Freestyle Academy proudly presents
2016 Innovator Project by WilliamT

The purpose of the Senior Innovator Project is use your own passion to innovate, create, and develop your own project.

Project Proposal

My project is going to be to research branding and marketing in the music industry. I am then going to use this knowledge to help my friend Scott who makes music. I love music and branding/marketing may be something I choose to do in college! I may make a music video for him, or use my graphic design skills to make some logos for him for his music CDs and his publicity.

Project Productions

Read my research paper

Project Reflection

Who or what is “Delamare" and why should we care? This is the question I tried to answer in my innovator project--how to bring to life the musical art of Scott Delamare, to help him create a musical brand that is recognizable, memorable and meaningful to audiences. I am a big music fan, and I have also become increasingly interested in exploring the fields or product branding and marketing. Consequently, I combined these interests to create an Innovator Project that enabled me to research the methods of marketing and branding in the music industry.

Through this research process, I gained an enormous amount of knowledge about successful branding and marketing techniques, which are based on the “21st century skills” visual and technological literacy and creativity. I learned that marketing and branding relies on these skills and uses strategies designed to educate an audience about a product, and eventually create instant product recognition. From my research, I now appreciate the different forms of visual literacy involved in branding in the music industry, including the importance of well chosen logos, and the use of music videos to create “brand extension” and expose and promote the artist to a larger audience. I also learned that successful branding and marketing in the music industry make the product meaningful to the consumer—they create an emotional connection to the artist.

While marketing and branding determine how you “sell” a product, I learned from this project that the person involved in creating the brand must also “sell” their ideas and services to the producer of the product. One must collaborate with clients to successfully portray the client’s vision in one’s marketing and branding schemes. Consequently, I worked hand in hand with Scott Delamare throughout the Innovator Project process. Scott produces a unique blend of electronic music that is very relaxing. It is a mixture of styles, incorporating some elements of reggae and electronic style music. When I asked Scott how he wanted his music to be represented in my graphic design logos and music video, he told me he wanted to present to his audience a “relaxed, laid back, ‘surfer-dude’ type product.” He wanted people to associate his music with nature, and the calm, “get away from it all” feelings a person can experience when they lose themselves in the outdoors.

In order to symbolize this emotional connection to nature, I first made some rough drafts of the logos I had in mind for Scott to use to advertise his music. Color scheme was an important decision I had to decide with Scott. We both agreed that lighter, more playful and upbeat colors would be the best choice to compliment his happy-go-lucky music. The music is not harsh, so the colors chosen in all the logos were also not especially dramatic or bold. Another request he made was for me to incorporate beach themes in a logo.

I am most proud of the logo that I created of a whale made of sound waves, with a thought cloud above the head filled with musical notes. This logo is an example of a “pictorial mark” –a symbolic image that is symbolic. I learned from my independent research that this type of logo is used to make a brand memorable and easily recognizable as a “mental file’ of the product—the way “hot lips” symbolizes the Rolling Stones.

I also made a “wordmark” logo with semi circles bordering the top and bottom of his name, “Delamare,” spelled out. On the bottom semi-circle, I put sand. Then, I filled in his name with palm trees, and made the top semi-circle a sunset. This type of logo, I learned in my research, is what “Google” uses. It can even change over time, as the Google wordmark does, which fills in the letters with either holiday or current events scenes. Since Scott wants his music to make listeners think of nature, I explained that his wordmark logo could change and include different nature scenes (mountains, rivers). He liked this logo the most and decided to use it to advertise his music on Soundcloud! This logo choice surprised me, as I thought that the logo I created of a fish, made of sound waves was more creative and memorable. This discrepancy in our final logo choices showed me how branding and marketing requires cooperation between the people creating the brand and the actually brand owner, and in the end, the artist creating the brand must accept the final decisions of the brand owner. I can imagine that this creative process can be a problem sometimes, when artist’s visions clash, the graphic artist still needs to find a way to still collaborate with the brand owner.

I am very proud of how I ‘innovated my own education’ this semester. I thought of this project and what it would entail, all on my own. I set deadlines to help keep myself on track to have the many logos and my music video ready to be turned in and shown on the due date. Also, I was proud of the fact that I researched a topic that I had never explored before. I did not have any prior experience with the branding and marketing fields, so learning all new material and using this new knowledge to write my essay and make my logos and music video was all challenging, innovative and fun in itself. I also did not know Scott Delamare well before the project. I had discovered his music on SoundCloud, but we were not good friends. Asking him to work with me to create his unique brand was a bit of a risk for both of us—he didn’t know if I would be any help to him, and I didn’t know if he would really collaborate with me.

While I am overall very proud of my work on the Innovator Project, there are still several things I would do differently if I could start all over again. For instance, after I turned in the project, I had an idea that I wish I had thought of earlier in the project. I realized that it would have been really interesting to give the have Scott post the logos as advertisements for his music during the time line of this project, and we could have tracked how his following grew in numbers, stayed the same, or declined in relationship to these new branding tools. Scott wants to expose his music to as many people as possible on the internet, so tracking his view count on Soundcloud before and after he used one of my logos would have been a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of my branding products.

Other things I would change if I could do the project over again relate to the music video I created. One major technical problem that I experienced was filming beach scenes. I went out to the beach several days in a row and I had a lot of problem with the lighting. The shots were really grainy and dark, and I ultimately did not use them. If I could do the video over, I would have reshot the beach shots to get cleaner, clearer shots. Pairing the artist and his music with the “laid back” beach motif provides the emotional connection that successful branding needs to achieve. While I think my other nature shots successfully created the emotional connection to nature, I would have also liked to feature Scott in the film, so that audiences can also associate him personally with the music. I would have like to have included shots of him performing live at some kind of venue, but he was not able to get a gig at the time, so this was not possible. However, I improvised and took shots of him using his electronic program and producing his music. I wanted to create the ‘emotional connection’ that this relaxing music that makes a person feel like they are away from it all in nature.

In conclusion, this project reflects how much I’ve learned and improved my “21st century skills.” Creation of the logos and the music video relied upon technical and artistic literacy, and showed my creativity. In order to understand different types of logos, and the important elements of brand creation I needed to do a lot of research, and this required self direction, as it was all independent research. Working with Scott to fulfill his brand vision required me to also work collaboratively, another important “21st century skill.” The technical aspects of filming in nature--with all the different lighting, wind and rain-was the most technically challenging “21st century skill.” Collaborating with someone I didn’t know well, to bring his vision of his brand to life was another big “21st century challenge.”

This was by far my favorite project during my time at Freestyle. I loved the freedom of expression the Innovator Project encouraged. I truly valued this project because it allowed me to dive into the fields of branding and marketing and obtain some real world experience. While I was already interested in these topics before I launched this project, after its completion, I further realize how much I enjoy branding and marketing and that I want to study them in college. I also valued this project because I think I genuinely helped my friend Scott with expanding his music audience. Scott really liked the logos I made, and he plans on using them for future song covers. My logos and music video will make sure audiences can answer the question “Who or what is Delamare and why should we care?"