For any band or artist to be successful, they must adopt a brand that is authentically their own and presents their unique musical story. The Stolen, an alternative rock band from Old Bridge, NJ, is a perfect example of a band that has a developed a brand all of their own.
According to The Stolen’s Facebook bio, “The band's nostalgic sound of late 80's new wave rock blended with modern indie pop is nothing less of intriguing.” Three phrases immediately jump out from this band bio: “late 80’s,” “new wave rock,” and “indie pop.” These are three distinct elements of The Stolen’s musical style that one would expect to be expressed in the band’s brand. From the looks of their website, merch and social media presence, The Stolen does a pretty good job of getting that message across to fans and followers alike.
The Signature Style
There is something nostalgic about The Stolen, both in their music, in their pictures and in their branding. Take the artwork for their single, “Overboard” for example. The mix of bold, psychedelic colors and black and white images creates this standout, eye catching collage. You immediately begin to associate this sense of contrast and meshing with the band’s overall style.
Between the “Fragile Heart Part 2 Tour” and the “I’m So Dead Tour” graphics, one can see continuity in the design and layout. The carryover of the blurry, blue and red 3D glasses effect hints at that old school, 80’s element that is present in The Stolen’s music.
The graphic for The Stolen’s recent pop up shop/listening party included monochromatic blue-toned photo with a mix of bold, black fonts layered on top. Again, one can see a moody, DIY vibe in the band’s branding that perfectly mirrors their music.
The Stolen’s website beautifully embodies a minimalistic approach. A clean black background is complemented by a white Sans Serif font. Everything on the page is easy to read and easy to navigate thanks to the simple menu at the top of the display. The first photo to meet your eye is a grungy band shot-four guys in muted tone posing in a grocery store. You instantly get a taste of this down to earth, DIY vibe that The Stolen does so well. Upon first glance, they seem relatable and accessible to their audience.
If you click onto the News tab on the menu, you will come across a strategic collection of new video releases, tour promotion posts and press coverage. With regular updates displayed in an Instagram feed style, this page makes it easy to keep up with The Stolen’s busy schedule.
Most band merch is designed to sell a band’s name, the faces of the band members or a recognizable symbol associated with the band. But The Stolen don’t seem to play into that mainstream ideal. Their “one of a kind” merch allows fans to adopt the band’s grungy cool vibe. Ombré flannels, black tees with cuffed sleeves, vintage jean jackets with words painted on – you’d never suspect these pieces were actually band merch. These unique pieces only add to the band’s quirky, old meets new image.
Not one to disappoint, The Stolen even has a collection of minimalist tees, hoodies and beanies that display the band’s name for the more traditional band merch wearer.
The Social Media Presence
The Stolen is killing the social media game! Active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the band does a great job of letting followers into their world.
The Stolen’s Facebook page has a direct link to their Bandsintown tour dates, making it super easy to find out where and when you can catch one of their shows. Almost every post is visual and includes a behind the scenes photo or eye-catching graphic.
There’s a consistent use of the “Overboard” graphic as the band’s Twitter header. All of the recent photos posted to their Twitter have a pink or red hue, which echoes the bright color scheme of their single’s graphics.
The band’s Instagram looks like an old Polaroid collection, full of moody pictures in faded tones. Scrolling through The Stolen’s feed is like stepping back in time to 80’s bands playing underground venues. I particularly love the part of their feed where they first highlighted “Overboard.” There’s a cool juxtaposition of a black and white concert picture, an overly saturated concert photo and then their “Overboard” single release graphic, which combines both design elements.
There are a few key takeaways that any indie artist can learn from The Stolen. One, be expressive. The Stolen stay true to their roots and to their music. Their whole presentation as a band is very authentic and down to earth. They are their music. Second, be consistent. The Stolen’s brand is truly manifested the consistency of all aspects of the band, including their merch, single release artwork, tour lineup graphics, videos, etc. Their brand is unique and recognizable.