How To Design A Band Poster

So you’ve booked a gig at a venue you’ve been trying to crack, score, now your mom will have something to do next weekend. If you’d like to attract more than just your standard crew of friends, family members, and co-workers then you are going to need to market your gig, and it all starts with a bad-ass band poster. Designing a band poster is easy if you know what you are doing… let me show you how!

This post is directed at readers with a certain level of comfort with standard design programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator (both of which come with a free 30-day trial). If you are super green you may want to check out PSD Tuts for design tutorials.

1. Let’s Get Started

All design projects start with a beautiful white canvas. It can be intimidating and exciting all at once, like the moment before walking on stage to a crowd of screaming fans. Slowly collect your thoughts and envision what you would like to create.

You will want to idenfy a few basic elements such as:

  • Colour Palette
  • Imagery
  • Content

band poster blank sheet

2. The Background

Once you have visualized your poster, identified your colour palette and main imagery you can begin the design process. Typically it is best to start with the bottom layer and work your way up, just like building a house. Once you have a solid foundation laid, the rest of the design will come together much more smoothly.

The first thing we will need is some great photos. There is an excellent royalty free image website, it contains thousands of stock images that can be used for free, unlike istock and veer which charge between $3 – $50 per photo.

SXC has this great shot of a bamboo curtain which is used as the main background image. You’ll notice that the image has a weird splotchy texture to it, that’s no accident. After downloading the image, and opening it in Photoshop a filter known as Artistic Cutout was applied to it. The filter turns the full colour image into one with a specified amount of colours sets.

band poster bamboo

3. Creating A Content Area For Your Band Poster

The texture used in step two was great for creating an attractive background but a few more layers are needed. A grungy piece of paper works quite well, and when combined with the same Photoshop effect used in step #1 you are able to create a consistent look and feel.

band poster with paper

4. Modifying the Poster’s Colour

Step 4 is very subtle but extremely important to the overall look and feel of the poster. The foreground colour has been set to orange and a Photoshop “blending mode” has been applied to the two lower layers. The blending mode is called Overlay. Overlay basically ensures that the entire image ends up with a consistent colour tone.

designing a band poster

5. Adding Another Layer For The Content

You will want to create another final layer for your content. This is an important step as it adds some cool design features but also creates a nice contrast between the background and the content we will be adding in the following step.

designing a band poster

6. Adding Graphic Elements To The Band Poster

In this step you can start adding some of the fine detail. For this poster the Tiki Man (Zharu the Volcano God!) was added as this was a themed gig. Illustrations like the Tiki man can be purchased for very little cash from Istock, Fotolia, Veer and a number of other stock photography websites for between $10 – $20.

designing a band poster

7. Inserting The Typography

Next tackle the typography. The poster is really starting to come to life but we aren’t finished yet, adding typography is the most important part of designing a great band poster. Like stock photography websites there are also stock font websites. The most popular is probably dafont, it has a large collection of fonts, all of which can be downloaded for free.

Once you’ve found a font that you are happy with apply it to your poster. Make sure that the band’s names are large and in charge! In most cases you will want to stay way from swirly calligraphy fonts and fonts that are really grungy. Typically you will have between 1-3 seconds to “sell” a person on your gig, so make sure your poster is easy to read!

designing a band poster

8. Adding The Important Info

You are getting really close now. In this step add the supporting content. You can usually get away with making this content smaller.

Once the supporting content is in place add the sponsors logos. They usually don’t look so hot so tuck them into the bottom corner.

designing a band poster

9. The Final Touches

Well this is the last step, adding the final touches. A great artist once said, a painting isn’t finished until you cannot add or subtract anything from it. The addition of a few trees behind Zharu puts the cherry on the sundae. Voila! band poster excellence.

designing a band poster