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How to design a band poster: by artist Luke Drozd

Words by Rob Chilton

The London-based creative spoke to EDGAR about how he creates art for gigs and bands

Luke Drozd describes his work as “handmade, eclectic and daft.” One area in which he has excelled is posters for concerts and music festivals, some of which he's pulled together to form a new book. He spoke to EDGAR about what makes a successful gig poster.

Poster for Blink 182 in 2019

The title of your book – Can You Make the Band Name Bigger? ­– is something I’m guessing you hear a lot from the PR department at record companies?

Not as much as the title would suggest, but yes, it has been known. It's definitely a title that has resonated with fellow designers.

What do you think is the primary objective of a gig poster? 

I think as a designer you want to make an image that intrigues people who don't know the band and makes them curious to go to the show, but one that also speaks to that band’s fans. You need to grab people’s attention and make them want to find out more.

Do you listen to the band’s music first to get ideas? 

My starting point for doing any gig poster work is to listen to the band and sketch down some rough ideas that I think visually suit their music. It's about trying to create a visual interpretation of that musician’s sound.

Poster for Bonnie Prince Billy in 2014

Do you have to like the band’s music to agree to design their poster?

Not at all, although I'm very fortunate that most the bands I work with are ones that I like.

If you don’t like the band’s music, do you turn down the commission?

Not usually, as I still enjoy the process of trying to capture that band’s music visually. Loving the music is more of a bonus.

Is it important to read interviews with the band or look at their album artwork before starting the poster?

I don't often read interviews, but I will sometimes go and look at album covers and other merch that they've commissioned to get an idea of their vibe. That said, sometimes I'll have an idea that I think works for a band that is a little off-kilter, and they are often the ones that work best.

Poster for the Breeders in 2018

What band would you love to design a poster for?

I'm not sure I've got much of a wish list anymore. Maybe Tom Waits. Fugazi if they ever played again. There's loads of amazing jazz coming out of London at the moment and I'd love to be able to work with some of them.

Your work stays pretty much within the alternative music scene. But would you like to design a poster for Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber for example?

Yeah, why not? I'm not much of a pop fan, but it's always fun to work on different genres and see what comes out.

Can You Make the Band Name Bigger? ­is out on April 1

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