I have a slight obsession with music and art and am constantly searching for ways to entertain my passion for those outlets. The smell of printmaking ink makes me swoon and there is something about a limited edition gig poster that makes me immediately hand over all of my cash to the merch guy or gal. These gig posters are amazing works of art that are so beautifully handcrafted and possess a tactile quality that sometimes feels lost in our digital age.
Along with stating the key information for the event, gig posters need to convey the band’s persona and ultimately set the tone for the show. While looking back at many of the posters I’ve purchased throughout the years, I’m transported back to the particular show and the emotion I felt listening to that certain set – I believe that’s what a good gig poster is all about.
Here are ten excellent examples of gig posters that are a source of inspiration for me. Hope you enjoy!
1) Monsters Of Folk by DKNG Studios
This three color screen print, designed by DKNG Studios, is a shining example of what a good gig poster is all about in my opinion. The rich earth-tone color palette and playful illustration style really bring this poster to life.
2) Bright Eyes by Jay Vollmar
This brilliant poster designed by Jay Vollmer has a simplicity of style and balance of a well structured poster, with a little dash of intrigue. The contrast of the cyan and red colors make this a very striking piece.
3) Gomez by the Heads of State
This autobiographical gig poster designed by the crew at Heads of State features a hauntingly graceful composition. Their studio began as a mutual love for poster art over 10 years ago and they’ve created unique and impactful work ever since.
4) Iron and Wine by DKNG Studios
I’m lucky to be a proud owner of this three color screen print by DKNG Studios, a design studio founded by Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman. Dan and Nathan pitched the idea of the entire composition as an “overhead view of a record player, with the circular star-scape representing the record and the train representing the tone arm”. The details in this print are stunning up close.
5) Bon Iver by Jason Munn (The Small Stakes)
This 3 color silkscreen print, created by Jason Munn of The Small Stakes, says so much with so little. There’s beauty in the simplicity of the design and limited color palette.
6) Gotye by Doe-Eyed
Eric Nyffler of Doe Eyed, a design studio based in Lincoln, Nebraska designed this eye-catching four color print. Eric states, “We wanted to create an image that was clean, stark, and vintage, just like Gotye’s music. We constructed a landscape scene completely out of triangles, a reference to the triangles on his “Making Mirrors” album cover.” Well done, Eric!
7) The Tallest Man on Earth by Rich Kelly
This beautifully illustrated gig poster by Rich Kelly is a stand-out in my eyes. The undulating visual, intricate figures and seemingly hand drawn letterforms on the ship’s hull possess a personality that captivates.
8) The Kills by Aesthetic Apparatus
I’ve been obsessed with the work of Aesthetic Apparatus, the dynamic duo out of Minneapolis, MN, since I attended one of their gallery shows and talks at my college back in the day. They have a definitive style to their work and created this 3 color screen print with metallic ink for The Kills show at Granada Theatre.
9) Band Of Horses by Status Serigraph
Justin Helton of Status Serigraph used a blend of design, illustration, and typography for this entirely handprinted 2- color poster. “This one is based on the Sooty Tern, a bird that flies around the ocean for months and only comes to land to breed.”
10) Andrew Bird by Methane Studios
I’m a huge fan of Andrew Bird and I believe this poster captures what his music is all about. The multiple layers and textures of music played during one of his live shows are translated into the patterns of the striking and geometric bull figure. The color palette that Georgia-based Methane Studios created is perfection.