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8 Graphic Design & Branding Services for Musicians, Bands & Artists

This article has been contributed by Nick Voorhees.

It’s no secret that social media is over-saturated with competing interests ruthlessly seeking attention. An unfathomable amount of new posts are uploaded every second and most of us mindlessly scroll while our minds are elsewhere.

Like any other business owner, musicians, music producers, DJs and other music creators are forced to navigate these oversaturated waters that are essentially a popularity contest. The music industry has reached a point where branding can create a more successful career than the music itself.

Standing out in a unique way is more crucial now than ever, which has led many musicians down the path of working with visual artists.

The demand for talented graphic designers is at an all-time high because of the large range of services that are needed to create an unforgettable brand. However, it can be hard to know exactly what music creators need and how to connect with them.

There are many ways to find clients in the music industry, and some services are starting to gain more popularity, especially during the pandemic.

1. Cover Art

Unfortunately, people are judged by their covers

Mood album cover by graphic designer

Image source: amazon.com

“Mood” by 24KGOLDN and Iann Dior has generated around 36 million streams on Spotify this year, which means listeners have seen this album cover 36 million times – much to the graphic designer’s advantage. It’s no surprise that many music producers take album art seriously because it will forever be associated with their brand.

Album covers are the most commonly used promotional tool in a music artist’s toolbox. For every song release, the album cover is a powerful resource that can be utilized to capture the attention of the public. A professionally made album cover increases the likelihood that fans and potential fans stop what they’re doing to press play.

The design needs to reinforce the music creator’s brand in an eye-catching, relevant and honest way. If music creators can find a graphic designer that can help them produce a cover that is both original and demands attention, they have won half the battle to create a successful career.

If you’re a graphic designer that wants to sell cover art, check out Melody Nest. You can sell pre-made album cover art as well as custom covers to music creators that have song releases coming up.

Pro tip: Motion cover art has become widely popular on Instagram and many artists post 5-10 second videos with visual effects layered on top of their previously-made cover art. Lots of musicians are willing to pay a small additional fee for this service, so be sure to upsell!

2. Logos & Branding

Musicians have a deep desire to be famous

Music artists' logos

Image source: edmtunes.com

If you’re a true music fan, it’s probably easy to conjure up images of the logos of your favorite musicians. Logo recognition is an integral part of being a true fan because it makes you proud that you even know what it looks like.

An easily recognizable logo is integral to the careers of many music creators’ careers. According to soundplate.com, having a unique and powerful brand image makes musicians “more desirable for bookings, help you shift merchandise and make your online music profiles look much more professional.”

Music logos appear across a range of mediums, including:

live event posters,
merchandise,
social media,
music streaming services and
music videos.

In all honesty, musicians can at times be oblivious to what they want in the first place when they approach designers for a logo, so be prepared to be patient –– you’ll make a lot more sales if you remain calm and collected. If you’re able to create magic, musicians will love you for it and will want to share and post your work everywhere.

If you want to find immediate access to musicians to work with, AirGigs, Melody Nest and Upwork provide options for graphic designers to sell logos to musicians, music producers and DJs.

3. Photoshopped Images

Give their fans something to share

Photoshopped images for musicians' social media

Artist credit: Downlink

Since the majority of musicians need content to post on their social media accounts every day, they need new and creative ways to do it. A great way to stand out from other artists is with images like the one pictured above. Obviously, not everything shared on an artist’s platform will be created by a graphic designer, but they will need more than just cover art and a logo to share with their fans.

Lots of music creators commission artists to edit photos to give their fans a taste of how they want to be portrayed. Artwork like this is very popular in the electronic dance music realm, and DJs love to share visually captivating posts of themselves –– their fans eat it up.

It’s important to remember that each genre in music has a unique aesthetic and visual appeal that’s original to the style of music. Even two styles of similarly aggressive music can have completely different looks. If you’re not sure how to figure this out, make sure to get your client to send you plenty of references.

If you’re willing to conduct business via social media, Instagram is a great way to get this done. Search for tags like #electronicmusic, #musicproducer or anything similar and find artists that post these kinds of edited photos. You may land clients just through a few cold messages.

4. Music Visualizers

Keep listeners entertained

Music visualizer designed by graphic designer for YouTube channel

Image source: ondesoft.com

For those that aren’t really sure what these are, music visualizers, or audio visualizers, are animated videos with visual effects that react and change to the sounds of a song, creating a pleasant experience for the listener. Visualizers are a great alternative to music videos because they are far less expensive.

