I understand your point perfectly. You think there are simply no original ideas left- that somebody somewhere has done it before, even though perhaps they did it badly. I just disagree with that cynical viewpoint.
First, how can that theory be proven? I say it can't, even by such an educated historian as yourself.
I'll give you a very simple example of how I think it can be proven otherwise: Let's say tomorrow a new product is invented. The following day, Factor 27 decides to print a poster for Modest Mouse on it (a real possibility). No one has done it before on that product because it doesn't date back to the 60's.
You can make a broader statement & say that well, people have had ideas to print on similar surfaces before, but that's being too general, I think.
To say that there are no original ideas left is a very pessimistic and uninspiring view. It may very well be true, I just don't think so. If every designer on this site were challenged to do something "original", I'll bet SOMEONE would eventually succeed. It wouldn't be someone who didn't believe it was possible though.
Art's right. It's like there are only so many chords in music. The trick is making the idea successful or re-inventing it. That's what I go for when I do this crazy shit. I know the Flaming Lips inside and out and what they are doing now relates (at least to me) very well to this concept. They are creating the gayest pop music of their career. Now some of the lyrical content is pretty heavy but the feel of the music and the stage show they put on now is much like a circus. There are balloons everywhere. Pink robots. It's all very "fun." So I made a kite with pink balloons to advertise their show. The band flipped out. Fans were bugging the Jesus outta me to give them some I had brought for the band. To me that makes this a successful poster both conceptually and in practice. It speaks to the music of the Flaming Lips.
I'm not a genius I just like using odd materials to express what has been a pretty ridged format for sometime. I'd love to see the other attempts people have made to break out of the 11x17 flyer. Whether it was 25 years ago or concurrently while I'm making this. Art's also right that very little of this is documented so it is knew to a lot of people. I've done two posters that I hand sewed elements on. I've never seen that. I bet it's been done though. Printed on tin foil glued to sheets of paper. Never seen it. Bet's it's been done. And it is all in context. If the concept is original in the reworking and execution of the design fits then it's successful. This would have been a lousy Black Sabbath poster but it's a great Flaming Lips poster.
perhaps, hynes & perkins, etc. - you don't quite understand my point. i'm not trying to discount anybody's efforts here. i mean, it may not be a genius idea and never seen before, but it's certainly new to you and new to this scene and maybe something that hasn't been done for decades. and i think that's great. more power to you - good on ya!
but, my point is that it really HAS all been done before - even on posters. even just in seattle. especially in new york advertising, eraly punks, paris and eastern europe and psychedlia and art posters. if you go to the trouble (and it's a LOT of trouble, because i've found that there really are NO good histories of this stuff out there - only a few bare overview type things) to study the history of this stuff in all it varied permutations through out history, you will find evey idea already done that you could possible come up with. honest. no joke. no exaggeration. so, don't go thinking you're inventing anything and that you're a genius. however, those same ideas may have been done BADLY in the past. you could be doing the VERY BEST VERSION EVER! it's all context.
a good gimmick is worth a thousand 'high concepts'. it's a motto i've lived by many times.
I disagree that it's ALL been done before, much less in Seattle. Granted, most of it has, but there are still some unused ideas out there. I don't know what they are yet, but like many of us, I'm working on it...
Art - I agree, I primarily design record sleeves and have done various non-traditional things with them over time (as you have too). Nothing new, or 100% original in terms of design thinking but when applied to a different format than it's usually applied to ie- changing the context, I think it becomes a kind of new again. Same for gig posters, which I see having lots of unexplored potential using tried design ideas from other areas. As you said, ITS ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE so the only option left really is to apply a preexisting idea to a vehicle that has not carried it before.
again, it's all context. if you happened to have lived in seattle for, oh say, 25 years, then you wouldn't feel the need to say that. in seattle there was literally a huge poster scene with different designers and artistsa nd poster makers trying to one-up each other with wild ideas again and again. it went on for about 25 years and is still happening (but with less creativity). basically, it was ALL done. but, they weren't GIGposters. they were theater posters, event posters, art show posters, everything (almost) except gigposters. it wasn't until much much later that gigposters made any impact with 'alternative' techniques. but by then it had all been done by others.
and if you study poster design and pop culture history, the precedents become even more pronounced. honest.
I think posters are probably the least explored avenue in terms of "alternative" design angles. I mean irregular thinking has been applied to record sleeves and packaging far more - It's kind of hard to break the ingrained peramaters of a poster being a sheet of paper, almost unexplored territory but the potential (while having being explored in other areas) is huge. Pop-up posters, folding etc. I'm going to do lemon juice info on poster, so it only shows up in sunlight. The ultimate non existent gigposter.
oh, it's ALL been done before. for instance jeff kleinsmith did one of those "packaging/header card" designs just like this for a 45 for a band called 'piper cub' that included a balsa wood airplane. no joke.
if you study this stuff long and hard enough, you'll find precedent for vitually every single thing on this site. it's all been done before.
I just picked up a Locust 7" set that each record is diecut as a puzzle and all four fit together to make a big square. Pretty hip indeed... EMEK did the twister one. I need to get my hands on that one...
My next poster is going to be an installation of a 8 ft square sheet of metal in the park downtown with water droplets spelling out the band info. When the sunlight hits it at a certain time of day, you'll be able to see what the cover charge is, as that will be painted onto the metal with a clear semi-gloss.
it's such a hoot to watch you guys go through the "exploration of what a poster can be" phase of your careers. i remember going through all that crazy stuff earlier on and, now that i'm old and tired, i can't be bothered with it anymore. but it's really a gas watching you guys go through it. you're coming up with some wild solutions.
i made a box kite and hand drew every metallica album cover on it up to master of puppets, then did the logo really big on one side. when we flew it for scilence class, the wind tyook off with it, the line snapoped and it flew away over montrose, towards downtown houston. i woinder who found it.
i would've gotten some funny looks taking this thing home with me the other night on the bus.
"This poster is pretty gay."
This is Fishers way of asking for a poster. Like a kid that punches a girl in kindergarten because he likes her.
Also have you heard the Lips lately?
So heres my kite story,
when I was about 10 years old we made kites in cubscouts, ("scouting" never really worked for me, mostly because our den mothers were always these stressed out moms who'd been signed up by their absent husbands and so we would spend alot of time fighting with brooms in basements instead of learning knots or anything) but one time our big project was to build these kite kits we'd bought at the grocery store. Mine was a skull and crossbones and I was SO into it making it, carefully gluing it all together and just staring at this ominous skull.. picturing it flying above town.. and so the big day comes and we drive up to the campus where we're dumped off onto a field (while our 'scoutmaster' smoked in the station wagon) and it was really really windy that day and a big storm was rolling in and so the moment I let go of the kite the wind just shredded it into tiny little bits, and when I looked around,everyone else was standing there stunned, holding these torn up pieces of kites. Then it started raining and our 'leader' started honking the horn so we got back in the car and were taken home in total silence. Each with a little pile of garbage in their lap.
Fuck scouting man.