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Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

Context (Extended Placement Brief from GOLDEN)

SomethinkSounds is a record label based in London and Berlin, being one of the few independent labels based in two discinct countries and environments at the same time. Somethinksounds predominantly caters for electronic and house music artists – dropping some of the biggest releases from artists such as Cyril Hahn and Lokiboi. Our tone of voice, and brand ethos revolves around relaxed vibes, and good music.

Targe Audience

The target audience and general culture of house, and electronic music undeniably has connections with drugs, sex and partying – predominantly younger 18-25 demographic. How can we play on this situation for the brand?

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14


Completely reimagine SomethinkSounds and its identity, including a new logo and new material that works and translates collaboratively across print and web. Design sleeve and release posters for Eliphino’s new release The Undivide Whole and it’s launch party.


Brand Guidelines and Identity Application handbooks. Print and Digital PDF ready for client. Evidence and documentation across blogs Finished proposals and concepts for digital presence, and print presence through record covers, posters and more.


Reference Imagery

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

Target Audience

An obvious choice of reference but a relevant one, Talia’s photographic style influenced the aesthetic quality of the identity, particularly the elegant femininity of her photoshoots.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14

Electronic Culture

In order to produce an effective identity for a record label it was also vital to try and understand the culture of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and their needs. What they are drawn to, and the colours associated with the culture.

Existing Identity

SomethinkSounds’ recent identity is an essential part of the design and research process. It allowed me to see what parts of the identity worked well, and what maybe didn’t work quite as well and could be improved upon.

Along with vibrant use of colour and lighting, that informed the identity, and photography of deliverables.

Tone of Voice

SomethinkSounds is an independent record label based between Berlin and London. XL Recordings is also a record label proudly living off the notion of being idependent. XL recording’s toke of voice is unique and clever, through its brutal honesty.

Of particular note, is the branding system for all releases under the SomethinkSounds umbrella. I wanted to carry this on. #02

Contextual Research

Medicinal Packaging

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

The original brief rom Golden, made it clear the target audience for the record label was predominatntly mate, blunt, and probably take drugs. Tone of voice, and awareness of this is vital. After researching into the target audience, and the electronc music culture, It became clear drugs packaging was an obvious path of research. Initially, I hadn’t yet a made a clear, and logical link between thw two. As I as getting closer to the concept, looking into medicinal packaging was enjoyable & rewarding and was a strong reference for the final visuals.

Iconic Album Covers

Being a record label specialising in vinyl record sleeve releases of CD’s and records - it was an obvious process to research into iconic record sleeves. Particular attention was paid to Peter Saville, and the late, great Storm Thorgensen. Peter Saville’s understated intelligence communicated through his design is somegthing that inspired me moving forward.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14


Looking into existing record label logos, the most successful independent ones sucha s XL Recordings have a timelesss, and stripped back logo. It almost creates a juxtaposition of a clinical identity, with the lifestyle and atmosphere of the invents themselves. I looked into bold, reassuring logos that an individual would feel is reliale and trust-worthy.


Idea Generation

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

Rough Sketches

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14

As the brief was started during placement, I found myself drawing a lot more than I usually do. The drawing really began to inform the more polished visuals, as you can see on the images above the final designs have a clear connection with these rough sketches.


Development & Process

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

Initial Visuals

A lot of experimentaton and design development took place for this brief, the initial aim was to again, push a subtle reference to the club, and drug culture and create two S forms out of one S - double vision. As the designs began to develop, the double vision idea in the logo became less obvious, more subtle and I feel stronger.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14

Final Solutions

The final logos aren’t perhaps the strongest logos in technical terms, but I felt they had the strongest foundations in terms of the relationship between the three. The logo itself also has a stronger justification in terms of design choice, as it is literally an expanded vinyl record, making an S. This lends itself really well to moving image, and application onto music channels and online platforms. Digital music sharing is a huge distribution platform for electronic music.


Logo Relationships

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14


The logos all revolve aroun the central circle, it’s prevalent on all three logo forms, and forms the scaling of all logos to be the same proportion as each other on a spread.




