Okay people,as concept has been one of the main topics of discussion of late,I thought I'd try and put across my point of view on the message boards instead of in the poster comments. Please don't think i'm setting out to contradict you design guys,this is open for discussion,just here me out k?
frank zappa once said something along the lines of
"i only make the music i wanna hear,and if people wanna listen then thats fine".
I could identify with that statement in that my approach to making posters is similar to his approach to music.who are we to question WHY he made the music he did?there could be a million reasons if you think hard enough but whats the point,trying to think up a million reasons is just anal (i exagerate with my numbers, of course ) Zappa obviously thought his music was good and chances are,other people would feel the same,myself included.theres no reason why i like zappa's music,i just do,and its certainly not because its supposedly deep, meaningful and conceptual. i'm occasionally being misunderstood in my posts about concept in design.every artist here is a visualist,they have imagination,we humans can imagine ANYTHING,why?cause we're an evolved species,simple as that;concepts aren't physical,they are open to conjecture and essentially,they don't matter. every artist knows when his work is good or bad,other people can say what they want about it but the reality is,as long as the artist is happy with it,then he's done his job. When i do a poster,the ONLY thing that matters is that it looks cool to me when its finished.i'm not looking for hidden meanings,sometimes i use band imagery from album sleeves or whatever,but thats as deep as it goes.what i'm looking for is things that fit together as a physical image,things that harmonise with everything else.i often use old photo's of people as a basis and the only requirement is that they fit in with everything else,the shape or position of the person,for example;the same goes for the everything else! I could find a photo in one book and use that,a different day i could find a different photo in a different book and use that instead,maybe its fate more than concept? I remember my old art teacher telling me about this artist who was well known for painting parallel lines,straight lines wavy lines etc. Anyway,this artist was touring an exhibition and during this tour they were interviewed on tv by some art critic; the interviewer pointed out to the artist that some of the newer paintings had thicker lines on them than all the others,and questioned the artist's intentions and motivations and wether this was a new phase in their artistic vision blah blah blah. "well actually" the artist replied "they didn't have any of the usual sized brushes in the town i did those paintings so i used what they had instead!" and please,no one try and start a discussion on why they use a certain size of brush on other occasions,thats not cencorship,its a plea for sanity!over to you.
Okay, you can't start of making an analogy to poster art as music because it's not. Zappa has no one to answer to but himself which is why he can make whatever the fuck he wants and everyone else can suck it. Posters HAVE TO answer to somebody in the end so they can't be totally free to express whatever the hell they want.
I think "concept" is the wrong word to be using here. For me the word is simply just "appropriate." Here's the most extreme example I can make:
Say I made this poster: http://www.gigposters.com/posters.php?poster=5390
I'm not going to argue whether it's a cool poster or not, many think it is so let's just consider it a cool Strokes poster for the sake of this arguement. But imagine that it's not a Strokes poster, it's an Indigo Girls poster.
Is it still cool? Does it still work? By the arguement that it only needs to be cool this would be a GREAT Indigo Girls poster also because it doesn't matter who it's for. But we all know that's not true. And it's not true because it's not APPROPRIATE for them. That's what's important. Fuck concept, is it right for the band?
PS - Please don't start confusing my words and making this post about this poster because it's not.
I'm with Sausages here mostly cause Harry refuses to use paragraphs and hurts my eyes (HA! Just more ribbin' Har'...).
Are we keeping this discussion to just gigposters or design in general? I'd like to keep it within the realm of gigposters 'cause that's what we all do here.
If that's the case--a gig poster is defined by who or what it serves. It must be for a band, promotor or club (right? Am I leaving someone out?) If it isn't for any of these things it isn't a gigposter. If it's for "yourself" it's wanking.
Okay, that said...
I have a music parallel of my own here: I enjoy gigposters the same way I enjoy music. I listen on several different levels. A bit of this is 'cause I played music and bit of it is my personality. Check this out: I can enjoy a song for it's beat and whether it hits me below the belt (whether it "rocks"). But then I also listen to basslines, lyrics, guitar licks (ooh, hate that word) and the like. I look for how the mood is set and appreciate it even more if that was the artist's intention. I can't really help it. That's how I listen to music--and how I can appreciate what I perceive the artist is saying.
Same thing with posters. I appreciate it on a gut level: how it looks, if it is "cool" but then I also look for signs of thinking or more subtle levels. Again, this is what makes posters enjoyable to me. I'm not like some kind of inspector or art critic looking for meaning where there is none. I look and if I find it and it speaks to me that way, fine. If there isn't anything other than a cool image--well, maybe I'll like it and leave it at that. But if I perceive thinking behind it all--well that makes it an even nicer experience.
"concepts aren't physical,they are open to conjecture and essentially,they don't matter."
.....money having a phsyical value is also just a concept, but one we buy into...After all, they're just slips of paper, who says what they're worth? Just cos it has some numbers printed on it? That's a pretty heavy concept. I know I'll get slagged for pushing this too far and out of context or whatever, but I'm making a point. Concepts matter. But if you think they don't, could I write $50.00 on some post-it notes here at work and mail them to you for some posters?
