A Showcase of Beautifully Designed Gig Posters

Designing a gig poster is one of the most creatively challenging types of commercial design. There is good reason for this. Posters advertising events have been around for as long as writing has been, but poster design really blossomed in the late nineteenth century when chromolithography allowed posters to be printed with vivid, full-colour images. The technology intrigued artists including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Jules Chéret, who came to be considered the father of advertising placards.

That fine art tradition was still going strong when gig posters became popular in the 1960s, and with the modern rise of indie bands as well as cheaper and easier printing techniques, designing gig posters has become even more prestigious.

That is not to say that designing the posters is easy. There are many elements that must be included and many competing themes and ideas that must be incorporated. The initial theme for the poster is usually the band’s attitude and the style of their music, and then the designer must incorporate the feel of the current show the band is putting on. The design must also take into consideration what will draw in the band’s current or potential fan base and, if applicable, the atmosphere of the particular venue or festival the show is happening in. Finally, it must seamlessly incorporate the time, date and location of the gig, as well as the names of the supporting acts, all without becoming overwhelming.

It can be little surprise, then, that designers will rise to the creative challenge with some spectacular results. Below are ten such beautifully designed gig posters. Interestingly, many of the examples mimic retro designs, harking back to the gig posters of the 1960s, perhaps in an effort to capture some of the original designs’ ability to become collectors’ items.

Top Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deneyterrio/4500555669/

Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/520919-YTG-1-1 [link no longer active; Feb 2013 update]

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nirazilla/3623076856/sizes/o/in/photostream/

Source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Elephant-Six-Orchestra-Gig-Poster/1055391

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shakedown/5035646271/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Source: http://ronlewhorn.bigcartel.com/product/cake-gig-poster

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockninecreative/4474459276/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathangodding/5497542536/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/micahtaylor/2868212392/sizes/o/in/photostream/

Source: http://www.mondriansladder.com/?cat=6&paged=2

Have you found any examples of beautifully designed gig posters that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.