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Making the Brand: Pride

June 2020

Article

Colette McIntyre
Edward Yeung
Jillian Menor
Kate Carter
Rebecca Lim

Hello and happy Pride Spotify friends & fam! 🏳️‍🌈

Before we dive straight into the work, allow us to introduce ourselves. We’re Edward Yeung (ACD/art director), Jillian Menor (ACD/copywriter), Colette McIntyre (Senior Copywriter), Rebecca Lim (Senior Art Director) and Kate Carter (ACD/copywriter)—the crew on the Brand and Creative team behind this year’s Pride campaign. 

We kicked off this Pride project a few weeks into a global pandemic and soon realized that the sentiment of togetherness and shared experiences has never been more important. Historically, this month has been important to bring people together and give voices to the LGBTQQIA+ community, which has been previously done in real life. But for Pride in 2020, things have temporarily changed. So how do you bring a community together when they can’t actually be, well...together? 

We worked closely with Spectrum, Spotify’s LGBTQQIA+ employee resource group, to create a campaign that encapsulates an indoor activist spirit. We stayed close to both Spectrum and the social impact team to zero in on the tone and intention behind each piece of communication. Whilst we were bouncing ideas around, some questions came up more than once, like "how can we rethink the way we promote Pride/music around advocacy for queer voices?" and "how can we use our platform and reach as a way of uplifting and educating our audiences on LGBTQQIA+ issues?"

In our initial discussions, catalyzed by the above questions, we agreed it was crucial to us that this year’s Pride work highlighted and amplified the diversity contained within the LGBTQQIA+ community. Just like there is no one way to express Pride, there is no one way to be queer. The community isn’t monolithic, and the creative team itself reflects this truth. A majority of us identify as queer but represent so many other unique intersections of identity, from sexual orientation to race to gender expression to place of origin, and so on and so forth. 

Thus, when writing our campaign's manifesto, we wanted to declare and enshrine the nuances of LGBTQQIA+ identity: the sheer breadth of experiences, stories, and histories our community contains. There is no easy way to sum up or speak to all the people who celebrate Pride. And that's truly something to be proud of: 

After all, Pride stands for love, acceptance, and the embracing of each other

in all of our resplendent color, beyond the labels, beyond just this month. 

Because LGBTQQIA+ is just the beginning.  

We can't be contained by a single acronym — 

We are so much more.

We are tastemakers. We are rule breakers. 

We are proud. We are powerful.

We are iconic. We are ever-evolving. 

We are revolutionaries. We are survivors. 

We are art + camp + disco + house + glitter + leather 

tongue pops + protests + Vogue + vogue. 

Simply put — we are

Unlike any other.

And it was the plus in LGBTQQIA+ that really stuck out to us as a powerful and symbolic representation of the community.

Reason being, the plus sign in LGBTQQIA+ signifies the inclusion and acceptance of all queer experiences. It's the perfect illustration of the community's plurality and diversity, as well as our inability to be easily summed up. So this final element of the acronym, a symbol of connection & expansion, became a focal point in our design system.

Pride + VINCINT.

Flag it up

In recent years, the official Pride flag has moved on from the Rainbow flag to a more inclusive iteration: the Progress Pride flag designed by Daniel Quasar.

Quasar added a five-colored chevron to the Rainbow flag to place a greater emphasis on inclusion and progression within the queer community. The updated Progress Pride flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized queer communities of color and those living and passed from HIV/AIDS, along with the colors pink, light blue, and white—which represent the transgender community.

The Progress Pride flag, designed by Daniel Quasar.

To promote this new inclusion and take it a step further, we wanted to bring visibility to lesser-known flags in our communications by featuring them as graphic elements in each of the campaign's layouts. In our campaign, each layout features a modular grid of stripes: a direct nod to the stripes that make up all Pride flags. 

The diverse Pride colors.

Utilizing Spotify’s vast brand color palette of 30 colors, we created select pairings that represented the different unique identities within the LGBTQQIA+ spectrum and matched them with the coordinating flags they were inspired by. The queer community is often viewed as a monolith, despite each queer experience being truly one-of-a-kind. Including these flags was an important representation for less frequently acknowledged identities and included folks who were Transgender, Bisexual, Genderqueer, and Non-Binary for example.