On YouTube, visualizers have become extremely popular with channels in all types of genres, especially EDM. With the fast growth of electronic dance music, there are many high-profile channels on YouTube with millions of subscribers that use captivating visualizers to keep their fans listening to their channels for longer periods of time. Here are a few worth checking out:

Trap Nation
SuicideSheep
Proximity
UKF

If you’re a graphic designer that has any experience with Adobe After-Effects or other video editing software, then creating interesting visual effects to sync along to music is something that’s worth exploring. Music visualization is a lucrative market that has remained quiet in the mainstream for reasons that still seem unclear, so now is the time to jump right in.

Related: 40 to70% off Adobe Creative Cloud

Oddly enough, Fiverr generates a lot of business for music visualizers. Obviously, they are known for offering “cheaper” work, but there are a good amount of graphic designers charging fair prices and landing a lot of sales. They seem to be the only marketplace online currently selling music visualizers.

5. Lyric Videos

Make lyrics look good

Many artists reach for lyric videos instead of visualizers or music videos for some music releases, like Katy Perry’s Firework . Lyric videos are a bit like a music visualizer but the designer will add in the artist’s lyrics in clever and eye-catching ways.

If you haven’t made a lyric video, below are some helpful tips:

Listen to the song a few times to understand the mood
Google the type of music to learn more about the aesthetic of the genre
Have your artist gather images they want to use
Use the artist’s lyrics as inspiration for fonts, colors, etc
Constantly send updated versions to musicians (a lot of them are extreme perfectionists)

Fiverr is a good choice for lyric videos, but there are plenty of options that you can find in Facebook groups where artists will post queries looking to create these animated videos. If you search for groups like “music producers”, you can find people asking and inquiring for design services.

6. Merchandise Design

Sell out of merch at every show

Music band's merchandise clothing

Artist credit: Illenium Clothing

All great artists have merchandise – whether it’s hats, shirts, jerseys, socks, sweatshirts ot stickers. Many musicians make a substantial amount of their total income selling merchandise at shows and online, so it’s critical to have great design work. This is especially important for larger acts.

According to Tone Deaf, “nowadays, touring artists earn between 10-35% of their revenue through merch sales… the very biggest names bring in $300,000 to $400,000 USD per year.” Merchandise sales fall right under touring as the most lucrative aspect of being a professional musician.

Musicians want to create imagery that not only represents their brand, but something that will sell. So, if you’re talented in both design and marketing, you can really hit a home run by approaching artists both large and small with a few mock-ups (even if they didn’t ask for it) and see if they bite. If what you have is amazing, they may just buy it from you.

Design Hill makes it easy to pitch your work to musicians to help them create their merchandise. Otherwise, create original work and start sending emails!

7. Video Editing (YouTube)

Bring originality to their subscribers

Video editing on desktop computer

Many music artists release videos on various social media channels to increase their brand exposure and generate engagement. As well as the expected music-related videos, some artists have branched out into content like tutorials, tips and tricks, journaling and funny clips.

If they have a lot of subscribers on their channel, they’ll be open to inquiries from good designers to help them broaden their content. If video editing is your wheelhouse, use YouTube and Instagram to find music creators who could use the help of an editor, and reach out to them directly.

Keep an eye out for musicians creating tutorial or educational videos that are of a lower editing quality and send a message to them asking if they’d like help. Music creators will most likely be receptive at some point, so getting yourself known to them at the beginning is a good choice.

Pro tip: Try to find musicians gaining traction as they will generally be the most excited to get some extra help.

8. Social Media and Music Streaming Banners

Consistency is key

SoundCloud banner

Artist credit: Cloudsz

For platforms like SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Facebook, instant visual appeal is mandatory for serious music artists. Great banners are sought after on these platforms because that’s where a musician’s music lives. They want their music’s home to be not only auditorily amazing, but visually stunning as well.

As you can see from the photo above, the circle with the usual Soundcloud profile picture on the left blends into the banner. This is the standard layout for any successful artist or upcoming artist on Soundcloud, so many hire a professional for this job. Usually, musicians hire the designers that made their cover art, so to get your foot in the door, start selling album covers! Offering bundle packages is a good way to upsell.

Conclusion

To really stand out and find clients on any of these platforms, it’s all about having something special to offer. There are countless sellers that all have the same goal in mind… and that is to sell. In order to separate yourself in these competitive landscapes, you have to offer more value than the rest.

One way you can set yourself apart is to provide free samples to potential buyers. To be clear, I am not advocating for accepting jobs for free. But if you’re contacted on freelance platforms and a musician is describing something they need, surprising them with a mock-up without them even asking will immediately pull your potential buyer in.

