Your marketable skills begin with your talent and your sound, but there’s more to this picture too—your consistency, dedication, professionalism and personality carry a lot of weight with your fans and with the people who want to hire you.
At the “superstar” level, DJs are a unique breed because they have to manage multiple aspects of their public persona. It’s not enough just to tour the world with an expensive light show, or to mix a mind-blowing set with passion and creativity. You literally have to be an arbiter of the future—attuned to emerging trends and technologies, and ahead of the curve with your selections, remixes, and productions—while still maintaining a vestige of the sound and style that got you there. That’s not easy; just ask Tiësto, BT and Richie Hawtin, or even eclectic outliers like Ellen Allien or Amon Tobin, both of whom have reinvented themselves more times than we can count, but draw packed houses consistently.
If you’re just starting out as a DJ, we know it feels great to drop a mix that really shakes up your local club. But if you’re looking to pursue this as a career, where do you go from here? Defining and curating your brand is really the key to moving forward.
One of the essential tools you need to start marketing yourself to the world is having a good logo. An eye-catching and unique logo shows that you’ve invested time and creativity in your brand. The most successful DJs in the world have customized logos. We’ll show you a few ways you can create one.
Design Your Logo
You don’t necessarily need a flair for graphic design to create an effective logo—just a little patience and a willingness to experiment. Most DJs don’t have a logo, so if you can come up with a unique symbol or a customized font to promote your name, you’re already a step ahead of the competition.
Getting started. Spend some time thinking about your DJ name and your image. Try to come up with five to ten variations of your name and some symbols that inspire you, and then sketch them on paper. Your symbol should fit your music, so think about the music you play most often and what associations you can take from that. If you play friendly and vocal house music, then you might consider going with an elegant and smooth font, or a design with clean lines. If you favor minimal and techy music, you might be better suited to a font and logo with sharp edges and prominent corners.
Take a quick look at the websites of a few well-known DJs, and you’ll see that most logos are horizontal and will easily fit in a rectangular box. This size and shape is also easy to fit on business cards, promotional materials, and custom websites. For example, take a look at Kaskade’s old logo:
Before changing his style, Kaskade played soulful house music with great melodies. The leaves and vines that wind around the letters of his name are a good sign that you won’t get banging drum-and-bass when you listen to his music. Small details like this can make a good logo even better.
Try a few different designs. It’s a good idea to come up with a few options that you like, and then ask your friends for their honest opinion—they can be a great resource for input and ideas. Once you have a design and color scheme that you’re happy with, draw a large, clean version of it. This is your chance to get creative; you can add details, play with the color, or think about embellishments.
Try experimenting with new fonts to see if anything strikes you. When you create the final sketch, you’ll have to convert it to an Adobe Illustrator file and a transparent .PNG file that you can use on various websites. You can hire a graphic designer to help you with this, or ask your friends and see who might have the software you need. In our experience, it’s easy to find a graphic designer among your friends.
Sometimes a simple font is just as good as a logo. If you don’t have access to a designer, you can just choose a font to represent your name. You don’t need a symbol or a complex idea; good typography can be just as memorable. There are plenty of font sellers online (such as Fonts.com) that allow you to preview different fonts before you buy them. All you need to do is type your name into the preview window, and you’ll see how it looks in the font that you’ve chosen.
Fortunately, there are legitimate websites where you can get fonts for free too. If the website has a good reputation and respects copyright, you’re not violating copyright for using those fonts. DaFont.com is one of them. We typed in the name Beyond Beatmatching and got a large list of results, many of which we thought would be perfect for a DJ logo.
Don’t be afraid to make changes. Even though you’ve done a lot of work so far, your logo is not necessarily set in stone. Everything goes through an evolutionary process, and you might have better ideas two years from now. The important thing is that you take action now—the sooner, the better.
For inspiration, take a look at a flyer below and study the DJ logos. This came from the 2011 Ultra Music Festival; it’s a great example of how a logo’s look and shape affects readability. Each one has a unique font, is easily read at a glance, and fits snugly into the rectangular format we mentioned above.
Read more marketing tips inside our ebook Beyond Beatmatching.