The 5 Pillars of the DIY Band, Part 3: Art and Design

This week I'd like to talk to you about Art and Design. Obviously I'm not talking about oil paintings and architecture, but I am talking about logos, shirt graphics and the direction to go in based on what you want to do with your band. I feel like this subject is most often overlooked, especially by newer bands. Whether or not your band is capable of creating your own graphics or not, knowing what you want out of it is very important.

Think of any band you like and I guarantee one of the first things you picture is their name and logo. Metallica, Opeth, Slayer, Symphony X, Dream Theater... I could go on and on, but you recognize their logo when you see it. Creating something that not only defines a band, but is unique and catchy enough to stick is pretty important.

We didn't want to be that band who has white Times New Roman font on a black box. But we didn’t want some crazy design with all our bandmates’ initials in it or anything either! We found that simple logos can be just as effective as insanely detailed ones. For our logo, I went with the simple look when designing it. We as a band wanted something where you can easily identify who it is, yet be unique and edgy enough to be picked out just at a glance as well. I went with connecting lines in almost a pulse look. I outlined our name with under and over scores to make it “pop.”

Now shirt graphics can be a good eye catcher for those who haven't heard a band, and of course for making money. We found that being able to design these ourselves is a great way to maximize our money intake on designs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting you to be a professional art designer — I know I'm not. But I started just messing around with Photoshop, even Illustrator, or any art programs can help with creating cool designs.

Some of the designs I've made were just text and minor graphics. Logo placement on shirts is pretty important. Whether you have a text logo, symbol logo or both, having them on the shirts (and visible) connect you (the band) with the image you're presenting. Probably seems obvious, but I know I didn't think about that when first working on shirts. Even though we have made our own graphics ourselves, we do go with outside artists who do amazing work like this for a living. It's pretty awesome to see how someone can interpret your music through graphic design.

Now depending on what type of band you are, you're going to want to have your logo and shirt graphics reflect the audience you're reaching out to. Probably a big duh, but you wouldn't want a Backstreet Boys-looking shirt for a death metal band. Something I would recommend is checking out what styles of clothing artists you listen to or who you sound like are doing because they might give you inspiration. Mixing graphic styles is something we wanted to do so we wouldn't alienate any specific genre of our sound. Before deciding on a shirt, send a mock up to people you know and value their opinions on. They may be able to help you with what you want to go for.

Check back again next week for Pillar 4: Networking!

Stealing Axion will release their debut album, Moments, on August 28 via InsideOut Music/Century Media Records. Check them out on Facebook here.

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