Category: Design Process


The following is an excerpt from a guest blog post by Collide’s Kevin Tucker, on The Music Gardener, a blog by Keith Stancil of Artist Garden Entertainment.

Every successful artist has found a way into the hearts and minds of those who support them. One of the major keys to engaging fans in a way that develops their loyalty, even devotion, over the course of the artist’s career. There are a lot of ingredients to the recipe for that kind of success, but a large portion of it boils down to branding. I know, you’ve heard people talk about branding so much in the music industry that it seems like it’s this nebulous, all-encompassing buzzword devoid of any definition. Does it even mean anything anymore? I’m here to tell you that it still means… everything.

But let’s set music aside for a moment. Think about your favorite consumer products or services. What makes you loyal to them? It’s likely a combination of factors, largely the promise of quality in what they offer, and the consistency in which they deliver on that promise, but there’s likely an intangible quality about the brand that you inherently connect to on an emotional level. Somehow what that brand stands for just “clicks” for you, and you sing their praises to all of your friends, even defending them to those who would criticize it. This kinship and loyalty didn’t develop through haphazard circumstance, and to accomplish that for any brand requires a great deal of expertise working together in a concerted, purposeful effort.

A brand is quite simply a reputation, and the experts in the industry who work under the umbrella of branding are those who play a part in the development and management of that reputation. That’s a big job… so it’s no wonder that the word is so prevalent. It encompasses many aspects of industry expertise in any industry, and for music it includes many fields including artist development, management, marketing, public relations, image development, photography, and design. The latter three areas are where the root of my personal expertise lies, but more on that later on. Branding requires a centralized effort in which everyone involved shares in the common goals. This is crucial for an artist’s initial launch, but it’s equally important throughout the process of promoting the artist and project. All of these areas combine to build stories around the brand and create an ongoing narrative that connects people to this brand/reputation. (As another example see Keith’s post about Nashville’s boutique jeans makers Imogene + Willie)

For the music industry, the longer-term effort is career-level brand-buildling; but the boots on the ground are typically working on one project at a time (typically an album or a tour), and usually each project has its own unique brand aspects which, though they relate to the long-term branding effort, are part of that project’s unique identity.

There are many artists out there who have leveraged branding well throughout their careers…

View the full article on The Music Gardener


Collide is so excited to have been able to work with artist Erica Lane to create her latest project “Believe in America”. Erica was looking to create an epic feel for this album to complement her transcendent vocals and bold instrumental arrangements. Along with Brett Warren Photography, we used wide open fields, natural lighting and picturesque back drops to accomplish this feel.


We chose the Hermitage and its romantic Americana feel as the setting, but bringing the colors back to a heightened sense of reality to create the imagery that this album evokes.  Check out Erica’s new album on iTunes or order the CD on U.S. Wings.















What is Barcamp? Well only the free-est “unconference” this side of well, the moon (or at least that life-sized Elvis statue down on Broadway, you know the one). It’s a technology-based conglomeration of seminars and networking opportunities, featuring together some of the smartest and most creative minds in the city. Even if you aren’t big on learning, it’s kind of fun too. Oh and did I mention swag? : )

Barcamp Nashville logoIf you’ve never been to Barcamp, this is the year to go! Why, you ask? Because we’ll be there and with a seminar title like Dumpster Diving As Creative Strategy,” how can you resist!? Our session was added after the initial registration so if you’ve checked out the sessions already and don’t remember it, it’s because it wasn’t there!  Below is a preview of what you should expect to be “hauled out of the trash”:

Successful creative frequently involves out-of-the-box thinking… but sometimes it’s worth considering what’s IN the box… that big metal one in the alley. Ok, the dumpster here is (mostly) metaphorical… what I’m really talking about is drawing resources and inspiration from cultural relics, shared history, and working within limitations to create impactful, on-brand communications that connect to the audience in meaningful, lasting ways.

With a heavy focus on brand strategy, we will walk through some examples of projects where this approach was successfully applied, and the “dumpster diving” methodology for taking fragments of culture from the past was utilized by reshaping them for impactful, engaging visual communication.

