Guest Post from Mostly Midwest: Top Show Poster Art of 2010

Another installment of our guest posts from our new friends over at Mostly Midwest!  This should have gone up a bit sooner, but I was without some internets for a bit my minions…but alas I am back and here we go with some more “best of” action!


As a graphic designer who runs a music blog, I sometimes find myself more excited about the album art on CDs I get than the CD itself. Of course I know what’s really important is the music, but I just love a good CD package – this applies to show posters as well. I’d like to say off the bat I’m not trying to argue that these are “The BEST” posters of 2010, how could I? These are my personal favorite show posters – and there’s no way I could have seen nearly every poster from the past year, even from the Midwest. Without further explanation, here they are!

Number #4

Is it awful to list something you had a hand in creating on your own top list? Well I’ll get it out of the way – I designed the general layout of this first poster. But that’s nothing special – what I really want you to focus on is the beautiful portraits of Matt Jones, Graham Parsons, Steve Leaf, and Joe Scott. The artwork on this poster is by long-time friend, artist, and musician Caitlin Spera. I see so many graphic designers for venues who are creating these beautiful posters on the side while they pursue a future in another field, and that always bums me out. Fortunately, Caitlin is pursuing a degree in graphic design. You can view her art blog here and her Etsy shop here.

Number #3

Sure, it’s not a show poster exactly – but designer Shawn Knight has quite the hand in the Detroit music scene. Front-man of Child Bite, I recently discovered that not only does he do all the artwork for the albums, but he is also a very active, and incredibly talented, graphic designer. He has a very distinct style that blends together elements of noir, collage, geometry, and abrasiveness. The combination of all these create a wonderful aesthetic for Shawn’s posters. To see more of Shawn’s posters go to his website here, or if you decide you love them and want to buy a print go to his etsy here.

Number #2

In between writing articles for Mostly Midwest, fingerpicking my acoustic guitar, and wearing layered flannel shirts you can find me driving in my car blaring psych-rock band Wild Orchid Children’s new album “…are Alexander Supertramp”. My high school boy crush on Gatsby’s American Dream was what initially showed me that there was music beyond the radio, and since their hiatus I’ve faithfully followed the members from band to band anxiously awaiting what comes next. If you’re looking for music suggestions and reading Slowcoustic you’re more likely to be interested in Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground or Thomas Hunter’s solo project than the Wild Orchid Children. (and I strongly suggest checking out Kay Kay and Hunter’s music if you like playful, jazzy music) Why do I love this poster? The overall goal of a show poster is to draw in the viewer and give them an idea of what sort of music they’re going to be hearing, and this design does it wonderfully. Plus, Hunter’s mustache is something i’ve been working toward for months now – It was only a matter of time before it made it’s debut front and center on a poster.

Number #1

For those familiar with Matt Jones, you will instantly recognize the beauty and significance of this poster to his music. For those not familiar, look him up right now. Designed by Jen Harley, this posters aesthetic and time period parallel the sound of Jones’ heartbreaking arrangements. Fascinated, and heavily influenced by, the civil war, the second Matt strikes the first note of a song you are transported to the past. Incredibly, as soon as the song is over you snap out of it and Jones is cracking jokes and ready to chat. Harley has done many other notable/beautiful posters for the down state music scene which can be found here, and for anyone familiar with Jim Roll’s studio Backseat Productions, she is the artist who painted his walls with the album art from albums he has recorded – see that work here.


There you go, some really great stuff and the fact that I don’t get out to see many of these shows due to their regionality it almost makes me feel part of it…if from a distance!  Thanks again to Mostly Midwest for showing us their favourite gig posters of the year!