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60 Concert Posters From Ten Amazing Artists


When scouring the design field, searching for stand-out artistic expression and fluid composition, one area that should always catch the eye, is poster design. Moreover, concert poster design, which has produced some truly revolutionary artists and works for generations now, should be paid particular attention to. Fluidity of design is especially key in poster layouts, as there is a finite space, and numerous points to capture and pass along within these confines.

The designer must encapsulate not only the band’s attitude and tone with the work, but also impart the feel of the album or tour that the poster is announcing. And speaking of announcements, the posters must seamlessly incorporate the typography that tells the reader the names, dates, and places of import. All the while maintaining the impact of the piece, and not overworking or overfilling the area and detracting from it’s overall arrangement.

So many shining examples of this exist in the art community, and in this episode of Monday Inspiration we present 60 inspiring concert poster designs from 10 amazing artists. The links at the bottom will take you to sites dedicated to showcasing other wonderful works from the concert poster genre.

Emek Link

Emek1 is an awe-inspiring artist with a natural depth and vibrance to his work. From stunningly styled typography to intricately carved creative designs, Emek’s work shines out among his peers, and was an easy addition to this inspiring bunch.

Moe by Emek

The Mars Volta by Emek

Peeping Tom by Emek

The Pixies by Emek

Coheed and Cambria by Emek

The Distillers by Emek

Mike Klay Link

Mike Klay2 is a stellar stand-out in the field of concert poster design. His simplicity of style and nature packs so much of the message in such compact creations, using clean, crisp vectors to achieve his task without using all of the available space. Saying so much with so little, is an awesome feat, and Mike Klay achieves this with ease.

The Mountain Goats by Mike Klay

Bob Marley's Wailers by Mike Klay

Simian Mobile Disco by Mike Klay

The Faint by Mike Klay

Wilco by Mike Klay

Fu Manchu by Mike Klay

Jim Phillips Link

Jim Phillips’3 singular voice and untethered style give his work such a varied and boundless feel that it’s easy to see why his work has spanned generations, standing firmly against the tests of time.

George Clinton by Jim Phillilps

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers by Jim Phillilps

Robert Cray Band by Jim Phillilps

Zero by Jim Phillilps

SF Arts Show by Jim Phillilps

Billham by Jim Phillilps

Rex Ray Link

Rex Ray’s4 eclectic work in concert poster design combines a retro feel with a piercing, modern attitude that explodes from within his work and captures the attention while tickling the imagination. Rex Ray’s stimulating style can not, and should not be ignored.

Beck by Rex Ray

Nine Inch Nails by Rex Ray

PJ Harvey by Rex Ray

U2 by Rex Ray

Bjork by Rex Ray

Oasis by Rex Ray

Jermaine Rogers Link

Jermaine Rogers5 is one of those raw expressive artists whose work makes you feel like an addict. It seeps into your skin and excites your senses with it’s bite and it’s dark beauty leaving you longing for more. With his sharp and edgy style, Jermaine Rogers’ work will be inspiring artists for years to come.

Ween by Jermaine Rogers

The Deftones by Jermaine Rogers

The Mars Volta by Jermaine Rogers

Tool by Jermaine Rogers

Morrissey by Jermaine Rogers

Radiohead by Jermaine Rogers

Frank Kozik Link

Frank Kozik stylishly blends a punk rock attitude with intense colors and textures to stamp an imaginative mark on the design community. His no-holds-barred and uncompromising approach to his work, make it easy to see why this creative giant has been credited with reviving this lost artform.

Iggy Pop by Frank Kozik

Red Hot Chili Peppers by Frank Kozik

Sweet Vine by Frank Kozik

Emo's by Frank Kozik

The Beastie Boys by Frank Kozik

High On Fire by Frank Kozik

Chris Shaw Link

Some artists’ work has an aura about it, that creates a tone which radiates from the piece and infects the environment around it. There are not many artists with a voice this vibrant and alive, but Chris Shaw is one of them, and a concert poster list would not be complete without giving this titan of artistic style and complex composition a nod.