You can also choose to be receptive and engage with potential buyers for an extended period of time. Ask a potential buyer a lot of questions and get them to talk about their project – musicians often love to discuss their visions anyway. The more a musician speaks with you, the better chance you have at working together.

If you’re looking to sell on social media, rather than reaching out to prospective clients with your pre-made portfolio work, reach out with a design specifically tailored for them. You don’t need to spend hours creating it, but something that showcases that it was made specifically for the target buyer, and only them, will open the door to meaningful dialogue and lead to a mutually beneficial experience.

Provide true value and you’ll do great things.

_

About the author: Nick Voorhees is a drum and bass music producer and the owner of the musician freelance platform Melody Nest. He is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz, Icon Collective College of Music, and has been working in the music industry for almost a decade.  

The post 8 Graphic Design & Branding Services for Musicians, Bands & Artists first appeared on JUST™ Creative.

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How To Make A Slideshow Video With Photos And Music

Need to make a slideshow video with photos and music for graduation, the end of year, or any other special event? We review and compare 7 of the best free tools and apps. Find out how to use and share these tools plus learn about music copyright. | Edublogs | The Edublogger

Slideshow style videos can be a powerful way to bring together the best of your school experiences and share with others.

Millions of school and college students will be graduating in the coming months. Given the current pandemic, many graduation ceremonies will be held virtually. A slideshow video can be a core feature of a virtual graduation ceremony and serve as a useful memento.

There are many other occasions where special days, events, and milestones can be marked with a photo montage video.

There are many tools out there to put together slideshow videos with music. This post summarizes 7 free online tools and apps. We also look at the legalities of music and copyright. Finally, you’ll find out how to share your completed video with others or embed it on your blog.

The tools and apps we reviewed are:

AnimotoGoogle PhotosQuikClipsiMovieLumen5Adobe Spark

📌 Another option that’s currently popular with teachers is WeVideo. This is a fantastic tool but is only free to schools until June 30, 2020. So, it’s a tool you might want to explore depending on your timeline and budget.

How to make a slideshow video with photos and music for graduation, end of school year, or any special milestone. Find out how to use 7 free tools and apps plus learn about music and copyright | Edublogs | The Edublogger

Comparison Chart

Here’s a quick comparison of the 7 tools we review in this post. Read on to find more details and examples.

Comparison chart summarising 7 tools to create video slideshows as reviewed in the text.

Animoto

URL: https://animoto.com/education/classroom Use on: The web or iOS app (The Android app has been discontinued)

Animoto allows you to create videos from photos, video clips, and music. There are a number of pre-made video templates available that are designed to make the creation process quick and easy.

Animoto is an intuitive tool that allows you to create a professional-looking video in minutes.

Educators can sign up for a free account which allows you to create student accounts as well.

You can embed Animoto videos on your blog. This help guide shows you where to find the embed code.

Here’s some graduation inspiration from Animoto. Do you have a current example we can use? Let us know in a comment!

Google Photos Movies

URL: https://photos.google.comUse on: Best on the Google Photos app (iOS | Android)

Do you use Google Photos? It’s a free service to store, organize, and share all your photos and videos. If you’d like to learn more about this service that many of our team enjoy using, check out our beginner’s guide.

You might not know that you can easily make a slideshow of your photos with music using Google Photos.

This is best done on a phone or tablet. You can do it on a computer but the computer version only allows you to create a movie from one of the pre-set themes shown below. This is unlikely to be what you’re after.

To make a slideshow movie on your Google Photos app on your phone or tablet, go to “For you” at the bottom of the app.

From here, you’ll select “Movie” and then “New movie”.

You’ll be prompted to choose your photos or video clips (up to 50). You can then customize your creation by choosing your music and a variety of filters.

When you’re done, there are lots of sharing options. You can share your completed video with friends, save it to your device, publish it on social media, add it to your Google Drive, or share it to a service like YouTube.

Check out these instructions from Google for step-by-step directions.

Quik

URL: iOS app | Android appUse on: Phone or tabletNote: There is also a desktop app but it requires downloading software.

If you like creating on your phone or tablet, check out Quik by GoPro. It’s a free app with no in-app purchases.

The Quik app allows you to make video slideshows with professional transitions and music with minimal effort.

You simply select your photos or videos from your camera roll (up to 200). The app then analyses your footage to make smooth and effective transitions. You can choose from 26 themes and customize the video with 100+ music options. You can add your own music but beware of copyright. You can also add text and titles as needed.

