Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Designing Death

When I first started listening to Metallica I didn't know a thing about branding but I do remember thinking logo was cool on the Kill 'em All album cover. And on the Ride The Lightning cover the logo was even cooler because it was airbrushed, and had lighting bolts flying out of it. Fast forward about 25 years and Metallica has just released their new album Death Magnetic. It's their first studio recording in 5 years and is the first to enlist the expertise of the branding agency Turner Duckworth.

Just as any company's brand identity can begin to erode over the years though lack of standards, not evolving with technology or employees not understanding the value it possess, so can a metal bands identity begin to drift into strange territory. Over the years the Metallica logo began to take on a life of it's own and loose its punch on albums such as Load and St. Anger. Turner Duckworth retooled the logo in the spirit of it's classic form as well as designing the packaging for the new disc.

The logo redesign is a success but the Death Magnetic type seems overworked in my opinion. I understand the D and the C being modified to look like a magnet however they extent too far and look more a U that has been turn on its side. Furthermore having the album title in perspective doesn't enhance the meaning it and isn't harmonizing with the Metallica logo type in any special way so why bother? (For the record Turner Duckworth has shelves full of Cannes and I don't.)

Anyway, the new identity really extends itself seamlessly into the merchandising. The redesigned M works "rocks" as a hallmark and conceptually works with the coffin icon on several levels. I've only seen a few samples of the new disc and other materials but a very strong visual language has emerged with this new release.

For more visit http://www.turnerduckworth.com

For someone at Tucker Duckworth to rip apart my work visit

For someone at Tucker Duckworth to contact me about cleaning their Cannes feel free to email me.

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