Posters are an important part of promoting an upcoming show, and the content and style of said posters go a long way towards impacting their effectiveness as a promotional tool. Here we look at twelve helpful tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your design.
Guest Post by Chris Robley & Arielle Danos on The DIY Musician
Don’t just make a poster, make a statement
I’ve been a fan of design tools like Word Swag and Canva for a while now. I can’t say the results of what I make with those tools ever beats what my friends who are professional graphic designers would create, but when you’re trying to get a poster or web image made for zero dollars, and pronto, they’re fantastic solutions.
I heard about another design solution recently called PosterMyWall, and I thought I’d ask someone that has experience with the service for advice on getting the most out of it. Arielle Danos, who’s both the promoter for a band called The Southern EarthTones and a designer for PosterMyWall, offered some great design tips that apply no matter how you’re creating your poster.
Check out her advice below.
1. Choose a template that matches the style of your band.
Example: If your style is R&B, make it clean and smooth. Add smooth lines and cool silhouettes of people; maybe the moon and stars to help your ad describe the gig’s atmosphere so that consumers who are likely to be your true audience will be interested. Alternately, a punk rock band would use choppy, chicken-scratch word type, graffiti, and an overall, grungy look.
2. Consider using a black background.
Although bright colors get attention, most of the flyers that I have used for my band have a predominantly black background. A black background is sleek, clean, and always professional looking, in music especially. DJ & Bar Flyers are the same. Think about what most bands set up behind them for a live show. A black backdrop. Same concept. Add bright lights and big flashy wording to take the audience’s mind into stage/show mode just from looking at an ad before they even attend the event. They are more likely to follow through in attendance.
3. Image selection and treatment will make or break your poster.
Templates with single images are less cluttered. Go for either one large image that commands attention by dominating the poster or one small image surrounded by lots of white space that makes readers curious. PosterMyWall lets you upload your own image so you can personalize any template.
Take advantage of PosterMyWall’s different photo image effects to make your band photo really interesting. With scratched edge effects, tints, torn paper, black & white, invert filters and sepia effects, you can make the entire poster look ten times more professional in a matter of one click.
Vintage flyers and ads are very popular, the circa 1950’s – 1970’s look with either plain vintage parchment or bright colored or color-faded background, big bold boxy words and only 1-3 simple band line-up photos. Add your band’s photo with a yellow color tint or antique effect to make it look as old as your grandmother’s birth certificate.
4. Don’t forget the important details like date, time, place, entrance fee.
BUT don’t make the cover charge or entrance fee so noticeable that it overwhelms the design. Put it a little smaller and more toward the bottom of the flyer, as the viewer will normally look from top to bottom. A high priced, very noticeable cover charge may throw people off right away. I’ve witnessed this happen.
5. Include social media info.
Always make sure to put any sites or social networks you are linked to on the poster, adding that social network’s icon helps bring the viewers attention to your page; more views=more likes=bigger crowds=more exposure=closer to success.
6. Include an incentive for each show ad.
Think of something that goes beyond the pre-sale ticket discount, like a free drawing to win an autographed item, a drink tab, food discount, anything that helps show the connection between the band and the establishment/venue/event helps to connect the audience to both the event or place and the band as well. Which means they are more likely to tell their friends, like your page, and return to that particular place.
7. Create good will for your band by giving back.
If you’re into helping charities or doing benefits, it’s a great way to advertise your show for more positive feedback. You donate anyways, so why not involve your band as a supporter of certain foundations. Example: a drawing for a breast cancer gift basket during the breast cancer awareness month of October. Be sure to highlight your cause on your event poster.
8. ALWAYS USE HOLIDAYS as an added attraction.
People love a good gimmick. So if it’s Halloween, dress up, and advertise a costume contest. Same with any other holiday. It gives them all the more reason to go to the event. And make your poster just as festive!
9. Resize your poster design for sharing via social media.
It takes just one click with PosterMyWall. Select from the “Re-size Design” dropdown menu to create a FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, Google+, Etsy or LinkedIn post.
10. Post the poster on FB, Twitter, Instagram,and any other social media platforms your band uses.
Post it on your FB page and make a FB event page. Remember to always make the event page a public event. It helps anyone who searches for you to easily know who you are and when your next show is scheduled. Do it at least one week ahead of time, and get every band member, family member, and friend to invite everyone they have in their list. It is a little tedious but well worth it.
11. Increase exposure by getting the venue to post the image on their social media accounts.
THIS IS A MUST. Venues absolutely need to know that they have to promote the show as well and may need a little reminding to do it. Don’t be shy. I have had lots of times that an establishment just simply forgot about spreading the news or the info on their books was wrong – mistakes I was able to correct by checking in with the venue.
Also, brainstorm with the venue for ad ideas that appeal to them. One thing I did was making up a drink (mixed or virgin) named after the band, and listed it on the poster at a discount price. This helps fans remember your name and the fact that “you” helped to get them a drink deal.
12. Don’t forget the press.
Most local papers and local TV and radio stations run an “Arts and Entertainment” section or a “Things to do” calendar. They usually also have a FB page. Reach out to them to ask how your FB post (and poster) can be shared with their audience. PosterMyWall posters look great on these sights – they really stand out and are a great way to advertise your event.
Chris Robley… is the Editor of CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog. I write Beatlesque indie-pop songsthat’ve been praised by No Depression, KCRW, The LA Times, & others. My poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, The Poetry Review, & more. I live in Maine and like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a little too much.