Singing is an art, but it is a business, too! For a business to be successful it relies on branding to be memorable, and being memorable as a singer is no different. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Put your best foot forward with these tips for creating a memorable brand.
1. Decide Who You Are
What exactly is your brand? What do you want to convey to the companies you audition for? Are you the cute, fun, sassy heartbreaker? The earthy, confident temptress? Maybe you’re goofy, or incredibly polished and professional. Whatever you decide, this will become your guide for all of your branding decisions. Find a few adjectives that describe you. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues to do the same. Make sure your brand fits your natural personality as well as your fach. As much as we all hate the fach system, the unfortunate reality is that companies tend to feel comfortable with the “types” associated with fach. Companies are far more likely to hire a soubrette with a playful, friendly brand than an equally talented soubrette who aims to come across as sultry and sexy (hello, Carmen envy!). If you aren’t naturally playful and feel more comfortable as the seductive thing you are, shoot for a compromise – in this case, go for flirty. This keeps you true to your personality without compromising your fach and costing you the job.
2. Pick your fonts
As your brand is mostly revealed through printed material (your resume, website, etc.), it is good to keep things consistent. Let’s start with fonts. I recommend finding two fonts only, one for your name and one for everything else. A good rule of thumb is not to use more than three. After all, if you have twelve fonts, which one is distinctly your brand?
Find one font for your name. Check out sites like DaFont.com to find free, downloadable fonts for your computer. Find a font that embodies the characteristics of your brand, and use it for your name at the top of your resume, on your website, and on your business cards. Feel free to choose something decorative, but be sure your name is still clearly legible! PRO TIP: Use Photoshop or other software to turn your name into an image that you can use on your website, as your special font may not be available to use on all website builders.
Your second font is what you will use for the content of your resume, biography, and all other materials. It should be a standard font that could be found on any computer, and easy to read. Use a sans-serif font like Calibri or Helvetica (serifs are the little “feet” at the end of the strokes, like in Times New Roman). Sans-serif fonts look more modern and are better for busy documents where you are trying to fit in a lot of information on one page, like on your resume.
Above all, legibility is key when choosing fonts for your brand. Decorative and unclear fonts will only distract from your brand rather than add to it. Also, always remember to save everything as PDF when you are finished so that your formatting and fonts remain the same when sending things electronically.
3. Pick Your Signature Color
We’re singers. Translation: we’re colorful people! Our headshots are no longer in black and white, so why should our brand be? Pick one color to be your signature color. You probably already have a signature color. What color is your favorite audition dress? Your accessories? You have good judgment when it comes to the color scheme of your best audition outfit, so use those same criteria when picking your signature color. Having a cohesive color scheme will make you look pulled-together. When it comes to using your accent color on your resume, use your best judgement. I have seen plenty of resumes that use color to a nice effect. But as soon as the entire contents of your resume are printed in bright red… Houston, we have a problem!
4. Create a Common Document Header
The key to branding is consistency. All of your materials should match. Create a uniform document header you can use on everything, from your resume to your audition repertoire list. Use Microsoft Word to create a header with your name, voice type, phone number, email address, and website. I recommend including a small version of your headshot, in case your materials ever get separated from your 8x10. Finally, include a place to label the document (i.e. “repertoire list for Merola audition”). Save it as a Word Template and you will always have it ready to go!
A few extra tips when it comes to formatting your header:
- Your name should be nice and big across the top. Your brand is YOU, so make sure they remember your name!
- List your voice type, but not your fach. The audition panel will be able to tell your fach from the repertoire you have listed, but don’t pigeonhole yourself in case they want to offer you something slightly off the beaten path.
- Use an appropriate email address. Cutiepie857@hotmail.com has no place on your professional resume. You don’t need a custom email address that matches your website domain, but firstname.lastname@example.org says, “I’m a pro.”
5. Match All Other Materials
Now that all your documents will match, carry the consistency through by matching your website, business cards, and any other promotional materials you have. Even your headshot should convey your brand! Next week we will go into more detail about the perfect headshot.
Strong branding is essential to creating a good first impression. If your materials are put together, you will look put together, too! When you know who you are, you can more easily sell that to the companies you audition for. Your business will have direction, and your art can take flight!
Be sure to sign up to participate in our Comprehensive Branding Webinar coming September 12, 2015! Rachael will be available to answer your specific branding questions. Sign up today: http://bit.ly/1VWyIHD
Rachael Colman is a mezzo-soprano and graphic designer based out of Kansas City. She loves to help her fellow singers improve their audition portfolios, offering services from resume editing to headshot retouching to website design. She is currently on roster with several professional choral groups across the country, and maintains an active opera presence, most recently performing as Nancy in ALBERT HERRING with Opera Breve in Wichita Falls, TX, and as the title role in LA CENERENTOLA with the Midwest Institute of Opera in Bloomington, IL. For more information, please visit www.rachaelcolmandesigns.com and www.rachaelcolman.com.