What makes a successful lyric video?

From ABBA to the Rolling Stones, we’ve made over 250 of them now at Yes Please, but what goes into making a truly great lyric video?

Before we get started, here’s what we like to do…

Step One: Deep Listening

First and foremost you need to understand the artist and track you’re making the lyric video for. Listen to the track. Hit that repeat button!

Unsurprisingly, this deep listening is the most important part of the process because it’s vital that the lyric video enhances the song. Aim to make the visual feel inseparable from the track, as if they were made together.

Step Two: Research n’ Research

While listening to the track, we begin our research. This can often start with something as simple as an internet search if it’s for an older, classic track. The aim here is to learn as much as we can about the artist and the song: when was it written? Why was it written? What the song is about? What do the lyrics represent? What is the social and historical context of the song?

We often will consider the fashions, art scene, design trends and political events of the time. This can have a huge impact on the design of the final lyric video.

Original album covers and promotional posters for the track also provide inspiration at this ideation stage.

Step Three: Design Foundations

Start mood boards based on your research (we like to use Pinterest for this) and collect together images that seem appropriate or feel inspirational. These could take the form of contemporary designs from the time, as well as typefaces or colours that seem to fit the mood and message of the song.

Typefaces are particularly important to the art of the lyric video. For the older songs that we work on, we often like to restrict ourselves to typefaces in use at the time of the original recordings, which can add a real sense of authenticity.

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