The Do’s and Dont’s of Making a Digital Poster

With my latest guest on Music Theory Philosophy being the incredible Ciara Cisneros, I thought it fitting to write on an essential part of every show, the poster. 

ET really racked up the phone bill by using a landline. Whoops.

Have you seen the movie neighbors? If not, skip this paragraph. There’s a scene where Zac Efron (so handsome) says, “Who makes flyers? Old people. Did I bomb that set up for that movie scene? Yes. Am I okay with that, though? Absolutely. Why? Because confidence, that’s why. You don’t need to print out a poster anymore, but you must create a digital flyer for your event. It is categorically imperative. 

No, sorry! I was talking to that dude pantomiming drinking a beer in the background, go about your business being cartoonishly handsome.

It can be a lot of fun to make these posters! It can also be easy to mess it up. There are a few sins we need to be careful not to commit.

  • It’s hard to read the text – Consider this to be on the same level as murder. It’s the number one sin, (or not being politically correct, if you were reading this back in 2018). Let’s look at this mistake I had a little while back 
The Next Band was so good before they sold out.

It’s hard to read the text, right? Isn’t that the point of making the poster in the first place? Sure we want it to be artistic, but we also want to inform our audience where and when the show is! It’s basic, and it’s the biggest mistake we can make. Make sure you can read the damn poster! Which brings me to my next point. – Also, I didn’t list a date. Bonus points to Hufflepuff if you caught that!

  • Beware of blending the color of the text and the background – You want to be able to easily read the text of the poster (duh). We also want to keep an eye on font. Some fonts look amazing but are really hard to read!
Wait, did it say they are playing in Narnia?
  • Utilize negative space – There’s nothing like a nice, crisp poster. Negative space is your friend. Let people enjoy the image you created!

Always remember to check yourself! You should ask yourself is this easy on your eyes? Which are you more likely to stop scrolling and invest time in?

Ahhh… art.
  • It can be crazy creative, but it doesn’t have to be – Sometimes we feel like we have to go 110% on everything (also, that’s not possible). The thing is, you don’t have to. Sometimes you need a poster with your face on it and the show information. A poster is necessary, you should have one for every show you’re playing, but it doesn’t have to be this big thing every single time some shows can simply happen and if it’s stressing you out to crank out something really creative every time – well don’t worry about it!
  • On the other hand, you should know when you should invest the time (or money) into a poster. A good poster can be the difference for someone showing up. Sometimes the invitation is the most crucial part of the party. When I want to kill it with the poster, I will hire someone to make one for me. I will use Alex Ortiz or Ciara Cisneros, and they will crush it 100% of the time. It’s worth the money, and they are a pleasure to work with. If you need someone to make your poster, leave a comment, and I will hook you up with their information! 
Actual footage of someone seeing my last poster
  • Remember the essentials – What do you need to list? Don’t overload the poster with information, but if you’re playing with other bands, list them. That will always win some brownie points with them. If you can tag the venue in the photo, do it! That way, it’s super easy for the people to get the address. You must list the location, time, ticket price, your name and the other bands.
  • Understand the difference between an upcoming shows list and a flyer for a show – It’s great to list all of your upcoming shows! I highly recommend doing this. But there is a danger to creating only a list of upcoming shows. People immediately start to think, oh, I’ll be sure to catch one of those, and then they never think about it again. This is an important lesson. If you give people options, they will not choose. If you give someone one opportunity, they’ll take that option. Keep listing all of the shows! But make sure you’re still promoting the shows separately as well!
Couldn’t have said it better
  • Think outside the social media box – Where else can you post online? Where do you notice upcoming shows? Where do you frequently visit? Are you always looking for posters when you step into a coffee shop? Maybe you’re consistently visiting one website? How do you promote yourself on that website? This is something I’m still working on! I’m trying to figure out where I can post outside of my Instagram. To get to that place, think about how you learn about things, and then find out how to post there! We need to learn how to market outside of Facebook. There are plenty of places we can do this! We just need to invest time and some money into learning. – One more thing, maybe you will learn that posting an upcoming show in a newspaper doesn’t really work for you. Then stop doing it! Keep trying new things until you find something that works for you. I would say the best thing you can do is find a blog/site that lists upcoming events in your area and pay to get on one of these. 
  • People are like bees, we like color – People are attracted to color! Just something to think about. If it’s a black and white poster, it might not have as many people stop as a bright poster would!
I think I remember this episode
  • Lastly, be uniquely you – I know that goes against some of the things I just listed. But you still want to do you boo! A metal band will have a different poster than a singer/songwriter. Ultimately, there are really only a few ways to make a bad poster. Listen to the feedback that you get usually, someone will say, “Wow, I can’t read this.” Or “Damn, this is awesome.” Learn from your mistakes and your successes!

I make my posters through 

I love this website, it’s free and easy to use! You can save up to five pictures, then delete those pictures and start all over again. It’s changed the game for me. If I need a unique poster, it’s totally worth searching on fivver or using Ciara or Alex to me. 

Don’t underestimate the power of the poster and be sure to check out my weekly (ish) show Music Theory Philosophy here.

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