Case Study: Kiss Kruise

April 27, 2011


Sometimes the greatest inspiration comes from the fans. We happen to be fans of KISS. Sixthman needed a team that could work with the KISS management team and that could produce key art, web design and an email template in less than two weeks.


Sixthman is a travel company based out of Atlanta, GA that creates theme cruises with an emphasis on celebrating music and fan communities. Their one-of-a-kind vacation experiences bring like-minded people together in exclusive, interactive, and intimate environments. The company’s mission is to break down the walls between artists, heroes, partners, and their passionate fan bases. Named Inc 500’s Fastest Growing Travel Company, it is no surprise that Sixthman is adding new cruises all the time.


Sixthman came to Kruhu a number of years ago for help designing key art, websites, email templates and promotional items such as CD covers, t-shirts and other merchandise to market their cruises. When the rock band KISS signed on to headline a cruise, Sixthman needed someone who could work with them and the Kiss management team to create exciting artwork that would exemplify every aspect of the KISS Kruise experience.

To make things more exciting, Sixthman needed the designs fast. How fast? Kruhu had two weeks to complete key art design, a website and an email template!


We knew we didn’t need to create a brand for this event – KISS already is a brand. In fact, KISS is the best “Band Brand” in the world. Some would even say they’ve branded themselves so well that today their brand surpasses their music. So what was our goal? The KRU set out to take the brand that KISS built and respectfully apply it to The KISS Kruise – Wet, Wild and Rockin’.

Chris Rucker, Kruhu principal and lead designer for the Kiss project, started by immersing himself in the KISS discography in order to “get to know” the band. He researched Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley to learn about how they came up with a comic book band that was made up of the sexiest rock stars. Keep in mind that all the materials were due in two weeks so the research was moving on the fast track.

The next step was to come up with an idea for the type of artwork that would be featured in the images. In a word, the look was going to be vintage. While there are new KISS fans born everyday, those cruising with the band have most likely been fans for years.

Chris wanted the artwork to convey the excitement of a wet, wild and rockin’ music cruise with the coolest band on earth. The boots on either side of the band belong to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, the founding members. The anchor is for more than the boat everyone parties on at sea. It’s for the new KISS Navy. The water dripping on the art is reminiscent of the crazy fun that happens on a wild vacation at sea with your favorite band and the metal background that is the base of the entire image is ship armor… or it’s from the KISS stage costumes. No wait, it’s both!

Finally, Chris wanted each member of the band to be represented in the artwork for the KISS Kruise. He included each member’s stage persona as follows:

• The Demon – Base player Gene Simmons – represented by the serpent

• The Star Child – Lead singer Paul Stanley – represented as a hopeless romantic with red roses

• The Spaceman – Guitar player Tommy Thayer – represented by the starburst in the background

• The Catman – Drummer Eric Singer – represented by the cat’s claw

Check out all the materials for The KISS Kruise: Wet, Wild & Rockin’ here.