Bella Figura – our first music industry web design project
When I was much younger I used to dream of designing record sleeves. Being a child of the 1970s, vinyl seven inch singles were very much a part of my world as a teenager before they gave way to the materially less thrilling cassettes. The lovely wide expanse of space on a record is a designers’ dream. Even now at a seaside antique market, finding a cardboard box full of old singles takes me back to Our Price records Epsom or the Virgin Megastore at Piccadilly Circus. After record sleeve nostalgia come the classic labels each artist was on – Parlophone, EMI, Island, PWL, Blanco y Negro, Polydor, London, Fontana – the list goes on. Iconic logos that told you everything you needed to know about the credibility (or thrilling, fizzing pop) that lay within. However I’ve never worked for the industry. So, finally, in 2023, it’s a monumental thrill to introduce Bella Figura, our first music industry web design project.
Bella Figura's logo design by Jeremy Plumb, with typography by us
Play that funky music
We began working with Alexi Cory-Smith, the founder of Bella Figura Music, back in 2021. We supplied a presentation deck for investors to begin work on the funding of the company, rather more of a financial services design project. In our work from time to time, random projects like this come along. Sometimes they lead to a more enduring working relationship, other times we never hear from that client again. Happily, this was one of the former.
Having put her business plan together and formed a team, Alexi then worked with with the well-known music industry graphic designer Jeremy Plumb of Traffic Design to draw up the logo for Bella Figura. A mesmeric and beautiful mix of lines and curves which echo both the initials of the company and its beautiful figure, the identity is striking and like Alexi, we fell in love with it immediately.
Our job was to take the logo, build out a brand and put it online, devising a website that told the story of Bella Figura. What’s been thrilling for us is that between starting the project and its launch, our remit has grown. We began with a simple business proposition now contains Bella Figura’s already-enviable catalogue, making this a music industry web design project with gravitas at launch.
Please don’t stop the music
Creating an identity scheme from a pre-existing logo is a curiously satisfying exercise. We’ve done this sort of work many times (for instance with MovePlan or London & Oriental) and it requires cherishing the work that has been done and finding ways to make it work beyond being a simple brand, icon or logo design. We like to simultaneously honour the brilliance that has gone into its creation and build something new which supports it.
Our work in this instance began with defining the typography of the identity, then building a graphic language that extends the linear design scheme Jeremy had created. With minimal visual content at the outset, one thing we needed to provide was an electricity and response for web users.
The logo is completely monochrome, but the site didn’t need to be, so we added a sharp orange as an accent for users, and to bring our graphics to life. The next step was to consider ways in which we could build out the lines and shapes from the logo throughout the site to add dynamism to all the branded materials we were working on. Sourcing elements from the logo and building them out, our graphics range from a simple set of horizontal lines, to ‘bent pipes’, loop-the-loops and booming musical echoes.
Thank you for the music
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing with graphic animations across recent projects such as London interior designer Tomèf, US medical equipment business Bexa or breakout venture capital firm Cornerstone. Most music industry web design uses landmark photography of artists as the hallmark of a site. However in this case, with a subtly different business catalogue-focussed proposition, having graphics that move, giving pulse and vibrancy turned out to be vital.
Working with our longtime collaborator Carlo, we have honed a set of graphics that bring the Bella Figura Music brand to life. At the outset of the project, we created a teaser visual of circles pulsating as though they were a boombox speaker for a holding page. Our intention had been to replace this with a corporate type homepage focussing on what BFM does. However we ended up realising that to lose this incredibly powerful graphic would be a real shame. In fact, a little mystery on arrival would be really enticing.
The end result goes to the heart of what I wanted us to achieve with this project. Something that spoke of a passion for music and put Jeremy’s incredible logo front and centre, then built a graphic story around it. A piece of design that could sit just as easily on the web as on one of the seven-inch record sleeves I bought as a teenager.
For music industry web design, look no further
If you’re interested in an approach to a website which considers life beyond the off-the-shelf stock image or ready-made template kit, we’d be interested in your brief. Whether you work at a label, in publishing or are an artist, get in touch.
Call us on 020 7351 4083 or email direct to tell us all about it.