Completed videos can be saved to your device or there are other sharing options like social media or text message.

Here’s a short tutorial video by Richard Byrne of Free Technology For Teachers.

Clips

URL: iOS app onlyUse on: iPhone or iPad

If you’re looking for a simple video creation tool to use on your iPhone or iPad, Clips might be the answer.

It’s a very intuitive app that lets you create videos out of photos and video footage. There are lots of additional features like text, stickers, emojis, and filters. Because this app is easy to use and has lots of fun features, it’s always a popular choice for students as well as teachers.

Clips now offers a few options for background music; you can create your own music in GarageBand as well as using their built-in soundtracks. Additionally, you can pull in music from your iTunes account but please be cautious of copyright.

One unique feature of Clips is Live Titles which is a built-in caption feature. Users can choose to have their words appear as they speak. The words can come up all at once as static text, or as animated text with each word highlighted as they’re spoken.

Here’s an example of a short video created in Clips by teacher-librarian Jo Martin from Brandon Elementary. It’s called LEGOmania in the Library.

iMovie

URL: iOS app | macOSUse on: iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer

iMovie is a step-up from Clips with a lot more features that allow you to create anything from a short video slideshow to an impressive full-length movie.

Unlike a lot of the tools reviewed in this post, iMovie doesn’t do the work for you. There are handy templates to enjoy but you need to add your own photos, videos, titles, and music to put your video slideshow together.

Some of the special effects available include the ability to slow down or speed up footage, as well as picture-in-picture and greenscreen effects. While these are awesome, they may be more than you need to create a simple photo montage.

If you don’t have your own music to add to the video, iMovie offers 80+ soundtracks and there is also the option to add your own voice-over narration.

Here’s an example from teacher-librarian Amy Kincaid. She used iMovie to create a video that condensed her year with Jackson Elementary students into 7 minutes.

Lumen5

URL: https://lumen5.comUse on: Computer (or on a phone/tablet via the web browser)

Lumen5 is a free drag and drop video creator. It’s most known for its ability to turn blog posts into videos, however, it can also be a handy tool for creating video slideshows using images, short clips, GIFs, and music.

When you log in to Lumen5 and opt to “Create a Video”, you’ll be given three choices as outlined below. You can “automagically” make a video from your blog post, script, or media. 

To make a slideshow style video with music, select “Use your media”.

Lumen5 options make a video

Lumen5 contains a library of Creative Commons Zero images and music if you need some content to complement your own collection.

This is a fabulous tool with some minor downsides being:

The free plan allows you to make 5 videos a month in 720p resolutionThe free plan has a Lumen5 watermarkIt’s 13+ (so if you have younger students, they can’t create their own videos)You can’t embed your video directly onto your blog. So you have to put it on social media or YouTube first and then get the embed code from there. Or you could download the video and upload it directly into your post/page if it’s a small file. Scroll down for more details on embedding.

In this video, Richard Byrne from Free Technology For Teachers shows how to create a Lumen5 video from a blog post. You can modify the instructions and select “Use your media” if you don’t want to base your video on a blog post.

Adobe Spark Video

URL: https://spark.adobe.com/make/video-makerUse on: The web or iOS app

If you’re an educator who is going to be using Adobe Spark, you might want to first make sure you’ve signed up for an education account. This will give you free premium features. 

Adobe Spark Video allows you to combine pictures, videos clips, icons, text, voice, and music to create compelling videos.

If you need extra footage or a soundtrack, there is a free database of images and music.

If you’d like to read a “how-to” on creating an end of year celebration video, check out this detailed explanation from Monica Burns.

Adobe Spark for end of year celebrations (graphic)

Here’s an example of a video made in Adobe Spark by teacher Laura Hanser Burkhalter. She used photos that were emailed to her from members of her school community. 

Music and Copyright

When you’re creating a slideshow style video it can be extremely tempting to use popular music that reflects the mood and emotion of the footage.

As you probably know, most music is protected by copyright. It doesn’t matter if you paid for a song or not, it’s still protected by copyright. It doesn’t matter if you’re only using 30 seconds or less of a song, it’s still protected by copyright.

Normally, you can’t just use any music you like in your video creations.

However, in many countries, you are allowed to copy music to add to a video if:

a) it’s for educational purposes andb) you’re not sharing your video publicly (or selling it!)*

So, if you make a video with music that’s protected by copyright, it’s not okay to publish this on a public blog, social media, YouTube, and so on. And you couldn’t show your video at a public event. However, it’s okay if the video is just being shown privately to teachers, students, and families at home/school.

