After ten years of growth in a congested market, audio streaming platform Mixcloud is evolving to connect audiences more closely to the creators and cultures they love. We came onboard to translate a new commercial strategy into a fully formed brand identity which will propel them through the next decade.
Mixcloud is used by tens of millions of creators and listeners worldwide. Its unique catalogue of 50 million handcrafted radio shows, DJ mixes and podcasts span every genre, taste and scene. Fans typically listen deeply to specific creator channels, with the average listener engaging for over an hour a day. After a decade of organically growing its community, Mixcloud’s next challenge is to reposition itself as a different kind of streaming platform with a new mission: to get more fans directly supporting the creators and cultures they care about.
We still believe in the values of the dancefloor: safe spaces, social progression, sharing passion, participatory culture. Sound knits together that culture.”
A meeting of minds
The project was run as a meeting of many minds, with co-working sprints and workshops involving both teams. As work developed, we shared design routes in interactive ‘poster galleries’, letting the Mixcloud team live with the new concepts around the office. This overcame the snow-blindness that can hit when new work is presented, and gave the team a real sense of ownership over the new brand.
The killer hook
Building on Mixcloud’s own work, we translated abstract strategy into an authentic character and proposition, to guide how the brand should look, sound and feel. Through exploration and workshops, we found the key to clear space in the market – the emotional connection Mixcloud nurtures between a creator and their audience.
The ultimate connector
This thinking led us to the central creative idea – the connector. It amplifies key words and links genres, people and locations. Its scale and rhythm varies dependent on mood. Sometimes calm. Often frenetic. Always moving and bursting with energy.
Extending the connector idea, the bespoke typeface we produced with Pangram Pangram is a vital brand component. Its role is both emotive and practical. With a mass of user-generated imagery, a customisable font pulls everything together with a sense of ownership. Ligatures can join pairs of characters, or become much more playful to show the brand’s exuberance.
In the spirit of brave connections, we evolved the Mixcloud blue, with supporting colours that throw up some unexpected pairings. They shouldn’t work, but they do, with each one carefully selected to harmonise with two others. Imagery combines with colour to represent different communities, cultures and sounds alongside genres and moods.
Personality into product
To truly test the work and show its potential, we explored different ways of using connection to root discovery into the heart of the product. We looked at how far things might go, from a simple reskin of the product to using the connector to guide user experience in different ways for Mixcloud’s player, discover tool and website.
Making it real
The brand leaps into the world on social and gets physical in a collection of merchandise, clothing and stickers. Here, the iconic typography really comes into its own as Mixcloud can ‘own’ genres without relying too heavily on the logo.
Bless the creators
In developing a new paid subscription model, Mixcloud is helping audiences to get closer to the creators. We extended the new identity into a look & feel for Mixcloud Select, with raw imagery, refined colours, a hand-drawn typeface and looser use of illustrative elements.
Helping Mixcloud thrive
Output’s collaborative approach has ensured we’re building a brand that represents the diverse community of audio culture. Subscriptions are growing, and the overall proposition is looking and feeling much stronger.”
Silver Award in ‘Branding Programme’ at the Brand Impact Awards 2020.