Client: Prince
Project: 3121 Las Vegas
Deliverable: Branding
Year: 2006

Challenge

Musical legend, Prince, decided to do a 6 month Las Vegas residency at the Rio Hotel & Casino. As his Creative Director, he brought me along with him to Las Vegas in order to create a solid brand identity for these historic shows.

3121 Background:

Prior to Las Vegas, as Prince was recording his 3121 album, he was having private musical events in Los Angeles that had garnered a reputation for their amazing impromptu performances. He came to call these events β€œ3121” and declared β€œThis is where the party be.” I came up with a 3121 logo that would be used for everything Prince did connected to special events or music he put under the category of 3121. It would be a brand that Prince used over and over during the next two years.

When it came to time to develop his residency in Las Vegas at the Rio, he decided to continue the 3121 experience and rebrand the venue as 3121 Las Vegas. This re-branded venue within the Rio would be a 100% Prince experience, even enveloping the restaurant next door which would be re-branded 3121 Jazz Cuisine.

Sketching The Venue:

The process began with taking dozens of pictures of the venue and sitting down with Prince and the event promoters to mock what the space could potentially look like. The hotel told us what was possible and where we were limited too, and I created these sketches (shown above) to get approval from Prince and the hotel. He wanted simple, black and gold, with only the 3121 logo and his trademarked eye symbol he often used in his album packages.

Once these sketches were approved, I worked closely with the signage vendors to get all the details dialed in.

Venue Results:

This was produced all in the two months leading up to the first performance, and resulted in a heavily branded Prince 3121 experience.

Promotion Design:

At the same time, I was asked to created the brand campaign for all the signage and promotion for the shows. As with all hotels in Vegas, the amount and variety of signage is very high. Working with Prince, we selected a photo by his photographer, Afshin Shahidi, that would be the central image of Prince used everywhere. Continuing the text and type treatments us earlier in the year on the actual 3121 CD, I created the standard ad layout and format that would then be replicated dozens of other ways.

Extending The Brand:

Using this admat as a template and style guide, I created all the indoor signs, outdoor signs, flyers, keycards, billboards, van wraps, VIP invitations, and dozens of other collateral, maintaining a strict consistency and connection to the central style guide.

This branding extended to retail as well. Mockups were created of potential retail items that were specifically branded for 3121 Las Vegas. I took the logo for 3121 Las Vegas and used the front lighting facade of the Rio Hotel as a graphic element. It communicated our connection to the Rio without cluttering up the retail with too many disparate logos.

Conclusion:

Overall, the 3121 Las Vegas experience was a massive undertaking to provide a connected brand identity across multiple venues, retail lines, and promotional needs. Establishing a look-and-feel early in the project that was a continuation of the earlier CD project proved to be an extremely valuable style guide throughout the entire residency.

All that remained were weekends filled with tremendous music from a legendary artist, and he did not disappoint!