Creating a viusual identity for the International Musicians League.

IML’s 19 bands perform in over 10,000 events a year across the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia. Its different band configurations are put together from a network of 8,000+ professional musicians, allowing for the same band to play at multiple simultaneous events without affecting the quality of the service they provide.




YEAR
2017-2021

ROLE
Creative Director, Designer

THE PROBLEM
There were three key parameters that defined the work I did with the company.
  • The company’s large scale of operations contrast radically with the size of its small marketing team. This means that any problem needs to be solved in a way that is easily applicable throughout all bands, markets and languages.
  • Customers will only be in contact with one band when hiring IML’s services, meaning that the true scale of the organization should not be evident for users along their journey. With weddings being the main kind of events the bands perform at, users expect vendors to be small and owner-operated.
  • Many of the bands had been in business for a few years already, but with the company focusing mainly on growth, there had not been extensive branding work done for any band.

THE SOLUTION
I worked on a systemic approach to these challenges, trying to find the optimal solution in the intersection of its marketing value and potential scalability throughout all bands, markets and languages. This should be done while creating brands that strike a balance between the artistry and craftsmanship usually associated with that industry’s more paradigmatic vendors, and the more corporate and tech-oriented reality of the company behind, which is actually the source of many differentials these bands have.


DESIGN APPROACH︎︎︎
IML’s Brand Structure
I focused my initial efforts in creating a brand for the International Musicians League –internally referred to as IML. This brand was to be geared mainly towards internal use. To balance the already corporate connotations of its name, we decided on a lowercase representation of IML, playing with the idea of a single line︎︎︎ that symbolizes the network aspect of the company, which is a great asset for any participating musician. We chose to keep an orange color accent to keep a sense of evolution from the preexistent logo.

Location of all 19 bands.
The website︎︎︎, which was planned to only serve the purpose of validation for the company, presents a showcase of all the bands in its roster, divided by market.
Branding the Bands
The fact that the bands are not explicitly linked to one another allowed for less rigorosity when working on each individual branding. For continuity and even sentimental reasons, all names and some logos were to be kept unchanged from their previous iterations, but I did work on minor updates wherever possible. The music industry usually allows for more experimental design when it comes to visual design, but a key aspect of these (cover) bands is their reliability and professionalism when it comes to providing inexorably fun entertainment.


Silver Arrow Band’s (operating in NY, NJ, RI, CT, MA, VM, MA) custom type, reminiscent of NYC’s strong art deco tradition.
Emerald Empire Band’s (operating in GA and other Southern states) custom type and branding was geared towards a bold and classic image.

Stereo Star Band (Spain).



Bluewater Kings Band (based in Chicago and operating throughout the Midwest) modern and playful custom typeface/logo.
Websites
With the company focused on growth, I started working at a time when all bands had the exact same website (aside from the name). I took the challenge of designing the new generation of websites, which we launched at the end of 2018. After an in-depth study of the main user flows on the existing websites, I broke the structure down into modules that could be rearranged and reused throughout the website. Back-end functionality also dictated the thought process behind the new websites’ structure, which we had to conceive with a systemic approach in order to allow each band to have a as-unique-as-possible website in relation to the other company’s bands.

The solution was a template with a three-color scheme which is complemented by each band’s accent color. With fonts and layout being the same, this means that each website’s unique look and feel must rely heavily on the use of visual media to create a unique look for itself.
Set of primary (Circular) and secondary typefaces for use throughout websites, social media and print.
Photo & Video shoots
To differentiate each band as much as possible and to anchor their visuals geographically to their area of operation, I produced and directed over 15 photo and video shoots across the US, Europe and Australia. While content from real events was and is readily available for all bands from the events they play at, we wanted each area to have a set of photos to represent the band across all media. In order to assimilate the overall style of the photos to the wedding industry and thus allow clients to easily envision the band as part of their event, we worked with seasoned local photographers in each area, and tried to convey as much of an idiosyncratic look to each band as possible. Many of the photo shoots doubled as video shoots, which we used to create mainly promotional videos and ads for all bands.


Selection from Bluewater Kings Band photoshoot.
P: Mari Trancoso︎︎︎
V: Israel Vazquez︎︎︎


Island Kings Band (Hawaii) photo/video shoot selection.
P: Randi Kreckman︎︎︎
V: Sophia Roud︎︎︎


Lucky Devils Band’s (CA, AZ, NV) photoshoot selection.
P: Wanderlust Creatives︎︎︎

Silver Arrow Band’s promotional video.
V: Fiore Films︎︎︎

Social Media
We created a grid system that relies on graphics, own videos and photos, and other vendor photos. The periodic creation of graphics for all 19 bands was optimized by creating a set of pre compositions that are based on a color scheme approximation of their brand color.

Sample of bands’ IG profiles, complemeting their own live photos with in-house graphics and photoshoot productions.

Flowchart detailing the nesting structure used in AE to maximize posts output (seen below) with the minimum number of base designs.

Ads
With an already established strong presence in national directories such as The Knot and Wedding Wire, IML’s other main channel is digital advertising. Facebook ads were created to appeal to our clients at the right moment in their planning process.


We complemented the campaigns with email marketing automations for prospects and clients, creating a comprehensive campaign geared towards addressing as many aspects of the purchase cycle stages as possible.
Event Dashboard
After much research on the process happening after a prospect makes an inquiry on the website, I created a new online platform to centralize all information and next steps until –and after– the event happens. This Event Dashboard provided a solution to many existing problems:
  • Increasing conversion rate from inquiry to booking
  • Minimize the number of emails going back and forth between clients and producers
  • Ease the process of signing and revising contracts
  • Provide a comprehensive planning page for the event
  • Drive post-booking upselling
  • Integrate payments page

See full Event Dashboard︎︎︎ project.

RESULTS︎︎︎
Some of the key milestones accomplished during my time at IML:
  • 4+ new markets launched (CA, FR, IT, ES)
  • 6 new bands launched
  • Produced and directed over 15 photo and video shoots across the US, Europe and Australia
  • Bounce rate reduced by 25% and session duration doubled after new websites were launched
  • Number of inquiries increased by 60% after new websites/new content were launched
  • Conversion rate increased by 5% with new websites launch
  • Led the marketing department for the past 1.5 years
  • Planned and launched Photography and Videography services company-wide
  • Created and launched the Event Dashboard platform
Let’s chat ︎


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