What Indie band The White Stripes have done with their brand image is simply impressive. In an industry better known for rock star image than brand image, the example set by The Stripes would put many mainstream brands to shame. Quite simply, in the colourful world Rock, The White Stripes have gone after, and now own the colour red. All of their band/brand material has one common element – it’s overwhelmingly red.
The combination of red, black and white is a common palette for alternative rock bands and can be traced back as far as The Stooges (if not before). But The White Stripes have taken the colour pallet, leveraged the red, embraced it and made it their own. There’s a great rock-irony to the fact that a band with the name ‘The White Stripes‘ should choose the colour red to align themselves.
The Freedom to be Red
By decrying that all their band design feature red, this consistent thread has given The Stripes the freedom to change and evolve the rest of their visual language as their audience does. The objective is to remain relevant in an ever changing environment. Having a clear and consistent red theme also allows different artists and designers to pick up their brand and work with it. So much so that they have done away with most of the usual brand elements like a brand mark and typographic style – and this is where ‘ designing brand freedom’ comes in. By heavily controlling one element that they ‘own’, they can afford to be far more playful with other elements. This keeps them looking fresh and ahead of the game. They can tailor their style from city to city and generation to generation. As long as they keep the red anything goes.
Doing a quick Google image search for White Stripes revealed a collection of predominantly red images. So strong is the association between The White Stripes and the colour red that even a random bunch of images from across the web presents their brand colours as strong, consistent and uncompromising.
I love how they have controlled one element that creates a thread that runs through all of their visuals and have designed themselves the freedom to be anything that their future hopes and dreams allow them to.
So what brand lessons can all businesses learn from the School of White Stripes? A well designed brand image can set the guidelines so that whilst some elements are strictly controlled there is plenty freedom to go out, be adventurous and make emotional connections with your audience. I’ve collected some great examples of The White Stripes band/brand expression – enjoy the freedom, and the red.
Graphic Design Melbourne