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Dormant Records image

Brand identity, branding guidelines, and marketing visuals for record label Dormant Records.

Client project

Dormant Records Brandbook

Branding guidelines for Dormant Records

Client project

3lroy Money CD cover

Visual graphics for music albums

Client and personal work

Dormant Records

Design a brand identity, branding guidelines, and marketing visuals for record label Dormant Records.
For this project, I accomplished a set of tasks according to the client's needs:- Record label logo
- Branding guide
- Brand identity
- Brand content tone across chosen social media platforms
- Instagram profile and post design system
- Copywriting
- Album covers for multiple artists
- Marketing campaign for artist music releases

Dormant Records image

Dormant Records Ltd. is a record label based in Sacramento, California. They started in 2021 with a goal to represent unknown, local artists who are laying "dormant" to preserve music culture.There is a lot of unrecognized and untapped potential in small artists who have not been given the opportunity to express themselves. Dormant Records aims to give these artists a chance to do exactly that. Being both individualistic and community-centered, they market to avid music listeners who are looking for offbeat sounds.As they are expanding, the record label strives for a consistent brand identity to push themselves away from the competition, creating a unique feel for partnered artists. The client came to me with a request to give them a fresh look, something that would set them apart from other labels.I have had the chance to create marketing campaigns and visual graphics for a music festival, as well as single artists, but this project is much broader than what I have worked with before. This created an opportunity for learning how to deal with a bigger challenge and also revisiting familiar concepts. I'm familiar with graphics standards in the music industry, but designing a whole brand identity as well as many graphics for multiple affiliated artists is a difficult puzzle to solve.In this project overview, you will find the process of creating this complete brand identity, with all its challenges and design choices.

Logo process

The Dormant Records logo reflects the studio’s strong and sharp personality. Utilizing simple shapes creates a memorable shape and lets the logo stand out on top of more complex elements. This allows more creativity in backgrounds such as photographs and fill gradients.In recent graphic design trends, business logos have been very literal. A coffee shop will have a cup in their shop sign, and a bakery will have a loaf of bread. This may be ideal for a store that sells a physical product, but it becomes more difficult when a brand provides a service. I believe the literal logo ideation is overdone. So I opted instead to get my inspiration from an archive of 1960s-90s record label logos from South East Asia. This  allowed me to have a wider range of understanding of what elements can be used in order to innovate and make this project really stand out. Instead of looking into the future of music, I instead looked at what came before, in a different part of the world from what I am used to. This gave me many new insights into both typography and icon design, and served as my primary inspiration for the process of creating the logo.

Considered logos

After drafting up multiple initial ideas, we settled on the star as the main logomark icon. A star is a strong shape visually, and it alludes to the "stars" in the music industry. I had multiple ideas, but I refined it into the final variation of an eight-point star with simple shading.
The client and I ended up opting with the simple variant, to keep it versatile while still keeping strong shape design.

Considered star variants

The Dormant Records logo reflects the studio’s strong and sharp personality. The shapes in the icon are simple, and its form is memorable.


See full guidelines here: Brandbook

The client was provided with a complete set of branding guidelines including type, photography, colors, and gradients. These guidelines play the strategic role in the brand development: all future contributors will get clear instructions about correct and wrong ways to use the graphics created for this project.

To go along with the new brand identity, I was also tasked with designing some album covers for artists' upcoming albums. The artists described their vision for the graphic and also the intention behind their music in those albums. Knowing their vision helped me create the artworks.

With the logo being inspired by South East Asian record label logos, so were the typefaces created by South and South East Asian type foundries. The choice of typefaces may seem to lack contrast, as they are both sans serifs without wildly different proportions. I believe there is enough shape contrast in their respective uses to create a complementary harmony.The typeface of choice for Dormant was Anek Gurmukhi Expanded by Ek Type. The type foundry focuses on developing fonts for scripts from multiple Indian languages.
Dormant’s secondary typeface is Plus Jakarta Sans by Tokotype, an Indonesian type foundry. It features classic sans serif letters with some added uniqueness inspired by geometric sans serifs like Neuzeit Grotesk and Futura. A simple font for body text.

Dormant Records’ color palette features sharp, saturated colors with lots of energy. There is a large variation in hues with focus on creating high contrast between the dark and the colorful. All these colors come together to create a cohesive and impacting brand image.The process started with a retro 60s color palette. Earthy browns, yellows, and greens. However, muted colors created a dissonance with the sharp logo design, and did not match. The color palette went from desaturated browns and greens to bold reds and blues as sharp as the star itself. Now, the colors can be combined in numerous ways and match perfectly.

Dormant Records' gradients is one of its main design aspects. Many brands use gradients in their marketing to add color without it being overbearing, however this is a unique stylization of gradients which sets the brand apart. The creation of these gradients, although challenging, made unique and recognizable elements for the branding strategy. This was by far the most fun part of the project as I love working with colors.

Dormant is a human-centric brand, focusing on promoting artists. With that in mind, the marketing is modeled to keep the fantastic people who make up the company, in the spotlight.Instagram is a visual media-driven platform where any user can see recent activity after one click. When viewing a profile, all posts will show up with the image thumbnail. Therefore, it is important to convey meaning and intention without relying on post description text. I created a framework which includes both imagery and typography in the post thumbnail. The typography will inform the user what the post is about (ex. "New album release") with a supporting image of the artist or album cover. This allows for clear interpretation with a call to action (ex. "Stream now on (music platforms)").The design structure of Instagram posts deviates from the main branding by mostly omitting gradients. This is due to images being prioritized; including both images and gradients would be overbearing.From a strategy perspective, utilizing Instagram as a tool can be a great way to convert social media followers to active listeners. The goal is retargeting users from Instagram to artists' profiles or their music on streaming platforms.

This project has been my biggest and most comprehensive to date. I have learned a lot about the iteratative process when creating branding guidelines and visual identities. I went through many iterations for each part, and put in a lot of work. This project means a lot to me and I hope you enjoyed reading the process of creating it.

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Denas Rakauskas

Denas is a creative and analytical person who thrives at the intersection of art, design, and product management.
Using the power of color, shape, and form he tells stories and evokes emotions.

Work experience

Communities manager and product manager.

Jan 2021 - Present
~70 staff and 350 000+ end users
Moderation, development, team lead, project and product management
Adobe Creative Career, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe XD, Adobe Video, Adobe Creative Cloud Express, Adobe Firefly


July 2022 - Present
Adobe Illustrator mentorship, graphic design and illustration
Portfolio, project feedback
Design Buddies
January 2022 - Present

Community leader

Art Club
June 2020 - December 2021
Co-owner / leader of Art Club
Moderation, development, team lead
Art Club is an art-centered online community with 19 000+ members.


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