Are you a graphic design prodigy? If so, this might not be of any use to you.
Or are you thinking to hire a graphic designer to help with your music branding?
If you have the time or technical know how to learn programs like Photoshop, Premiere, or even Canva, then more power to you.
However, if you’re like us, we understand the struggles of getting your photos and videos to look just the way you want them to.
You know that having amazing visuals is crucial to your success, so what can you do when you can’t create these elements on your own?
One option is to obviously learn how to do it yourself, but this can consume valuable time. The other option is to connect with talented professionals who can help develop your content in alignment with your brand.
What Is In This Guide
Why Does A Musician Need A "Visual" Artist?
A visual artist is someone who understands that an image is worth a thousand words when it comes to communicating with your fans. They also help you visually bring your vision to life to help accompany your music.
A trained graphic designer or videographer can help you design a logo, website, social media banners, cover art, vlogs, music videos, etc.
The reality is anyone can slap these things together rather quickly, especially with all the free video and design apps out there today.
If you want to be an artist that just “slaps things together,” then be my guest. There’s little need for paying for a designer to help you develop your content if that’s the case.
However, if you care about your brand and the message your content sends to your audience, then a designer can certainly help you create some fantastic content.
Realistically, we live in a world where first impressions are everything, and your visuals might be the first thing someone comes across before thinking of checking out your music.
Don’t leave your visuals to chance. This content is right up there in importance with your music. If you’re still on the fence, below are some key benefits of having a visual designer you can trust on your team.
6 Things A Skilled Graphic Designer Will Do For You:
Save You Time And Money
At first glance, you might assume that hiring a visual artist to help with your content will be a costly and time-consuming endeavor.
We get it. Money might be tight, and investing in some help might feel like you have to break the bank. However, in many cases hiring a talented visual artist can be very affordable.
Think about college and university students looking to build their portfolios. You can track them down by posting in topic-specific Facebook groups or on subreddits.
You could even send an email to a department administrator at a school, giving them a detailed description of the job and deadline. They may pass on the word to lots of qualified and hungry candidates.
Chances are they’ll charge you a very reasonable rate as well because they want to build their portfolio and want to get their name out there.
Or you might even have a close friend with the required skills willing to lend a helping hand.
Furthermore, this is an investment in your career. Your music videos, for example, should be looked at as assets that will hopefully stand the test of time. If they get enough traction on platforms like YouTube, they can even begin to start making you money.
Again you can do things on your own, especially if you’re talented, but if it’s going to take you months to edit a video, think of all the other vital things you could be doing with your time to help advance your career. Realize that your time is worth something and you can never get that time back.
Have More Knowledge, Experience, And Equipment
This point is especially true if you don’t have the training or equipment to create the professional-looking visuals needed to entice an audience.
Remember that the visuals you put out into the world will become associated with you in fans’ minds for years to come.
As an emerging musician, there is no doubt that you’ll have to wear many hats and learn a ton of new skills outside of the realms of just music, and we encourage you to do so.
The thing is, skilled graphic designers or videographers take years to master their craft, whether through formal schooling or personal experiences. When you get someone who actually knows what they’re doing to help you, you can trust that all their years of knowledge and expertise will make a difference when your project is complete.
This is what they do for a living, and their past experiences with various projects will give them the confidence to bring your vision to life.
Help You Leverage Their Network
One of the most high-profile examples of a musician/visual artist collaboration was when Lady Gaga got Jeff Koons to handle the artwork for her “Artpop” album in 2013.
Whether you’re an art buff or not, you’re probably familiar with some of Koons more famous work.
Now you might not be able to reach out and work with Koons as Lady Gaga did. However, you can totally try messaging a designer you love on Instagram and see if they’re willing to work with you on your next project.
Keep in mind that the visual artists you intend to work with have their own networks and like to show off their work with their followers. They might even have a strong online presence, which could mean extra promotion for you!
If you’ve thoughtfully selected this artist because they ‘get’ your aesthetic, then, chances are, their audience might become fascinated to see what your music is all about.
