©2020 Built with love by Nick Howland.

Playlistplay: Website And Branding

Playlistplay Website and Branding

A platform for musicians to tell their stories.

Role: Cofounder, Lead Visual / UX Designer, Writer, Photographer…Kinda Everything?

Project Overview

Playlistplay is a work of passion through and through. My wife Savanna and I have always had a love for music. I’ve never had musical talents so I’ve always tried to combine my design skills with my love for music. Playlistplay.com is the culmination of that. It’s a website (and company) that aims to give young musicians and bands a platform to get their music discovered.




The lockup (lettermark and logo) for Playlistplay was one of the first elements to be redesigned for our brand refresh. This small element is the face of the brand and gives the viewer their first impression of who we are, what the content is, and what the site represents.

When rebranding, I went through and did a quick survey of what posts (both on the site and on our social media) have gotten the most attention, then figured out what music genre each of those articles focused on. This helped determine who our audience was and who we should be aiming our brand at—which ended up being pop-punk / punk / and indie music.

With that information in mind, I went through and did an a competitor audit of brands similar to ours, to see what what else is out there and see where we could fit in and stand out.

I started with sketches and typeface studies, finding the right typographic structure to represent our brand. Making mixtapes all my life, attending shows and seeing gig crates, I realized how important and prevalent hand-generated text is within music. It’s the set list, it’s the path of lyrics from heart to paper, it’s the autograph from your favorite band. Playlistplay needed something quick and passionate like that, something rough but empowered. That’s what lead to the finalized logotype.

The accompanying logo visualizes our focus on present (pause), past (rewind), and future music (fast forward) through a mirrored illustration. the repetitive nature of the graphic also related to the repetition of a chorus within a song. I did various studies exploring different ways to visually represent this and the simple encircled mark ended up standing out. Through it’s simplicity, it could easily be adjusted to be styled differently to represent special topics we cover or events we report from.

You can see some of the process I went through and some of the various visual studies I did below.

Website, The Face Of The Brand


The website is the face of Playlistplay. We create monthly playlists with the music we are listening to each month (usually 100+ tracks), collaborate with bands to write Liner Notes (our version of interviews), cover music festivals, review new music, and write news articles about new announcements that align with our audience’s interests.

The website has had two iterations since its launch. In the most recent iteration, the audience’s interactions with the site and the overall traffic of the articles determined what we would continue featuring, help us figure out ways we can grow, and how the site itself is organized. We added Google ads to create revenue, structured the pages to provide better readability and quick access to more and related content, designed the site to be modular so changes can be made quickly, toned down the navigation and the overall structure of the site so that the content can speak for itself, and created pages to better house some of the features. Updates are constantly being made to the website to provide a better experience to our viewers.

Monthly Playlists

Each month a new playlist comes out and with that, a brand new cassette illustration to accompany it. I try to push myself to use different (or slightly different) styles as well as use different color palettes for each illustration, all while keeping in mind the website’s overall brand identity.


In addition to the website, Playlistplay also puts on house shows and has some merch as well. I do all the branding for these collateral items and incorporate a style that keeps our audience in mind by using styles and imagery that aim to match the kind of music we feature.

Check it out!

View Website

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