1980 Recordings Branding for electronic music
1980 recordings are an electronic music label featuring an eclectic range of styles and genres. We had already worked with founder and established Dj / Producer, Dan McKie on various projects – Fish Don't dance . Dan McKie . Phonik – so naturally he called in design studio Superfried. Dan required a complete rebrand to maximise recent high praise by top Djs such as Fatboy Slim and build on their recent growth.
After reviewing the existing branded material it was clear a sharper, more vibrant look was required. Previously the branding had conveyed the name in written form rather than using the numerical option. This seemed illogical and to be missing a great opportunity. In written form the name was incredibly long, difficult to read / recall and did not match their url.
As a designer that experiments with typography, especially numerals, this was a perfect project. With the development of a marque and the number 80 and retro reference to records in the name, circles were the obvious starting point. I wanted to find a way to create a symmetrical logo using just one consistent shape. To achieve this would require some deviation in scale between the 8 and 0 which felt anything but balanced.
Further research was required and with a name featuring a previous date in time, it was natural to take a trip back there for inspiration. The solution was found upon a nostalgic childhood memory of a classic toy of the time – Spirograph. So infuriating to use, but the designs on the box were always so clean! Using the same duplication and rotational approach, the 80 could still be represented solely via one shape. The additional unused circles filled the negative space to maintain a balanced aesthetic.
Various different options and weights were tested, but it required something more as the unused rings felt surplus and forced. Inspiration from another retro classic – the Olympics – led to the perfect solution of interlocking the rings. The logo marque had a strong presence, retro feel that connected to the name and most of all, was incredibly versatile for potential variations in style, rendering, containing and masking imagery.
Moving on to the typography further nostalgic research came into play. Another trend from the 80's was the retro line fade graphic. This could provide a simple, clean distinct style that would create a nod to the past. For the letterforms, they would need to be bold to work with the multiple incisions. Various typefaces were tested, but none were clicking. So bespoke, geometric numerals were developed, adjusted and tested until the line fade effect was working at scale.
With the logotype and graphic marque in place, it was time to apply them. Based on such simple geometric shapes the branding proved very versatile with the potential to render the rings in various materials and colour routes without compromising the message. This was particularly important due to their requirement to promote various tours and new releases with a simple, clean bold device. It also looked great on merchandise with a feel of a clothes brand. The logotype was also effective, sufficiently distinct to work when used in isolation.
- Brand Identity
- Art Direction
- Bespoke Typography
Press + awards
I own and run 1980 Recordings and with Superfried's help I have managed to totally rebrand my company. I would highly recommend Superfried and will certainly be using them again.
Dan McKie . Director . 1980 Recordings
This branding project has been featured in two international graphic design publications.