A brand is a promise, big idea or expectation that lives in the mind of each customer that encounters, considers or experiences a product, service or company.
And like it or not, customers have thoughts, form opinions and expectations of products, services and businesses – some positive, some negative. Quite often, branding is the only way you can control these opinions and, importantly, this means you need to be in control of your brand. You need to be sure it really is standing for what you want it to stand for and saying what it should be saying.
If you believe your brand is lacking, needs realigning or reinvigoration then it might be time for a review.
Reviewing your brand is part looking at the past, part analysing the present, and part foretelling the future. It’s taking a good hard look at your brand and seeing if it stacks up against your competitors. It’s reviewing your values and deciding if they are relevant to your customers. It’s talking to your staff to see if they know how to consistently deliver your brand promise or message.
Our brand audits take an independent view of how you communicate, to help you find clarity and consistency with your brand. It’s the start of a plan and a way to help you move forward in revitalising your brand.
To find out more contact Creative Director, Steve Blenheim
Creative Director, Steve Blenheim, was an invited speaker by the Australian Graphic Design Association's '48 Series' at the Victorian Government's 'State of Design' festival. The topic for speakers was 'Sampling the Future' and with the current revival and interest of vinyl albums it was time for Steve to dust off some of his old favourites and reminisce about his love of record album design and stories behind some classic covers. For a young Steve, pouring over the cover design of a new album was as thrilling as placing the vinyl on the turntable and cranking the volume. In fact, this was the spark that inspired him to choose design as a career.
Below is some of Steve's presentation. Whilst the images have been captioned, Steve spoke exstensively about the many stories and some 'urban myths' associated with these covers. These days he enjoys his extensive digtal music collection but laments the token album artwork thumbnail you receive when you download a new album. He's enthused about the revival in vinyl and, of course, their covers. He’s always up for a chat about the halcyon days of album cover design and loves a good music trivia session.
Legendary British trio Cream. At the age of 10 it was the very first album I bought. I had no idea who Eric Clapton was but this was a very cool album. The title was taken from an inside joke. Eric Clapton had been thinking of buying a racing bicycle and was discussing it with Ginger Baker, when a roadie named Mick Turner commented, “it’s got them Disraeli Gears”, meaning to say “derailleur gears,” but instead alluding to 19th Century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. The band thought this was hilarious, and decided that it should be the title of the album.
This back cover was a photo collage. The original cover art was created by Australian artist Martin Sharp, who lived in the same building as Clapton. I would study this psychedelic cover every time I played the album and spent hours imitating the illustration style with my cheap fluorescent paints.
The iTunes album artwork (shown right) in actual scale to the original album. Sadly, there’s not much to see or discover at this size.
My parents were members of the World Record Club and I bought this album at the same time as Disraeli Gears. This was an early cover illustration by the famous Roger Dean. I actually didn’t like it very much, it seemed very dark and sinister.
The black and white image on the back cover was very sixties. I didn’t like the band’s logotype much either. It seemed a little clumsy to me.
Now this was another story. Designed in the late sixties by Roger Dean for the band Yes, this is an iconic band logo of the time. Roger Dean was probably one of the most famous and sought after designer/illustrators during the late sixties, early seventies.
Johnny Winter is a white albino guitarist who plays some mean blues. Apart from the smokin’ guitar playing contained in those vinyl grooves, this was a unique album. I have no idea who designed the cover but I loved the photographic treatment of the white albino bluesman on a blue cover.
The ‘posterized’ treatment of the images on the album was a popular technique at the time. I’m not really sure how they did all that image manipulation twenty years or so before Photoshop but this is a great album cover.
The unique aspect of this album was the content itself. Double albums (ie, 2 vinyls or 4 sides) were increasing in popularity around this time. It seems they ran out of songs in the recording session and had only enough for 3 sides and released it as such. A 3 sided album!
Formed in 1969, Black Sabbath was Ossie Osbourne’s band until the mid to late seventies. This photographic ‘tonal drop out’ style was a big trend at the time and there was nothing special about this cover. Even the name was unexciting.
What was special about this album cover was the ‘bonus’ poster. Who would believe, now looking at poor old Ossie, that this poster image of Ossie proves the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Ossie was once a very cool, good looking guy!
Vertigo was the name of Black Sabbath’s recording label. This quirky label contained no track listings and when placed on the turntable, you could watch the label go in and out as the record turned. Quite hypnotic really...
Led Zeppelin 2, what an awesome album but terrible cover. At the time, the power and energy of Zeppelin was unmatched and sadly the cover was a dud that didn’t do justice to what was contained on the vinyl. Apparently the band’s manager made the decision to remove the ‘a’ from Lead as he believed the band’s name would be mispronounced in the USA.
The cover for Led Zeppelin 3 was an improvement on 2 and created some curiosity about what some of the small images were about.
Production techniques for album covers were becoming more adventurous. This was a pinwheel design with die cuts. Hours of entertainment... if you were bored!