Pianist Paul Warthen Elevates Brand with Help from Lisa Sirbaugh Creative

Passion can be a powerful driving force in one’s professional life, but it’s not always enough to take your brand to the next level. This was the challenge faced by professional pianist Paul Warthen, whose playing style and interpretations set him apart in a crowded music industry. To boost his brand awareness and stand out from the competition, Paul turned to Lisa Sirbaugh Creative for help. Through a comprehensive brand discovery and research process, they developed a brand identity that drew inspiration from the piano and spoke to Paul’s philosophy as a musician and person. “Pianist Paul Warthen Branding” features an impressive array of design elements including collateral pieces, custom album artworks, interactive social media assets, and website design that harmoniously brings together all facets of this creative project.

By Kate Sonnick & Lisa Sirbaugh

“When you’re passionate about your work, it shows through in all you do. For professional pianist Paul Warthen, that was the case in almost every way. There was just one thing missing. Paul needed an elevated brand developed to express his passion and experience honed over 40 years. To start, he needed a brand identity that set him apart in a crowded, competitive market. His goal: boost brand awareness and adoption, increase gig bookings in the DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida Keys areas, and build followers on popular streaming services and relevant social media platforms. This was when Paul turned to Lisa Sirbaugh Creative. 

“Paul’s point of difference is his signature playing style and the passionate flair and jazzy interpretations he brings to multiple decades of popular music. His richly layered sound, coupled with the intricate workings of the piano itself, served as a powerful jumping-off point for conception and design. 

“We began with our brand discovery and research process to develop a brand brief that served as the foundation for our creative work. We studied the competition to better understand how Paul could truly differentiate himself within the industry, and we took a deep dive into the instrument itself, studying the piano’s history, body styles, anatomy, and intricate inner workings.  

“Working closely with Paul, we developed a series of brand attributes that best conveyed the Paul Warthen brand through the new visual identity, color palette, and all subsequent brand touchpoints. When it came to brand identity development, we drew inspiration from the piano, creating a brandmark that echoes its serendipitous P-shape. The mark’s outer framework reflects the piano’s case and keyboard, while its inner linework mimics the piano’s cast iron plate. For the logotype, we selected an elegant modern typeface that draws upon the thick-and-thin strokes of musical notes and customized it to align with the brandmark. 

“Inspired by this talented artist, we developed the slogan ‘Living and Playing with Passion,’ which speaks to Paul’s philosophy as a musician and person. Along with the brand identity suite, project deliverables included collateral design, album cover art, streaming service, social media asset design, social media marketing design, website design, and apparel design. To cap everything off, photography and music video production combine emotive, classic, and refined imagery of this musician doing what he loves most. 

“American musician Tom Lehrer famously said, ‘Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.’ And when you play it as honestly in your branding and marketing as you do in real life, it makes the most beautiful music.  

“Paul Warthen officially launched his brand in August of 2022. In just four short months, Paul reached 50,000 streams worldwide, gained 6,000+ listeners across multiple streaming services, averages approximately 300 streams daily, has his music placed on 175 separate Spotify playlists, and garnered a significant increase in gig bookings and followers on various social media platforms.”

About Lisa Sirbaugh Creative

Lisa Sirbaugh Creative is a multi-disciplinary branding and graphic design studio focused on delivering dynamic and engaging brand experiences. I provide a spectrum of branding and graphic design services, from full-scope branding, rebranding, logo, and visual identity suite design, to marketing materials, packaging design, and more. As the principal and creative director, I work closely with clients to develop powerful solutions shaped by strategy and creativity to frame dynamic brands that people connect with. By yielding work that’s unique, conceptual, and compelling, we differentiate their businesses and brands in an ever-expanding marketplace.


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Author: Graphis