What Do Record Labels Do? Part 2 – Graphics And Design And How To DIY

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In this new series we will examine what on earth record labels do or
even used to do before they started cutting employees down to make up
for their flimsy business model. In order to educate everyone as to
what the labels responsibilities usually were and how you can fill them
in the future, we will now explain what they do and how you can fill
the void.
For previous parts go here.

One of the small things labels do that many people underestimate is the job of providing graphic design duties. If you are making a big push with your latest release you are going to need so many graphics it is mind numbing. While it is getting better these days, the press is not very self sufficient in modifying graphic and will ask you for every dumb things on a regular basis. Aside from the journalistic incompetence you will endure you are going to have countless graphic needs including:
  • Merch designs
  • Album cover design
  • Social media layouts
  • Logo designs
  • Promotional banner ads for tours and records
  • Web design

While you may not think that this is a big deal that you can do much of this just fine or hire someone to do it there is an advantage the labels always had – they could get it done fast. The newscycle moves fast and so do many opportunities for tours and if you don’t supply the proper materials in a timely fashion you can lose many of these chances. As well, if your graphics aren’t up to par you may get ignored. Having high quality and appropriate images is crucial and people often get a bad taste in their mouth when they see band graphics.

So what do you do to make sure you have these needs covered? 1. Learn the skills needed to do these jobs properly. 2. Get a DEPENDABLE graphic designer. If they can’t get things done fast and aren’t dedicated to getting you materials fast they are useless no matter how good their designs are.

You can find a good designer by talking to other groups and asking them who they use. Remember even if you don’t like a designers work with one group it doesn’t mean they are a bad designer, the band they designed for may have terrible taste. Most good designers accomadate the groups needs, not their own.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.