Warm Needles Tour Poster Layout

Warm Needles Poster
Andy texted and said, “If you were to make a Warm Needles tour poster how would it look?” I replied, “Better than if you made it.” And that’s how I got roped into making the Warm Needles East Coast Tour April 2014 poster.

I recently finished up this tour poster for my buddies’ band Warm Needles. Below are some thoughts on the process and application of the design I came up with.

Design for the medium

Before sitting down to design the poster I thought about all the different places the image would wind up and how it would or would not work in each. I was designing it primarily to be printed but had to be cognizant that it would wind up in a bunch different contexts on the web.

Meatspace applications

  • Tour Poster
    • Either silkscreened or short-run digital print
    • Used for promotion or as limited/numbered print for sale at shows
    • Needs the dates for the entire tour
  • Show Poster
    • Either silkscreened or short-run digital print
    • Needs a spot for show specific info
      • Ability for local promotors to manipulate and print poster
      • Ability for local promotors to write in info on printed poster

Web applications

  • Facebook Event pages
    • Just about every show on this tour had event page on Facebook
  • Instagram photo
    • Would need to be square
  • Twitter, Bandsintown, Web Forums, etc.
    • Scaled images would need to be legible

Once I had all that stuff sussed out I designed the 11″ x 17″ tour poster first. While putting it together I kept in mind that I’d need a version that worked without the dates and a version that could be made to work well as a square. I also made sure that any type was big enough to be read easily at common sizes on the screen.

Idiot Proof Deliverables

I knew this project would be out of my hands once I delivered the digital files to Andy. Now, I’m not saying he’s an idiot (I’m also not not saying he’s and idiot either) but once out in the wild any number of promotors, bands, printers, printmakers, etc. could be handling the files. I wanted to set them up in a way that minimized any ambiguity or unintended consequences.

Here’s a run down of what I supplied:

  • PDF file for the tour poster
    • Included all the tour dates.
    • An 11″ x 17″ PDF file with images set to 300DPI CMYK and all the type outlined.
    • Clearly labeled as “For Print”
    • I purposely created a design that didn’t require bleeds to minimize confusion.
  • PDF file for the show poster
    • Included space for show information.
    • An 11″ x 17″ PDF file with images set to 300DPI CMYK and all the type outlined.
    • Clearly labeled as “For Print”
    • I purposely created a design that didn’t require bleeds to minimize confusion.
  • Web versions of each poster
    • Included for Facebook, Twitter, etc.
    • A 792 × 1224 pixel RGB JPG
  • Square versions of each poster
    • Intended for Instagram.
    • A 2376 × 2376 pixel RGB JPG
  • Facebook Header
    • A 851 × 315 pixel RGB JPG set to Facebooks specs.

I also included the files for the typeface I used which was the awesome League Gothic Italic (more on this below). This way it’d be easy for any of the local promotors to drop in information to print or post. You can check out one such image here.

Promoting the shows

The whole point of doing all this shit is to propagate the images and get ’em in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The more eyeballs, the more people at the shows. Here’s how the band implemented getting these images around:

  • Andy did a short digital run of the show posters and snail-mailed a grip of ’em to each of the promotors.
  • The band used the header image to create and event page for the tour
  • The square tour image was used around twitter, facebook, instagram, etc.
  • An e-mail went out to all the show promoters that included all the deliverables to implement as they saw fit.
  • E-mails with images were sent out to press (web news sites, alternatively weeklies along the tour route, etc.)

A note about Creative Commons and Public Domain

I have no natural drawing ability and only limited photography skills. As a result I’ve always relied on reworking, reusing, and remixing photos and typefaces to make stuff like this. In the early days I’d photocopy images from newspapers or library books with no thought to copyright or any of that stuff.

Nowadays it’s so easy to use find really great stuff that’s in the public domain or licensed to share with Creative Commons or other open licenses. So that’s what I usually do.  Here’s what I used this time around:

"Pam"

The background picture is from the National Archives UK. It’s a public domain picture on Flickr.

I used League Gothic Italic  for all the text which is licensed with the Open Font License by The League of Movable Type.

League Gothic Italic graphic from The League of Movable Type
League Gothic Italic graphic from The League of Movable Type