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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. [Content Care Oct/27/2016]

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

So many shining examples of this exist in the art community. We present 60 inspiring concert posters 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

Emek5 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.

concert posters

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 Klay6 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’7 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’s8 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 Rogers9 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 Kozik10 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 Shaw11 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 Jagmo12, 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 Howell13, 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 Davis14 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

    Good!I like it

  3. 3

    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?

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    dude, that just sooo awsome!

  6. 6

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

  7. 7

    İnteresting,thanks. | Turkey

  8. 8

    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?

  9. 9

    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.

  10. 10

    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.

  11. 11

    Aussie artist Ken Taylor deserves a mention here.

  12. 12

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

  13. 13

    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.

  14. 14

    Sean McCambridge

    September 28, 2008 7:40 pm

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

  15. 15

    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!

  16. 16

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

  17. 17

    mind freshing ..twister art work

  18. 18

    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.

  19. 19

    amazing. nice post
    ty 4 Brazil

  20. 20

    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.

  21. 21

    sausage fest.

  22. 22

    Wow, I was hoping for some really amazing posters, but instead I had to endure looking at probably the ugliest, most puke-inducing “art” I’ve seen in a long while.

    Please, spare us this crap from now on.. Thanks.

  23. 23


    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.

  24. 24

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

  25. 25

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

  26. 26

    Failed to load any images.

  27. 27

    no derek hess? wtf?

  28. 28

    @ #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.

  29. 29

    A really bad post. Promotional posters are supposed to communicate something. I couldn’t even read / understand what more than half of those posters were for. That makes them failures as posters. Art perhaps, but successful posters they are not.

  30. 30

    @ 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.

  31. 31

    @ Jonathan – So what you are saying is that it made you feel something! That rocks!

    The feeling I get is that the “designers” of such posters should not be allowed to design, and instead should be relegated to menial labor in some gulag in Irkutsk

  32. 32

    something is missing

  33. 33

    you forgot robert marx!!

  34. 34

    No Coop? Awwwww.

  35. 35

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

  36. 36

    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..

  37. 37

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

  38. 38

    @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.

  39. 39

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

  40. 40

    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

  41. 41

    Mars Volta <3

  42. 42

    Fantastic post! Love it!


  43. 43

    I am with the guy that called fail due to no Horkey.

    Well worth the time for anyone here to check him out.

  44. 44

    Great post!

  45. 45

    The Coldplay poster is a lot more exciting than the actual band experience. A credit to the artists.

  46. 46

    Andreas Nieckele

    September 29, 2008 5:20 am

    fuck yeah FU MANCHU!

  47. 47

    @ bozo meko – Nice work, but there is a difference between ‘Album Covers’ and ‘Concert Posters’. Guess you should have tried to learn that as well. kthnxbye!

    Thanks for all the links, love, and again feedback. Some really other great artists have been recommended, so thanks for that. Sorry for some of the omits, but I’m a deeply flawed individual so that’s probably why ;) .

    @ emil – Thanks for that!

    Once again, there have been some great artists mentioned and linked, so much gratitude for the heads up!

    @ Jonathan – So what you are saying is that it made you feel something! That rocks!

  48. 48

    This Art is the Bomb-bo Boombastic BooYA- YO !!!!

  49. 49

    You missed the best artist by far R. Black

  50. 50

    wow you ppl cry so much on here. typical “designers” who think they know everything. haha.

  51. 51

    Hmm. I agree with the comments that there’s a lot of the same here. I mean, it’s interesting, I suppose, but I see very little that I can even use for inspiration. A little, but not a lot. And I design websites for musicians. Just… not the kind of musicians that you’re pushing here. (Celtic, Americana, blues, Cajun, tradfolk…)

    Branch out a little, kids.

  52. 52

    Needs more Horkey, Hess and Klausen

  53. 53

    @ Brandon, sorry to disappoint. Though, I do have to say, I disagree. I think these posters communicate so much, not just through the art, but with some very interesting typography. Though, admittedly, that may just be me, and they don’t speak that way to everyone.

    @ Radkey, thanks for the reco’s!

    @ RM, will keep that in mind! Thanks.

  54. 54

    No Kuhn posters? Come on. Denver rep-rah-zent!

  55. 55

    i agree…def. derek hess needs to be here….and coop as well. i think someone mentioned small stakes…they’re stuff is great.

  56. 56

    thanks for the recognition robert. truely humbled to be amongst some of the greats. picking out poster designs and artists it no easy feat because there are just so many excellent ones out there. visit a flastock and you’ll see what i mean.

    oh and jonathan is soooo negative he needs to eat a bag of dicks.
    link up your work buddy.

  57. 57

    No Ames Bros, Klausen or Emek?!?!?!?!

  58. 58

    @ Mike, no thank you for the wonderful and inspiring work. Glad that you’d stop by.

    @ PosterMan, uhm, dude, Emek’s the first artist on the list.

  59. 59

    So many ppl on here have negative things to say – so where is your work. – Well… Where are the links

  60. 60

    There could’ve been something here since some variety would’ve helped. Perhaps a theme such as time period, distinctive style or even genre. Also, a lot of late 90’s and early 2000 posters containing every Photoshop filter out there.

  61. 61

    I would have to say Emek and Mike Klay were my favorites.

  62. 62

    Guess movie posters don’t count?

  63. 63

    Intriguing post. Curious how these designers work with the same bands. No Storm Thorgerson or Rob Dobi? Brian Ewing? Alex Gray? I myself am very intrigued with the evolution of concert posters. Favorite would be Arnold Skolnick’s poster for Woodstock 1969.