We’ll talk about how to:

• Utilize vintage source material directly in creative projects (and what legal limitations you’ll need to keep in mind)

• Use examples of found relics of classic culture as inspiration, even in unexpected contexts

• Create compelling deliverables by best using available source materials (even if poor quality) in successful ways

• Seek out unexpected sources of inspiration and resources

• Maintain brand messaging, goals, and objectives while engaging the audience emotionally

Examples cited will include identity, print, interactive, video, and motion projects for clients such as Big & Rich, Willie Nelson, Pepsi, Larry the Cable Guy, Austin Peay State University, The Village Chapel, AIGA, Ringling Bros. Circus, Re-Maginations, ThunkTV, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, and more. Also, in the process, we’ll see a rare peek inside the process and production, and pull out some examples from our stockpile of obscure books and relics that are waiting to be utilized for future projects.

Online registration ends Tuesday, Oct. 16. (After that, you can sign up for sessions when you arrive, if seats are still available). Find us in the Poker room at 9am!

BarCamp Nashville 2012 will be held at Tequila Cowboy (formerly Cadillac Ranch), 305 Broadway, in downtown Nashville, near the corner with 3rd Avenue South.


And while you’re at it, check out Re-maginations: New World Storytelling-Using Transmedia to Create Your Tribe @ 2:25 in WannaB’s #bcn12story


If you don’t know Paige Omartian, you should absolutely make a point of doing so. As an author, singer and motivational speaker, Paige’s beaming personality and passion for life, are such an inspiration to everyone she meets. Paige’s story is an unusual one. When she was much younger she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Instead of taking it as a defeat, Paige used this struggle to grow closer to God and grow a passion for living that she trumpets to the youth of today. Her book, Wake Up! Generation, calls today’s teens to live purposefully and not take things for granted.

Collide has been so excited and blessed to work along with Paige to create her new website! With clean lines, accented by vintage wallpaper textures and a focus on her insightful blog, we have created a responsive, content-focused site that brings to light Paige’s personality, while keeping an emphasis on her message. Take a look, read her story and order her new book!

To most of America, Willie Nelson is a household name, as it is here at Collide, which is why we were SO excited to be able to create the branding and packaging for his new album, Remember Me Vol. 1. The new release from Willie Nelson and R&J Records, has plenty of familiar standards recorded by Willie with producer James Stroud from the “classic country songbook” made famous by the likes of Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, and Vern Gosdin, and others – all with Willie’s signature twist!

To reflect this rich heritage in the packaging, we revisited the classic LP style (a vinyl edition of the album is on its way too), and created a digital photo-illustration for the cover to add to the timeless, classic quality. We hope you enjoy this project as much as we do. It’s now available on CD (Amazon) and digital (iTunes).

Above: Final Cover / Left: Original Photo / Right: Our Photo-Illustration

This Alaskan transplant, Christian comedian oozes charisma while bringing biblical messages into modern day with a twist.  The saying “you can’t make that stuff up” directly applies to every story Torry brings to life.  He takes his adventures in wild Alaska, combines them will his own shortcomings and shows us all how to laugh at ourselves and play to our strengths all while giving glory to God.

Collide (with photography by Allen Clark and Styling by Tammy Rhoton) focused on a woodsy, Alaskan charm when bringing Torry’s new brand to life.

While working on the art direction & design for the Larry the Cable Guy project “Morning Constitutions”, there were many over-the-top toilet humor ideas flying around. The idea of “pooping in the woods next to a bear reading the newspaper” was entirely Larry’s idea, and at the photo shoot we played off of that idea in depth. But one of Larry’s ideas, was for a “Where’s Waldo” type of image, where he’s in the same sort of pose, but surrounded by creatures great and small, all… pooping. These presented a bit of a challenge, and wasn’t something we were able to do at the shoot, mainly for budgetary reasons (but also because we were shooting in Minneapolis in November, and for some reason dolphins, elephants, and koalas weren’t readily available for outdoor shoots). So, after an exhaustive stock photo search, we went through several rounds of revisions, on what was to be the inside spread of the packaging (there were other, more crudely illustrated versions than this one). Amazingly, this was almost approved, but at the very last minute, someone had second thoughts, and we ended up with a lovely photo of Larry on stage instead. But now, for the first time, here is the rejected design in all its glory. Enjoy.


The rejected spread from the packaging. Click to enlarge.

The final packaging from Larry's Morning Constitutions CD.