How important is the look of a pedal to its success?

Electric Guitar Guitar Ownership Guitar Pedals Effects Pedals Overdrive Distortion Dr Scientist Sounds Guitar Pedal Design + -

There’s plenty of pedals which come in different looks and/or are iterated over a period of years - with new editions ending up in a different colourway or completely different graphic design. My case in point is Dr Scientist’s superb The Elements pedal - which has significantly changed its look over the years - with different colours, graphics, knobs, toggle end-caps, LEDs etc.


I believe the current iteration is the Black, Blue and White - Trees, Mountains and Stars version. Yet my favourite iteration and the one that I acquired last year was the ’Gold Bar’ edition. I deliberately and very specifically sought out the Gold Bar version - which meant using and double-checking with the vendor that I would indeed be getting the gold version.


Certain pedal types / categories are associated with very specific colourways - Tubescreamers (Green), Klones (Gold/Silver), Blues Drivers (Blue), Marshall (Gold), Vox (Russet) etc. Certain names and graphics also suit and conjure up certain complementary colourways and graphics, as do certain tones and textures, so all of these may be influential in persuading the consumer to go for the look of a particular pedal.


While all the different Elements iterations are decent interpretations of ’Elements’ themes, some of these can look overly fussy and thus more inherently confusing. My preferred edition is easily the ’Gold Bar’ version, with their earlier pretty much all-white version my second-favourite. I find the material elements approach the best route here - i.e. you could do gold, silver, copper etc. metal versions of the pedal. I don’t feel the latest edition necessarily serves the pedal or underlines its inherent quality as well as it could.


I know that several players have been turned off a pedal or two when they did not like the colour or design of that pedal - in the same way lots don’t like certain guitars for similar reasons. When you look at Boss and MXR which have very set colourways per category - and the only graphic design being in the fonts and placement of text and labels - it all leans towards a certain utlity in colour-coordination.


For my Bogner Burnley I specifically acquired the Bubinga wood top-plate edition of that pedal - as I felt it really suitably reflected the smoothness, warmth and richness of that pedal’s tone. Some pedal are just better served by certain design values - which help define very much what that pedal is about, and even how it might sound. There is no question in my mind that the visual is finely connected to the auditory components and helps reinforce and substantiate those particular qualities.


As far as I am concerned, a look of a pedal is a key influencer - and can and should be used to underline quality and justify price, as well as any number of subtle but distinct differentiators and identifiers. If you get those elements wrong - you will almost undoubtedly end up sacrificing sales somewhere along the line. You can frequently see on that certain pedal editions fetch a significantly lower price and sell slower that those which have a broader and more succinct appeal.


So pedal-makers must be aware of those players who listen with their eyes as well as their ears!

Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.

Did you find this content useful?

Thank you for your input

Thank you for your feedback

Blog Navigation

2018 50

4 Great Power-Scaling Tube Amps for Home Use
"Rui, I believe the two you suggest are decent "...
4 Great Power-Scaling Tube Amps for Home Use
"Hello Stefan So much info in this small article/"...
Cast Off Bank TSB playing with False Economies
"Slight update! - I have finally managed to make "...
9 of the Best Modulation Workstation Pedals for Your Consideration
"Mark - I don't find any of those Rotary "...
9 of the Best Modulation Workstation Pedals for Your Consideration
"Stefan, Great article. Thank you. How would you "...
House Music Label Odyssey
"Thanks for sharing this article , I am making an "...
4 Key GDPR Questions that still need Answering
"Thanks for that update Markus. It would also be "...
9 of the Best Compressor Pedals for Your Consideration
"Hiram - I believe it's the OTA / Ross Compressor T"...

Related Articles

Driving business at some of the world's most forward thinking companies

Procurement Leaders
Ocean Media
Open Door Media
Shard Media Group
AOP - Association of Publishers
FG Insight
Internet Retailing

Our Chosen Charity

Humanity Direct

And delivering industry leading awards

2016 British Media Awards - Technology Provide of the Year - Silver
2014 PPA Connect Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Event Brand of the Year
2014 PPA Digital Publishing Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Digital Brand of the Year (Again!)
2014 PPA Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Brand of the Year (Again!)
2014 AOP Digital Publishing Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Best Business to Business Website
2013 PPA Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Independent Publisher Digital Product of the Year
2013 PPA Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Brand of the Year
2013 PPA Digital Publishing Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Digital Brand of the Year
Let Us Call You Back
Contact Us
Request A Demo