  64. 64

    What’s next: designers listing their favorite photoshop filters…. To all the people who say we should not be so critical: what’s wrong with criticism, some of these posters would have been much better if someone had told the designers to show some restraint in the use of effects over effects over effects. It just makes it look really cheap. Photoshop is great, but not if you just use all filters at once. Do yourself a favor as deisgner and show some restraint…

  65. 65

    I happened to come across this site – Splash Posters, and I think they have an amazing range of posters too, although I don’t think all are concert posters.

  66. 66

    @Samuel Cotterall: Glad to see that someone else expected to see Jason Munn of the Small Stakes here! He’s an exceptional artist.

  67. 67

    oh and jonathan is soooo negative he needs to eat a bag of dicks.

    While I respect your right to “eat” what you wish, I’ll pass on what must be your favorite snack.

  68. 68

    Wow, so many great links have been offered here! Really appreciative of that. Some more artists and work to get lost in.

    I’m really blown away by the amount of feedback, I wish I could take each message one by one to respond to, but alas, I cannot. So an overall blanket “Glad to oblige” to those who enjoyed the post, hope it was as inspiring to you as it was putting it together. And a blanket “My bad!” to those who haven’t enjoyed the post, I hope that though we differ on our appreciations of certain styles and artists that we can still find inspiration together elsewhere.

    And once again, to all, thanks for taking time to drop off a thought or two! Much appreciated.

  69. 69

    Not impressed with this article frankly! Was hoping for some more gorgeous stuff.

  70. 70

    no Pollock or Jeff Wood? are you fucking retarded?

  71. 71

    Amazing. Impressive. The whiners and complainers missed the point. This celebration of poster art makes everybody take note and increases the appreciation of everybody working in this genre.

    Haters will hate on though whatever the occasion.

  72. 72

    Matt Carpenter

    October 1, 2008 8:59 am

    Cool stuff. Though it is rather strange to see Flyleaf just above Slayer.

  73. 73

    I miss Storm Thorgerson in this list. My favourite..

  74. 74

    Thanks again for more continued feedback.

    @ catfiche, Perhaps people get upset when they don’t see certain artists on the list, thinking that their favorites are being dismissed, even though this is not a list of ‘the BEST concert poster designs of all time’ or the ‘the TOP DESIGNERS of concert poster art’ in fact it’s not a rating in any way, simply a compilation of inspiring work found in that genre. Maybe that’s the rub, maybe not.

    Again, much appreciated on all the comments and sharing!

  75. 75

    E – X – C – E – L – E – N – T – E – S !!!!!!

  76. 76

    first thing i think: they are all geting inspired by the same inspirations. designers should stop looking around and and look more at themselves.
    but they (the posters) are still cool…

  77. 77

    I have liked Jermaine Rogers’ work for a while. Very cool.

  78. 78

    dis is amazing

  79. 79

    these are freakin awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :]

  80. 80

    jackob bangiel

    October 19, 2008 12:52 pm

    very inspiring. ooh ahhh :)

  81. 81

    Crystal Danley

    October 27, 2008 10:49 am

    And then there’s…

    Pedro Bell

    Perhaps the best-known P-Funk artist, Bell and his distinctive style were responsible for illustrating Funkadelic classics such as Cosmic Slop, Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, One Nation Under A Groove, Hardcore Jollies and Uncle Jam Wants You, as well as more recent solo albums for George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars. Bell also pioneered the song illustrations that would accompany P-Funk liner notes.

  82. 82

    There are far better Mars Volta posters available for sale on their site than what was posted here by them

  83. 83

    Nice post. I am a collector of Concert Posters and there are some good designs here. I always appreciate peoples points of view, and tastes (i dont always agree:) . Maybe you could do a post on early artists like Griffin (He was mentioned). Mouse & Kelley or some of Pollacks works… just a thought. Thanks for the time you put into this post.

  84. 84

    oh man, this post is great!
    i am trying to design a concert poster myself, and this post gave me a shitload of ideas.

  85. 85

    Music Exec, are you retarded? pimping yourself under a thin disguise is pathetic. That J. Wood is not known or recognized as anything. Wake up and get a clue.

  86. 86

    Mediocre list, nothing to groundbreaking. There are so many unmentioned amazing poster designers that are re-defining what poster art is.. not just re-hashing old ideas. If this list came out 10 years ago, I would have been impressed

  87. 87

    Tim Poster Collector

    February 11, 2010 11:07 am

    “Mick Jagger”, are YOU retarded? Hello, do you not pay attention to the Pollstar poster contest? That is where actual industry people (agents, managers, talent buyers, marketing, and promoters) vote on the best poster of the year. Out of 700+ posters each year, Emek and Jefferson Wood have one won 1st place in that contest more than anyone. The posters are sent in by the promoters themselves, not the artists.

    Furthermore, Emek Golan, Jefferson Wood, Frank Kozik, Rick Griffin, and Bob Masse were listed by Billboard as artists for the Top 25 rock posters of all time. That is out of tens of thousands of posters from the 1950’s to the present. Emek and Griffin have several each in there.

    That is what is so nice about art. Everyone draws a little different, and everybody has different taste. So a poster that one person likes, another person could hate. But there are some posters, and artists that stand out from the crowd.

    This is what I hate about the internet. I am probably arguing with a 12 year old kid.

  88. 88

    eden ferraro

    May 8, 2010 10:42 am

    these are posters for a concert . oh wow real cool i am going to make one like this . problaly not exactly the same
    thank for the ideas

  89. 89

    Killer post – thanks for putting this together. Just my 2 pennies, but – a not so well known kid making some great work is Josh Hunter. Check out his Widespread Panic Las Vegas and Reno poster from October 2010 – It’s sexy, it’s dark and he always throws it down when inspired to do so.

  90. 90

    Lane Hesselrode

    December 22, 2013 12:48 am

    Some of them pictures are awesomes artwork.


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