray from it.
Dutch DJ/producer Don Diablo’s image has also played a major role in his career, although in a much different way. His image has been a huge aspect of marketing his merchandise and clothing line. When performing live, he can regularly be seen wearing current and future pieces of merchandise, always reinforcing his logo and branding. Don Diablo is a perfect example of using live performances to improve merchandise sales. Through consistently being seen wearing his own clothing line, consumer interest in the products is peaked, and the products themselves sell quickly once made available online.
Swedish House Mafia
During their reunion show, iconic trio Swedish House Mafia’s image was orchestrated down to the last detail. Each of the trio wore branded merchandise, some of which has since been made available for fans to purchase online, and some items are set to go on sale in the future. With all eyes fixed on the performance, the trio’s clothing played a huge part in illustrating their branding. Through their clothing, it was shown how far the brand had moved on, and how the brand was set to grow in the future. Through the modernisation of the brand, fans were able to see that the trio had big plans, and were ready to make an even bigger impact on the industry.
Whether using unique headgear to create a trademark or your clothing to sell merchandise, your image plays an integral role in your live performances. Although music is considered the most vital aspect of a live show, all eyes will be on you, therefore it is important to dress to represent your brand in an effective, positive light. Find something unique to use as a trademark, find a way to be easily recognisable on stage. Representing your brand visually on stage is a powerful tool, and can greatly increase your influence in the industry as a whole. In this day and age, it is simply not enough to just produce music. In order to really succeed in the music industry, it is imperative that you maintain affective branding, stand out from the crowd, and offer something unique in order to outdo the competition. Having your own trademark image can be a major catalyst in causing your career to spiral upward. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, and find something unique that will help you become an iconic symbol in the music industry globally.