It’s also important to note that background music is not considered “educational use”.

💡 Despite the flexibility in these rules for educators, it’s always a good idea to not only think about loopholes but consider ethics and how to be the best digital citizen you can be. As everyone can now be a publisher, copyright is an important topic for educators and students to have a grasp on.

*Note: This is the case in Australia and the US but if you live in another country you may need to check your own guidelines. 

Here’s a brief summary of the above. You’re welcome to share this graphic on your own site, LMS, or social media with attribution.

Copyright Free Music

Luckily, many of the free online tools and apps available now have inbuilt music options that are free to use. All the tools and apps we’ve reviewed in this post have some free music options.

However, if you’re looking for some other copyright free music options, you might first like to check if you district has any subscriptions you can make the most of. For example, Soundzabound.

If this isn’t an option, there are lots of other sources of free music online. Just two are Dig CC Mixter or YouTube Audio Library.

Let’s take a look.

Dig CC Mixter

Dig CC Mixter offers thousands of hours of free music.

The music on this site has different Creative Commons licenses so you need to check whether you need to attribute the music or not.

Educational Blogger Richard Byrne’s video below explains how to use Dig CC Mixter and filter by license.

YouTube Audio Library

YouTube also has a great library of music you can use. In case you’re wondering, using an online tool to download music from a YouTube video is not okay.

Visit the Audio Library on YouTube to browse the selections.

If you click on Attribution, you can filter your results to find music that doesn’t need to be attributed.

You can preview the music to see what it sounds like and download the music you want to use.

Here’s an example called Sunshine in my Heart by Jingle Punks.

There are many other ways you can find copyright free music online so please let us know if you have a favorite.

How To Add A Video To Your Blog

Videos can be quick and easy to make but sharing them can be more difficult due to large file sizes.

If you want to share your video on your blog or website, first check whether the tool you’re using offers an embed code. If you’re using an online tool like Animoto or Adobe Spark Video you’ll be able to use an embed code to add the video to your blog quickly and easily. You can find the full instructions on how to embed videos in this Help Guide.

If you’re not using an online video tool that offers an embed code, you’ll want to download the video to your device. From there you’ll upload your video to a third party service and then embed it. Most videos are too large to upload directly to your blog or site.

These are third party services you might consider to house your videos:

An online hosting site (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, TeacherTube)Google DriveA Cloud service like DropBox or OneDriveSocial media (many services have limits on video length e.g. Instagram 60 seconds, Twitter 2 minutes 20 seconds, LinkedIn 10 minutes, Facebook 120 minutes)

If you’re uploading your educational videos to a platform like YouTube or social media, check your school/district guidelines for advice and choose your privacy settings carefully.

Once you’ve uploaded to one of these services, you can embed the video on your blog, website, or LMS, or share a link. If you’re embedding a video, you can use the instructions below.

Methods For Embedding Videos

Videos from video sharing websites can be embedded into posts or pages by either using:

The video URL: Paste the URL on a line by itself in your post/page editor where you want the video to appear. This method only works with certain services, like YouTube.The embed code: Find the embed code on the site you’re using (e.g. YouTube) and copy it. Then in your post put your cursor where you want the video. Click on Add Media and then Insert Embed Code. Paste the code and press Insert into post. Note: embedding isn’t available on free blogs to prevent misuse from spammers.

You can find the full instructions on how to embed videos in this Help Guide or check out the PDF below for detailed instructions for YouTube.

📌 Download the PDF of the embedding instructions.

How to embed YouTube PDF

Do You Have Any Tools Or Examples To Share?

Sometimes it’s helpful to play around with a few different tools or apps to see if they’re what you’re after. No doubt you’ll soon settle on a favorite that you will end up using time and time again.

We’d love to see some more examples of video slideshows created by teachers (or students!). Do you have one to share? Please leave the link in a comment below so we can take a look.

We’d also love you to comment if you can recommend another free online tool or app that other educators might find useful.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Related Posts

You might also enjoy reading:

The Educator’s Guide To Using Video In Teaching And Learning

How To Deal With Student And Class Blogs At The End Of The Year

10 End Of Year Blogging Activities

Slideshow videos with music can be a powerful way to bring together the best of your classroom and share it with others. Here's a comparision of 7 free tools and apps.

Slideshow videos with music can be a powerful way to bring together the best of your classroom and share it with others. Here's a comparision of 7 free tools and apps.

 

Read more: theedublogger.com