01 = Alternate 02 = Secondary 03 = Primary

Open & Collapse

The final logo is one logo that collapses and opens to make secondary and alternate logos, the idea behind it is a spinning record opens up to create an S. The S, has been opened up on the ends to also create the impression of two S letterforms, communicating SomethinkSounds.


Final Solution 01 - Record Sleeve Releases

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds


Pop it

The core concept throughout SomethinkSounds is understanding it’s audience, and the culture of hard partying, drinking and drugs. Somethinksounds focuses on prescribing pleasure through music, not drugs. Each music release, event, gig and so on, focuses on tone of voice to convey a calm, relaxed, assured ambience - with small references to medicine in terms of using words such as “side effects” etc. A relief of tension. This suits the genre of music such as Deep House, and EDM that SomethinkSounds operates in perfectly. SomethinkSounds aims to find a strong synchronised relationship between print and digital with a symbol system allowing easy application to everything, from cd sleeves, to projections, to music videos and visualisers.

Special 12” releases extend the notion of prescribing pleasure through music, by literally allowing you to pop the disk out, as you would a pill. The CD is then a metaphor for pleasure and a relief from tension - which suits the genre of music SomethinkSounds operate in, while subtly referencing the hard partying, and rave culture of electronic music.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14

Symbol System & Decibels

Inspired by XL Recordings applying their own brand identity to all artist releases record releases, SomethinkSounds produces covers in a similar vein but isn’t so limited aesthetically. Each artist release gets assigned a colour pallette, and symbol. These symbols form the identity of the song across all campaigns. The symbols adjust in size on record covers in relation to a mathematical reading of the song, for example decibels. This allows each sleeve to be distinct and unique.


Final Solutions 02 - Wheatpaste Posters,

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

London x Berlin

Posters have been designed for simultanous launch parties across London and Berlin, as the client asked. The colour pallette, again correlates with the assigned colour and symbol system of the single release / artist in question.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14

Symbol Halftones

The symbol system even applies to the halftones of images. Images on material such as posters are made up of the symbols to create a greyscale image, and only noticeable very close up.


Idents & Visualisers


Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

Further extending the symbol system and the lifestyle of the brand, SomethinkSounds has a variety of different introductions and idents to be played before music releases online. Online is a huge part of contemporary music, and something given huge importance with this identity.


Visualisers are a cost-effective alternative to music videos. Again the logo transition animation plays before the symbols apper, which then start to shake, and come alive to the music as a visualiser.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14

Web Presence

Youtube channels, and Spotify adverts of moving images provide targeted promotion to electronic, and house music fans.

The colour pallette, and symbol in question is dictated by the assigned set, keeping the song and the whole visual campaign for the song consistent.


Viral Campaign

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds

Twitter takeover

Abbas Mushtaq:

The viral campaign for SomethinkSounds for the release of Eliphino’s new release revolves around a mysterious, almost blank webpage. Typing in your twitter handle takes you to your twitter page, not sure if anything happened at all. Suddenly shapes start appearing and your twitter page comes alive.

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14

After the Twitter takeover interactive ad takes over, the system sends a tweet on your behalf, with a link to the webpage - which links to Twitter again, making the campaign always go in a circle. Making the campaign viral.

The song plays out and the twitter page becomes an interactive, and highly personal ad.


Brand Application 01 - Spatial Design

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds


The symbol system, again lends itself well to graphic application and would be projected around the event space. Pulsating, as a projected visualiers in co-ordination with the music.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14


The symbol system used across the branding, logically extends towards larger applications, for example wayfinding.


Brand Application 02 - Lifestyle

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds


To further push the idea of the record label being a lifestyle its target audience subscribes to, Somethinksounds has a line of apparel. Again the products push the symbol system onto clothing.

Abbas Mushtaq:

Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14


Zines are a huge part of independent culture and also form the basis of print related materal for SomethinkSounds. Each zine would be produced in a limited run, sold online and/or available at each of its shows.


Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds Submission Boards  

Brief 16 _ SomethinkSounds Boards Abbas Mushtaq OUGD603 Extended Practice Submission 22/05/14