This Week's Challenge: Never Tear Us Apart

There is a specific style that accompanies music poster design: sleek Illustrator art touched up with a bit of grit, merged with hand-drawn type that precisely fits into well-defined shapes. Then, when the posters are screen-printed, the designer gets inventive regarding what order the inks hit the paper to create unique interactions between colors. Stick twenty of those creations up at local record stores, give a few to the band, and put the rest online for your fans to buy at $20.99 (plus shipping and handling).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this style of poster design, and especially the work of the Small Stakes and Patent Pending Industries. But I also like to see how designers can think outside the trappings of this most artistic medium.

So, for the following music poster challenge, let’s see how you can tear things up. Literally.

In 60 minutes, create a poster for a rock concert soon to hit your neighborhood. Instead of planning and executing your design via sketch or in the computer, make the poster completely out of torn things: pieces of paper, solid objects, found elements, and collage.

Once you’ve solidified your layout, photograph or scan the resulting poster, bring it into a photo-editing program, and begin to play with how it will be reproduced to advertise the upcoming gig.

Shown above: “Twistie Ties make nice type!” Designer Jarred Elrod created this poster for a compelling Tennessee-based band called Tenderhooks.

After mocking up the design as a collage with various torn elements assembled from elements he’d stored up in his home, he scanned the appropriate graphic elements into his computer piece by piece and converted it into printable four-color art.

Every week, I’ll be sharing with the design community a creative challenge, alongside sample solutions from working designers and students. The above challenge is from my forthcoming book for HOW Design Press, Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills.

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