A public poster series to spotlight overlooked music of the past

Listen Up!

With from a deep interest in the many talented and often forgotten artists of music’s analog era, I created a series of posters in 2018 that spot-lit some of my favorite retro musicians, particularly those whose work may have been overlooked, but nevertheless could be enjoyed by anyone lucky enough to come upon it. My goal was to create a cohesive series of attractive print to paste around the streets of DC that would:

 

  1. Engage passersby with distinct typography and photography

  2. Stand out by using an aesthetic uncommon to other or bills

  3. Succinctly inform on historical background and suggest tunes to listen

 

I wanted an aesthetic that would help engage the public and quickly key into a topic about which I am passionate. I used varied typography, rough shapes and strokes, uneven curves, off-white backgrounds, and pasted-looking photography to generate a frenetic, but homey and personable look evoking hand-painted signage and hand-cut construction paper.

Many of the bills and flyers posted around the streets of DC use extremely busy and shiny graphics to draw in eyes. To stand apart from those, I used high-contrast, but simple colors and just a few very strong focal points (e.g., large, choppy text and one photo, both standing out sharply from the background). In addition, the roughness and starkness of the type and photography, combined with off-kilter illustrations, lent a kinetic texture that would at a glance stand out more than the sparks and glows used in the postings around them.

 

To create a particular “brand” across these posters, I drew upon the visual language of materials such as: movie posters from Soviet-era Eastern Europe, Reid Miles’ jazz album covers, Andrew Savages’ visual art, Robbie Simon’s graphics for Allah-Las, and rough-cut 1950’s concert promo posters, among others. In addition, I included a series mark and maker’s mark on each poster.

Full Series

Aesthetic Reference

© 2022 Matt Muenzer