Pride posters unlike any other.

Make it pop

Inspired by pop art and protest posters championed by queer artists in the 1990s, we created a flexible grid that would allow each featured creator to shine individually while maintaining cohesivity when viewed as a group. When looking at Andy Warhol’s prints of Marilyn Monroe, they look like a vast celebration of color, beauty, and identity, almost pattern-like. However, upon closer inspection, each print is special and stands on its own as well. With our campaign, we wanted to really capture this essence, by highlighting the uniqueness of each queer creator individually, but also show the strength and unity of our community as a group.

Pride inspo.

Pride on Spotify

We also launched a wonderful on-platform Pride experience. Working closely with the Editorial team, we created the “The House of…” featuring essential listening from the icons and legends of ball culture, including Twiggy Pucci Garcon, Jason Ozzie Ash, Byrell The Great, and more. 

At the same time, other top Pride playlists like Out Now, Pride Classics, and Black, Queer and Proud were rebranded to fit within the campaign. 

The Pride hub on Spotify.

Out-of-home unlike any other

Pride is important to Spotify. And we wanted to put our creators front and center with prime exposure in Penn Station featuring top talent within the community. It was also important to us to prioritize and highlight queer people of color in our out-of-home placements. Below you can see a prominent billboard in LA highlighting the amazing Transgender + Soul + Healer + Iconic artist Shea Diamond

Pride billboards at Penn Station, in NYC.
Billboard featuring Shea Diamond in LA.

Allow us to introduce ourselves

In an effort to normalize the diverse number of identities within the queer community, and to foster a more inclusive environment, we worked with 10 artists and creators—Halsey, Bowen Yang, Matt Rogers, Shea Diamond, Em Shultz, Pablo Vittar, Tayla Parx, VINCINT, Patrick Hinds, and Girl in Red—inviting them to introduce themselves by choosing their own pronouns and personal identifiers on social media

We extended the concept even further by asking Spotify's employees to provide their identifiers and highlighting them with imagery that is on par with the rest of the campaign.

Pride stories on Instagram.

One of the best parts of this project was the team. Our amazingly talented and hardworking internal crew. It was a large cross-functional effort with so many willing to jump in and help bring the project to life—Brand & Creative, Spectrum, Markets, Marketing, Editorial, Social, Artist & Label Partnerships, PR, and Social Impact joined forces to bring this campaign to life.

We see you. We heart you. This project, just as this Pride has proven to be, is unlike any other. 

It remains crucial to us that this year’s Pride work amplifies the diversity contained within the LGBTQQIA+ community. We all must listen and expand beyond the monolith by opening our eyes and ears up to many other unique intersections of identity, from sexual orientation to race to gender expression, and beyond. 

That said, hurry over to the Pride experience, listen, learn, support, share, and enjoy the beautiful queer voices on our platform. Celebrate Pride with us on Spotify! 

Thanks for reading! Love the Pride creative team.

Credits

Colette McIntyre

Senior Copywriter

Colette (she/her) is a Senior Copywriter not using her college degree on Spotify’s Brand & Creative team. You can see her perform stand-up on stages (read: in basements) around the city or drinking too many frozen margaritas wherever frozen margaritas are sold.

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Edward Yeung

Associate Creative Director

Edward (they/them) is a non-binary Associate Creative Director on Spotify’s Brand & Creative Team, and co-founder of collagen brand @crushedtonic.

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Jillian Menor

Associate Creative Director

Jill is a Filipino-American, Associate Creative Director on Spotify’s Brand & Creative Team. She can often be found arguing LeBron’s greatness online @jillmenor.

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Kate Carter

Associate Creative Director

Kate goes by she/her. She’s an Associate Creative Director on Spotify’s Brand & Creative Team. She loves writing…dad jokes. Hey yo!

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Rebecca Lim

Senior Art Director

Reb is a Sr. Art Director on Spotify’s Brand & Creative Team. When she’s not slouching in front of the computer, you can find her missing all her shots with @downtowngirlsbball.

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