Long Live the Gig Poster! (why concert posters still matter)

November 18, 2011{ 4 Comments }

Telephone poles in well-trodden areas of your city may no longer be the kaleidoscopic collage of ripped paper and rusty staples they once were, but the gig poster lives on, in both its traditional (the one you steal from the venue wall after the show) and digital (the one you put on Facebook) forms. And why shouldn’t they? They’re great for promotion, usually cheap to produce, fans love to collect ’em, and they’re easier than ever to make.

So though you may not feel the need to go out and canvas the community with posters for your next show, you should still have some physical posters available. Venues usually ask for something to put on their wall in the weeks preceding the show, and every record store I go to still has their windows covered with them. You’re probably going to do most of your direct-to-fan promotion online, so making an intriguing poster to pique the interest of people who aren’t familiar with you might be a great way to get your music into some new ears or, at least, to get your name out there.

Don’t feel like putting a bunch of work (and/or money) into making a poster for just one show? Get some high-quality posters made that feature your band name and/or your most recent album, and leave some strategically placed blank space near the bottom so you can apply your own gig info, sale price of your album, band signatures, etc. Then, you can also give them away – or sell them – at your merch table, and they won’t be limited to one night.

Not the most artistic person in the world? I reviewed an app called Phoster for the iPad/iPhone that is great for making gig/promo posters, and even lets you send the design to a printer so you can make a hard copy. Local artists might be willing to do some cheap/free work for you, in exchange for some credit on the poster. Or, maybe you’ve got a friend who enjoys flexing his Photoshop skills.

What’s your experience been with gig posters? Are you forgoing paper altogether in favor of online images?

Need posters made? We can help.

-Brad B. at CD Baby

  • Yes absolutely! There's something evocative about the concert poster that was always part of the experience for me as a kid. I always make a poster (If I have time) I learned how to use Illustrator
    to do it..I print a few out at Kinkos for my band 'Thee Shambels'. Obviously there's no need to mass produce and fly post anymore, it's easier to spend a budget on a few good, high quality posters. And you can sell a couple of signed ones at gigs (Not that I'm shifting those in truckloads!) but a busy merch table looks good for browsers.

    • Thee Shambels! Did you have a trademark dispute with "The Shambles"?

      • Neville

        no the dispute was with 'The Shambels' har har

  • Dylan M Nelson

    I love gig posters. I personally feel a big part of the bands image/how it presents itself lies in the posters they have, as in it tells you a lot about a band by the type of posters they have. Whenever I have free time, I'll open up Illustrator or Photoshop and muck about with new designs and what not. And like Neville said, if they're nice, you can always make a few bucks selling some of them, and they're nice to keep and put up on walls. This attached one was used for my band's show at our county fair.