Your band sounds good. You've got your live show down. You have three boxes full of provocative merch. Now you just have to get people to come see you. Trying to score some radio airtime is a good idea. So's getting your nicely assembled press kit to the newspapers. But both are a shot in the dark — dependent on the whims of opinionated program directors and music critics.
Your show poster, then, is paramount. Combined with good social networking (getting friends, friends of friends and other bands to come see you), a good show poster can be one of the most effective ways to get butts in seats.
If you're going on tour, design a poster with a blank field that can be filled in with the appropriate information (date, time, venue, etc.) at each stop. Send them ahead to the venue and to friends in that city, to get them posted in advance.
And don't skimp on the design. Spend the time and money to make something that looks good, catches the eye and makes people want to come see you even if they've never heard of you.
That's not always easy to do. But we've asked two of our favorite local designers — Karli Fairbanks and Matt Bogue — to illustrate their approach to poster design, in the hopes that they'll inspire you to never burden our city with a crap poster ever again.
"When I look at posters in windows or on the street, the ones that catch my eye are the ones that have unique typography. That's a fancy way of saying I like how the designer developed the letters and laid them out on the page. Imagery, readability from a distance, overall composition and color choice are important as well. All those aspects together create a swell poster design. Sometimes I let the theme of the event dictate how I will design the poster and sometimes I just do whatever I want."
"I usually use bold interacting imagery and two or three complementing colors, [making] it simple yet imaginative and sleek. I try and relate the design to the bands playing the show, and the style of music. The poster has to sell the show because a lot of the time, if no one has heard of the bands playing — and if they are looking at a fun, colorful and interesting poster — then chances are good they will go. I think a professional color poster stands out, especially when a lot of show posters are just thrown together in black and white."
As far as where you should put your posters, in general, just look around. Anyplace that already has a lot of posters is a good place to put yours (as long as you find a way to distinguish yours from theirs). Pay special attention to: music venues (duh), dive bars, book stores, light poles, record stores and guitar shops. In Spokane, specifically, post at any of the venues in our venues listing, then try these places:
Guitar Center 5628 N. Division St.
Unified Groove Merchants 2607 N. Monroe St.
4,000 Holes 1610 N. Monroe St.
Boo Radley's 232 N. Howard St.
Dutch's 415 W. Main Ave.
The Satellite Diner & Lounge 425 W. Sprague
Slick Rock Burritos 827 W. First Ave.
Elk Public House 1931 W. Pacific Ave.
River Park Square 777 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.