Having been in the Boston music scene for the better part of 15 years, I’ve seen more than my fair share of concert flyers. Few things can take my breath away like a crisp, well designed flyer that not only promotes an event, but is a work of art in it’s own right. Truly, artists like Frank Kozik, Jermaine Rogers and James Rheem Davis exhibit artistry that should have (and have) been included in some of the most prestigious galleries in the world! With that being said, it pains my heart to say that about 95% of the flyers I have seen in my life SUCK.
Believe me when I tell you I’ve seen it all, from flyers with just block text, to ones scribbled out on notebook paper and colored in with crayon. Do you really think so little of your band that you can’t take the time to make a decent flyer? You would think that with the advent of computers becoming a household item, and the ready availability of graphic design programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (Or Free Software alternatives The Gimp and Inkscape, if you don’t have the money to plunk down) that even the lowliest basement shows would have a passable flyer associated with them. This has not been the case, and in fact, quite the opposite has happened. If one were to be interested in the fundamentals of design, all they need do is look at the electronic flyers posted all over the comments section of myspace and understand that the exact opposite is pretty much in the ballpark of good design.
A well designed concert poster should have a certain fluidity of design: There is a limited amount of real estate to work with, and alot of information to get across: Day, time, venue (including the complete address), price, age limit and other bands playing… Whew! On top of that, there it should all be tied together with a complementary color scheme, and there should be enough space left over for an eye catching graphic. Now, I know that most of you aren’t graphic designers, but still, it’s not difficult to come up with something sharp looking, and even if you feel it’s a bit bland, remember that sometimes less is more, and simplicity is beautiful.
To sum up today’s lesson, please take more than 5 minutes to create a half decent flyer. Ask the bands on the bill for high resolution copies of their logos, or search them out on the web (Who doesn’t have a MySpace these days, at the very least?). If you truly believe you aren’t capable of creating something that isn’t completely hideous, do yourself a favor and find someone who can. Everyone knows someone who is an artist, or at the very least adept at using simple computer graphics applications. Worst case scenario hire someone to do it for you; trust me, it will be to your benefit in the end.
Speaking of which, now seems like a good time for some shameless self-promotion (stick with what you know, right people?):
If you would like a flyer designed I offer graphic design services for a flat rate of $50 for a full color (or B&W, your choice) 8.5×11 or 11×17 show flyer, delivered within 2 weeks of payment (or 1 week for an extra $25) in Web Ready JPEG and Print Ready PDF formats. I can also refer you to a high quality printer with a fast 24-48 hour turnaround, if necessary.
Get in touch with me through this site, or on the contact page and we can discuss your project. $50 for a high quality flyer is cheaper than you’ll find pretty much anywhere, and if it’s advertising a $10 show and the flyer attracts 5 additional people, then you’ve made a wise investment.
Either way, let’s raise the bar for what concert flyers should look like! As always, leave me any comments, positive or negative, and let me know what you think about these articles. Also, if you would like further information and examples of exemplary flyer design, check out this Smashing Magazine article, or any of these resources:
- The most definitive collection I’ve ever found!
- 125 Concert Posters (Pt 1 | Pt 2)
- Collection of exemplary designs
- Design Inspiration: Concert Posters
- A few examples, plus TONS of other links!
- Great for color pallet inspiration
One final word: Once you have a great looking flyer, USE IT! Plaster it everywhere, both in the real world and online. A promotional flyer is absolutely worthless if noone sees it. Trust me, if you can’t be bothered to even post a flyer at the venue you’re promoting a show for, you should probably be flipping burgers instead.