Pearl Jam by Chris Shaw

Primus by Chris Shaw

Hole by Chris Shaw

Matchbox Twenty by Chris Shaw

Widespread Panic by Chris Shaw

Violent Femmes by Chris Shaw

Nel ‘Jagmo’ Jacobson Link

Some artist’s style speaks volumes with the depths of their designs, and the intricate weaving of different elements throughout their work. Nel Jacobson, known also as Jagmo6, is the type of artist that can accomplish these amazing feats with ease and simplicity. This inspiring artist consistently uses minimalistic design elements, and then fills the space brilliantly incorporating massive typography with balance and skill.

Grace Face by Jagmo

Dee Lite by Jagmo

The Proclaimers by Jagmo

The B52's by Jagmo

Bob Dylan by Jagmo

Dead Kennedys by Jagmo

Craig Howell Link

For nearly a decade, Craig Howell7, has led a charge through the concert poster design community leaving a vibrant and explosive mark in his path. His highly original work has kept his name circulating throughout the industry, and has kept this talented artist in popular demand. With an unmatched voice, and unparalleled vision, this behemoth of beauty is destined to be a classic in the field.

Jay Farrar by Craig Howell

System of a Down by Craig Howell

Godsmack by Craig Howell

Coldplay by Craig Howell

Phish by Craig Howell

Fatboy Slim by Craig Howell

James Rheem Davis Link

As far as insipiration goes, the work of James Rheem Davis8 is that rare breed of designer that adeptly captures the very essence of beauty in the dark and macabre. Flawlessly conveying the desired message with near nightmarish representations of a twisted take on the world around. With morbid and melancholy tones to match the images, Davis’ posters have a haunting effect on the viewer.

Poison The Well by James Rheem Davis

The Devil Wears Prada by James Rheem Davis

Flyleaf by James Rheem Davis

Slayer by James Rheem Davis

Tool by James Rheem Davis

Bleeding Through by James Rheem Davis

Last Click Link

Again, with Chris Shaw’s amazing talents having inspired so many artists in the field, we felt the last click should go to him.

Billy Idol by Chris Shaw

Resources Link

Footnotes Link

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Rob Bowen is a staff writer for Web Hosting Geeks and Top Web Hosting, a longtime freelance designer, and burgeoning videographer and filmmaker whose creative voice and works can be heard and found around the web.

  1. 1

    Nice, good post, but something tells me it’s loads of the same… pitty

    1st btw, lol :P

  2. 2

    dude, that just sooo awsome!

  3. 3

    agreed with Jurryt – too much of the same, but also a lot of inspiration.

  4. 4

    İnteresting,thanks. | Turkey

  5. 5

    Samuel Cotterall

    September 28, 2008 1:39 pm

    Some really excellent work, but a lot of that is really awful.

    I understand that a lot of gig posters are designed to commemorate the gig, rather than advertise it, but the first thing you notice should be the band’s name, then the date, then the venue – not the artwork.

    Also, a lot of these are really out of keeping with the band’s image.

    And, where were the Small Stakes?

  6. 6

    I would have to say Rock posters are one of my biggest inspirations, So it was cool to see some artists in there that I didn’t know along with the heavy weights.

    I do think a great artist to mention would have been Rick Griffen, as he was obviously a big influence on a lot of these guys.

  7. 7

    Aussie artist Ken Taylor deserves a mention here.

  8. 8

    Good!I like it

  9. 9

    Okay… two in a row. There is nothing unique about any of these artists nor should their work be highlighted and published like this out of the blue. These guys know what they’re doing ( Link ), if you’re looking for influential poster art. You, however do not. Smashing, what happened to the quality posts of old? I used to check your site every day for inspiration. One more BS ad to soak up advertising like this, and I am crossing you off my list. I advise and young and aspiring designers to do the same if you see what I see. Your work suffers when you waste your time on crap like this, I promise you.

    Am I expecting too much?

  10. 10

    thanks! i loved the first two. very inspiring. the others looked pretty much the same..

  11. 11

    FAIL – every day that you put photos or random things like this I don’t click ads. When you put free icons, or fonts, or tools, good tips, lists of applications that help us or other good posts, I click at least 3 ads in one day, and refresh my page 10-15 times.

  12. 12

    You are missing one of the great poster designers of our time: Derek Hess. I’d even throw Modern Dog in there too, despite the fact that they are a design firm, their gig posters are great.

  13. 13

    Sean McCambridge

    September 28, 2008 7:40 pm

    Mike Klay’s work is awesome! Can’t belive it’s already Monday. :)

  14. 14

    Well, there goes my day! Concert posters — and album covers — are two of my favorite sources of inspiration. Thanks for the fun links!

