Gig Posters are unique collectibles that are handmade from artists around the world. I created my own series of gig posters for a band called Soccer Mommy and shared my process with other designers. I focused on four different techniques, stenciling, xeroxing, manual mark making, and screen printing. I created a number of posters for each technique while limiting myself to cost and focusing on form, color, and type treatment.
My inspiration for this project came from my love for music and design. I love working with different mediums and working with my hands. My goal for this project is to communicate to the audience that you can make a successful poster with limited materials. You should care about my project because gig posters are a way to make art accessible to a wide range of people. Not everyone can afford to purchase paintings to hang on their walls, but gig posters provide a way to get custom, handmade art for reasonable prices. Gig posters also give fans a way to connect with the music they love beyond just owning an album or attending a concert. It’s a physical piece of work that the person can have to remember a happy moment in their lives.
Soccer mommy is a four-piece band from Nashville, TN. The main girl, Sophie Allison, started off by herself just recording in her own bedroom on her own four track recorder, putting out albums on bandcamp for people to listen to. The themes that she sings a lot about are lost, heartache, home, anxiety, and love. Allison has said that her music is influenced by pop music and she strives to include catchy elements in her songs. After I researched the band I would constantly be listening to her music and started to create little thumb nail sketches that I felt represented what she was singing.
The process can be very simple, it involves rubbing inks, paint or spray paint through a mask to produce an image. Stenciling was used before screen-printing and was invented as a means for mass-producing books. It is used to show quick decision making and DIY quality. I thought it would be the easiest method but I quickly learned that cutting out every single stencil was a little time consuming. However, producing each poster was a quick process because I would try place down the stencil, mask an area, place down another stencil, spray paint and move on. I took cardstock paper and began to sketch out images and cut out what needed to be a stencil. I produced as many posters as I could with this technique and moved on when I felt it was achieved.
Xerox machines were originally used in design and marketing because of their ability to do super cheap reproductions of anything. This look started to became a desirable design technique to show DIY low rent aesthetic. This look was often used by the punk community because of its low cost and visual aesthetic. The execution for xeroxing was a little different. At first I started off with imagery I found that I felt would represent her music but then realized that taking imagery that I already made from stenciling was a lot easier to work with. I would Xerox an image anywhere between 1 and 10 times until I achieved a look that I thought was interesting. I would then tear up the paper and Xerox it again to give it a different effect. This was by far the fastest and cheapest method because it was I already had the materials and I was able to place it down scan it and move on.
Manual Mark Making
This method refers to the tools commonly found in the art world. These items could include pens, pencils, charcoal, watercolor, markers, or anything else one might have laying around. The images you create can then be scanned and manipulated in Photoshop to fit your needs. For this technique I knew I wanted it to be more illustration based compared to the other techniques I had already tried. I found that this technique was the most challenging because I had to really reflect on the music and create illustrations that accurately represented Soccer Mommy's music. I worked mostly with markers, charcoal, and ink and created as many posters I could. I would then scan each drawing into Photoshop and manipulate them to fit my needs.
This is similar to the stencil method. Screen printing includes a nylon screen used to transfer ink. The image is transferred onto a clear film that is then used in combination with intense UV light that transfers the image onto the mesh screen. Ink is then pressed through the screen and onto the paper or cloth. Its by far the most common method because of its DIY nature. For this last technique I already had my final imagery so I started to figure out the layering of my posters and what I wanted to be screen printed, stenciled, and Epson printed. Once I figured out my first poster I realized that the other two kind of followed the same pattern. I would start with a base move on to the print part and then screen print on top of all of that.
Each poster has a different layering method. I started off with the first layer which was stenciling. I stenciled a pattern on the background of each poster that reflected the main imagery. On top of that was the epson print which in some cases included the xeroxing and the manual mark making. The final layer on all poster was the screen printing.
I think my project was successful in the way of combining the four different techniques with limited materials. My most expensive part of this project was the colored paper and screen printing because I had to buy my screens and inks and paper but again if you are doing this under a budget, white paper is just fine or you can buy cheap colored paper from Hobby Lobby or Michaels. The most challenging part of this project was figuring out the different layers to make up each poster; such as the spray paint layer, Epson print layer and the screen printing layer. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around which layer needed to be first and which one needed to be last. Another challenge was the colored paper. I have never worked with color paper, so figuring out which colors would work on a specific color of paper took a little time. I think the most challenging poster was the jar because the paper was dark which made it difficult to find colors that would still be visible when laid on top of it. What I would do differently is to maybe give myself more time to work out the kinks of each poster. The jar and the clothing line were the two images that I kept with from the beginning. I strayed away from the clothing line for a little but eventually came back to it. I wish I would have stuck with my main imagery and done more explorations of each technique with them. My personal strengths while working on this project was that I could take meanings in her songs and reflect them into three posters. Overall, I do think this was successful. I enjoyed working with all the different elements and feel like I created a series that reflects Soccer Mommy.
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