Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Show Poster Typography

A lot of designers today start out doing design in their younger years by making posters and CD case liners for their friends' bands. Frank Chimero, one of my favorite designers right now, says in his FAQ page on his website that he started out doing all kinds of design for friends that had bands, and that's how he fell in love with the work.

[Sidenote: Frank Chimero has some really nice typographic work, too! He designed a series called Inspirational Design Posters that have been passed all around the internet. However, he's not the focus of this post. Maybe some other time.]

Since I have a little bit of a background in printmaking and also made a lot of flyers in high school for my friends' shows, I find gig posters to be really interesting. This week I found this collection of gig posters that I can't stop looking at. I love how each poster has its own look and feel, but how they all have basic elements in common. Each poster has to have the same type of information and the same kind of hierarchy (name of band must be most important, date and time and venue must be clearly displayed, etc.) but they all work under different systems to get this information onto the page. Some are extremely illustrative and decorative with the typography (Les Savy Fav, The National, Calexico) and some are very traditional and clean (Broken Social Scene, Mates of State, The Decemberists) but they all have organization that makes them easily readable to get the information you really need from a show poster.

I think good design thinks first and foremost about readability and whether or not the information makes sense to a viewer, and then after the kinks in organization are worked out, that is when a designer can start thinking about really making something beautiful.

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