Change your tune: How to brand karaoke in the age of TikTok

The world's largest karaoke platform sings off a new hymn sheet thanks to Nomad.

February saw Sing King unveil a new brand identity as put together by London-based brand agency Nomad.

A Top 800 YouTube channel with over seven million subscribers, Sing King is the world's most searched karaoke brand on the platform, amassing 3.3 billion views and 20+ million users on a monthly basis.

With such a massive audience spread across continents, age-groups and backgrounds, SK tasked Nomad with creating a universally recognisable visual identity that would transcend cultural barriers.

"Karaoke has such a diverse audience, we decided to avoid targeting specific demographics, and instead focused on a spirit that is inherent in all karaoke fans, whatever their age, whatever their culture," says Nomad creative director Terry Stephens (whose go-to karaoke track is Rappers Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang.)

That universality means karaoke branding has long moved on from its Japanese roots, if not in real life then definitely online.

"I think there’s naturally an influence from karaoke’s origins, but it has become mainstream enough now that these references can be more subtle," Terry continues. "We deliberately avoided going down a pastiche route because the new look needed to signal a step forward within the industry, not backwards."

Before and after

Much like a streaming service, Nomad's branding also puts the musicians front and centre, an easy task considering Sing King are the only fully licensed karaoke platform in the world

"We of course wanted to do (include musicians) in a way that’s fun and fitting for the brand, so we created the framing device that made them stand out and can also help to unify images from many different sources."

Sing King's new YouTube thumbnails also follow a set framing, with a clean arrangement of the logo in the corner, set beneath artist name and track title and to the side of a bold use of the word 'karaoke'.

"Consistency and standout were the key in the development of the thumbnails," says senior designer at Nomad Josh Lassen (who's a karaoke king at Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.)

"We wanted to create something that people would immediately associate with Sing King: that you were about to have a great time.

"The karaoke sticker allowed us to satisfy a YouTube stipulation, but in a uniquely branded and creative way. It’s one of our key brand assets, and adds an extra layer of popping colour."

All the text just mentioned comes from the type family of Sharp Grotesk Bold, which Nomad chose for its variety.

"It allowed us to communicate the mishmash of the world of Karaoke, its life and character and the diversity of music genres Sing King’s catalogue covers," Josh adds. "Sharp Grotesk has an inbuilt fun-ness and sophistication to it, which is what Sing King is all about."

Related: TikTok and how to use it for illustration success

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