    @Samuel Cotterall – I disagree. This is 2008, not 1968. We have the internet, tv, and advertisements everywhere: we don’t need such info prominently displayed on the poster anymore. If you want to know when your favorite band is playing, you don’t look for a poster, you go to their website. Posters are for the fans already at the show.

    Concert posters are one of the few remaining places where an artist can truly go wild with creativity; I, for one, love it!

  15. 15

    What?! No mention of Alan Forbes? I call shenanigans….

  16. 16

    mind freshing ..twister art work

  17. 17

    Dude!…. This post is mind blowing! Good an fun time invested. Though I miss many real good poster of pearl jam. BTW you should do the same here but with concert tickets.

  18. 18

    amazing. nice post
    ty 4 Brazil

  19. 19

    Thanks for all the feedback. Sorry to those who think that this is too much of the same, but I have to disagree. I think this is a nice variety of artists and styles. Also, I like the fact that you can see shared influences in some of their works. To me that feeds the inspiration, but again, that’s just me.

    @ mikemike – Sorry you don’t like the inspiration posts, I find them helpful, and well, inspiring. :)

    @ Daniel – Alan Forbes, and fans, please forgive the transgression.

  20. 20

    sausage fest.

  21. 21


    September 28, 2008 9:06 pm

    No Aaron Horkey? This is terrible. And this deceivingly gives the reader the idea that all great gig poster artists do work for shitty, awful bands.

  22. 22

    Nice collection, Smashing Magazine are expert in their own way….

  23. 23

    It’s fine, but the title should like – horror collection

  24. 24

    Failed to load any images.

  25. 25

    no derek hess? wtf?

  26. 26

    @ #7 Rick Griffin should have been at the top, or most notable. There were definitely a few others during the 60’s and 70’s, that a lot of these artists borrow from. Rick Griffins work aside from concert posters is equally stunning.

  27. 27

    @ Samuel Cotterall (September 28th, 2008, 1:39 pm)
    “Some really excellent work, but a lot of that is really awful.”

    I agree with this part of your post. Most of those are god aweful and I don’t understand how they ever made it to print. If I were to even suggest such rubbish to my customers (yes, a few are artists, although not (rock) bands) they’d go elsewhere before I’d finished talking. But perhaps it’s a culture thing, with such designs called good being rooted in the music style.

    Still, it’s good to see such posts as they remind us how many different “good” designs there can be, and it can help us to think outside the box to accommodate new potential customers.

  28. 28

    Great list, though I miss the ones from Atzgerei ( for Sonic Youth, Melvins, Fu Manchu, Xiu Xiu, No Means No and many more. They are great! Have to be in the next smashing list!

  29. 29

    Wow, thanks for leaving out Mati Klarwein, I guess you’ve shown the audience how limited your musical knowledge is; that’s what I’ve learned, and only that.

  30. 30

    something is missing

  31. 31

    you forgot robert marx!!

  32. 32

    No Coop? Awwwww.

  33. 33

    mmm, some are nice, but some are REALLY awful!!!

  34. 34

    Why are you guys compalining ? If you really think you can do a better job then give us something… Instead of mentioning just one or two names… The guy been doing his research and compiled it for us, show a little gratitude… Critics are critics, but there are limits guys…

    Besides, the tittle is monday inspiration… If this post turns out didn’t inspire you then what’s wrong with that ? You can’t have the world always turn on your ways only man…

    Btw, great job to you Robert… Thanks Man… Cheers..

  35. 35

    Loving the “Sweet Vine” poster – Very Alphonse Mucha – One of my favourite poster artists of the Fin de siècle.

  36. 36

    @b (September 28th, 2008, 10:18 pm)

    “no derek hess? wtf?”

    My thoughts exactly. To me, Hess has always been the first artist I think of when it comes to concert posters.

  37. 37
  38. 38

    Concert posters are crazy. Great gallery ! (and cool to see so many mars volta’s ;))

  39. 39

    Yes they are of a very similar style! But with Concert Posters Especially American Events its all about the Venue and keeping that hand made photocopied feel and look. I agree the Cold Play poster made no sense but i love the Mars Volta Venue posters especially the System of a Down! Great Post

  40. 40

    Mars Volta <3


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