Lets talk for a second about Queens of the Stone Age. Musicians like to present their fans with a full range of experience, (and therefore merch). The band has a sound, the members have a look, and their merch is always carefully designed to a tee whether its clothes, stickers, album art, or my favorite, gig posters. I am not much into Queens of the Stone Age so I never realized this but they are the kind of band that really appreciates art. If you check out their page on gigposters.com they show 23 pages of beautiful poster art for tours and individual shows. If you’ve never heard at least one song by them, they’re a good old fashioned rock band with a fair amount of head-banging etc, and they’ve been around a pretty long time. I think you can see these things in their gig posters; they’ve got a classic aesthetic that is often vibrantly colorful with arresting subject matter. Lots of sex, violence, surreal monsters, and cars: all of these things scream rock ‘n’ roll to me. Its a good example of knowing what your audience is going to notice and want to look at. It is an entirely different aesthetic from, say Andrew Bird.
Andrew Bird leans more towards the folk/indie end of the rock spectrum. I’ve liked his music since high school so it doesn’t surprise me that his gig posters are also extensive and beautiful, although in a completely different way from QOTSA. Each of both bands’ posters are made by different designers around the world, and yet Andrew Bird’s utilize a more muted and mellow color palette; they also go in an entirely different direction with the subject matter even though both bands’ posters heavily feature the surreal.
It may seem like a no-brainer to reflect the aesthetic of the band in their posters, but sometimes its hard to separate that out from simply trying to create something anyone will notice. It can also be hard to find a balance that’ll work with several genres of music’s fans, since its so rare that a band will play without any supporting acts. And then there are the huge festivals with 3 billion bands, where Andrew Bird and Queens of the Stone Age could both be headlining and need equal representation on the poster. How do you pick which aesthetic will color the entire festival? Juggling all of these factors to create an exciting and above all effective poster is the heart of design, and good advertising.