It's just some paper with numbers on it, but I swear it has value.
"every artist knows when his work is good or bad,other people can say what they want about it but the reality is,as long as the artist is happy with it,then he's done his job."
......I can't agree with this in the least Harry. Just as long as the artist is happy it's okay? What if it's illegible? Or totally offensive to the bands/promoter? Or repels people from the show instead of drawing them to it? But hey, the artist is happy with it, thinks it looks cool, but it's not appropriate. And like John said, this aint' music, it's making something that has specific parameters of what it must do... so self-satisfaction (jerking off) aint' gonna work here. You gotta satisfy certain other needs of other people (mainly the promoter/band/client).
I almost always try to make stuff that I like how it looks...I'm not saying I dont'. But for me, I want it to be appropriate first, it needs an idea/concept behind it that will make it fit the event. Like my eyehategod poster...it looks great, sure, whatever...(well personally I think it's really weak, but that's another point) ...but it has some relevance to the name of the bands...it's dark/forboding/nihilist/whatever ...so it works. But wait...the happy town sunshine jug band is coming to town and I have this cool idea for a dude on a black background who just shot himself with an arrow and is loading up another for someone else! awesome I'll use that!
Concepts and appropriateness matter. If it looks "cool"... that's just cake.
Okay,mr sausages kinda proves my point,taking the strokes poster as an example,you say it WOULD make a great indigo girls poster,and that basically this image would make a good strokes AND indigo girls poster,thats what you seem to be saying here.
(okay gooch,i'll start using paragraphs!)
i'm not saying that any old image,as long as it looks cool is appropriate for every band,thats completely obvious,no artist is gonna use the image in the strokes poster for a cliff richard poster,it just wouldn't happen and i'm insulted thats what you think i'm saying.
Gooch,you mention that you listen to music and look at posters with a similar appreciation,i do too,so therefore,i'm not talking bollocks when i make an analogy about frank zappa,and by the way john,i was only using him as an example.frank zappa was signed because he does good music,poster artists are employed because they do good posters and they have their own,unique style,why would any employer want jermaine to do a poster in the style of arminski,for instance,they'd get arminski instead.
i also don't think that doing something for yourself is wanking,do you think mr chantry does what he's told?!besides,how do people know that you HAVE done the work for yourself? yea,of course you have to do things that are suitable to the band but that shouldn't restrict you once you've isolated what ISN'T suitable,thats what hacks do.
gooch,i completely understand where you're coming from,my appreciation of music and posters is very deep,and before you all jump around as say "aha he's finally admitted it!" i'll just say this,my appreciation of music,posters,films,books,tv,whatever,doesn't make ANY DIFFERENCE to how good or bad they are whatsoever.i hear what u guys are saying about concept,appreciation,thought etc etc but what I'M saying is,that whatever the artists intentions were,it doesn't change the reality of what the art may be,u do that urself but at the end of the day,there are billions of us,billions of opinions,whos to say whats right or wrong?the whole thing is a futile exercise.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Harry Irene on 2002-04-03 11:25 ]</font>
okay lure,i think i'm beginning to see whats going on here,u folks think i'm talking about gigposters as advertising tools,yep,of course,but why can't they be a piece of art aswell,what do you think mucha was doing?he advertised products but his posters are beautiful works of art too.by the way,mucha was employed cause he was good at what he did and how many of his posters are that deep in meaning? i guess we just come from different backgrounds.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Harry Irene on 2002-04-03 11:31 ]</font>
I agree on the need for the poster to be appropriate. I get agrivated by posters that just don't seem to fit the bands. It's even worse when I don't know anything about the bands and the poster gives me no clues to what style music they are or if I would even like the band. I try my best to make my posters/flyers give the world some idea of what to expect if they go to the gig. Thats part of my job. I also do my best to make it look 'cool' to me.
I truely belive that these posters really do need to ADVERTISE the show first and foremost. It's really not hard to cover all of the bases. Make the info big enough to read and put appropriate images (illustrated or found) in the design to make it interesting. I don't want to have to search or strain to find the important info. I don't thinks it's clever to make the important text hard to read or find.
There are a million creative ways to achieve the goals of making a good solid poster that does it's job of advertising the gig.
Uh... I hope that comes off how I wanted it to? I can't tell. I'm not trying to sound like I got any or all of the answers.
-Actually Harry, if you go back and read my post you will see that I'm saying that it would be a BAD Indigo Girls poster. Read this part especially:
"By the arguement that it only needs to be cool this would be a GREAT Indigo Girls poster also because it doesn't matter who it's for. But we all know that's not true."
-"…poster artists are employed because they do good posters"
Okay, what's a good poster? (Please don't answer that question. It's sarcastic/rhetorical.)
-It's not about doing what you're told, it's about doing what is SMART and RIGHT and APPROPRIATE (that's appropriate, not appreciate.)
-Do you really actually believe that that Strokes poster would make a good Indigo Girls poster? That's all I want to know.