BandAids: Poster Inspiration from Swissted

In this column, we explore ideas, innovations and inspirations in band promotion. Today’s post is brought to you by the department of inspiration.

Show posters can be works of art, but on the DIY/local level, all too often they’re amateur eyesores that break all the rules of good design. Sure, it can be argued that a hideous poster draws attention just as well as a beautiful one, but is that really the image you want to perpetuate for your band? Your visual identity counts big, especially in an era when your image and branding is frequently the gateway through which people discover your music. So it’s important that you take care to make yourself appear pro and polished, or else you risk turning many potential listeners away before they even hear you.

Before you embark on your next adventure in amateur Photoshopping, check out a Web site that we here at OurStage have been drooling over. Swissted is an ongoing project by New York graphic designer Mike Joyce, in which he has designed numerous posters for actual bygone punk rock shows using just one basic sans-serif font and employing one consistent style (Swiss modernism”hence the project name). The results are simple and stunning posters that employ bold shapes, minimal colors and clean typography, reminding us that less is often more. So put down the drop shadow, forego the arty (read: illegible) font you grabbed off the Internet (or worse, the criminally overused font that came with your computer” can anyone say Papyrus?), and get inspired by simplicity. Note we say ˜get inspired by’¦ in other words, don’t go stealing, grasshopper; just learn from Mr. Joyce’s example that you can say a lot with very little.

If you’ve fallen madly in love with Joyce’s work, you can buy some of his posters here.


Sidebar: Knowing the Law and Avoiding Fines

In recent years, many cities have begun cracking down on the posting of bills, calling them graffiti and handing out citations that are often accompanied by hefty fines. Many times it’s the venue that gets stuck with these fines, which will certainly ensure that your band never plays there again. Make sure you know what’s allowed and what isn’t before you go plastering every telephone pole in town. Here’s a well-articulated open letter on the subject from Cambridge, MA club The Middle East.