If they work with other musicians, then once again, you’re potentially opening the door for more collaborations.
We recommend making a practice of sharing screenshots, shoutouts, and tons of praise for visual artists that are helping you out or that you admire.
They Help Express Your Vision And Ideas Clearly
Even if you have a bit of experience with visual design, you should really consider if your abilities accurately express your vision and branding.
A good designer will make you stand out and draw people in. It’s not easy to take an idea that’s in your head and bring it to life. They also can make suggestions to help enhance your ideas or refine them to make things work.
As we’ve said throughout the section on branding, your content and visuals need to evoke emotion and send a message. This is no easy task to accomplish. This is why a professional visual artist dedicated to you can work wonders.
Help You Understand What You Need
Sometimes, as musicians, we know what we want, but we can’t fully explain it or communicate it effectively.
Your ideas might be all over the map, to begin with. However, a visual artist can come along and reel in your ideas to make things more cohesive. They’ll know the specific equipment or effects you’ll need for that particular scene you want. They’ll shoot b-roll without you even noticing. They’ll know how to edit your photos and videos with your branding in mind and so much more.
As much as they know what you need, they can also tell you what you don’t need. Saving you from certain things you had in mind that might not look as good as you envisioned.
Strengthen Your Brand
Your visual content and branding go hand in hand, meaning the stronger your visuals, the stronger your branding will be in the eyes of your audience.
As mentioned before, every piece of content you put out is an asset. We want those assets to stand the test of time and hold their value for many years to come. Often times, this means connecting with talented people who can help you create visual assets that do exactly that.
A great example of this was when Kanye West asked Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to handle the artwork for his groundbreaking 2007 album “Graduation.”
A move that has served Kanye quite well artistically. After the release, Murakami reflected in an interview stating that “The cover is based on Kanye’s theme of student life. School. It’s a place of dreams, of righteousness, a place to have fun.
It’s also occasionally a place where you experience the rigid dogma of the human race. Kanye’s music scrapes sentimentality and aggressiveness together like sandpaper, and he uses his grooves to unleash this tornado.”
“I too wanted to be swept up and spun around in that tornado,” he finished.
Nearly 15 years later and the Graduation album cover is considered by many to be iconic. It’s an album that people still talk about to this day, along with the memorable visuals that accompanied it. It strengthened and reinforced Kanye’s branding. Especially considering Kanye’s previous albums had themes surrounding his school experiences with “College Dropout” and “Late Registration.”
How Do I Pitch To Them Or Get Them To Work For Me?
Even if you’re not Kanye, there are many visual artists out there willing to help you bring your vision to life.
Don’t be afraid to follow and start dialogues with artists whose work you resonate with. Be professional and reach out to them when you’re serious and ready to follow through.
So where can you find them?
Social media can be a great place to find a visual artist willing to work with you. You can also post a formal job ad on LinkedIn or Indeed, send a casual call-out to your network, or reach out to College and university students as mentioned above. Depending on the project, you can also leverage freelancer sites like Upwork or Fiver.
The most important thing is that you do your research, especially if someone doesn’t have an extensive portfolio to show you.
Ask to see previous work, learn more about their process, get references if you have to, etc. Find out what it will cost to work with them and exactly what you’re getting in return. Have an agreement or contract in place to ensure that both parties are protected as well.
Don’t just go with your gut and hope for the best. This is your hard-earned money, time, and brand on the line. Take the time to make sure you’re dealing with someone you can trust and will get the job done how you want it.
Key Take Aways On Why You Should Hire A Graphic Designer For Your Music Branding
You can undoubtedly take the DIY route when it comes to your visuals. If you feel equipped to do so and are confident in your abilities, then go for it.
However, if the opposite is true, then find someone who can help bring your vision and branding to life through your content. This doesn’t have to break the bank, and there are many benefits that come with working alongside a talented visual artist.
If you can’t afford to get help right now and don’t have the skills to do things independently, you can always teach yourself through YouTube videos and other free online training tools.