Zen and the art of making punk flyers

  • Published August 24, 2010 By Bryony
  • Categories Columns

The importance of the punk flyer surely can’t be overstated, but they’re getting increasing sidelined for internet-only gig spam, often to a would-be promoter‘s disappointment.

So is it really worth the effort? Regular faces at the gigs that I put on are routinely shocked at where all these ‘new’ people have come from, and I can only respond along the lines of ‘actual hold-in-your-hand flyers!’

Don’t be complacent — if you live in a big city, there is always someone who’s gonna be interested that you don’t personally know. It might seem hackneyed, but copying flyers and posters and getting them up around town, and beyond the eyeline of yer regular messageboard / Facebook cognoscenti is the key to busy and fun gigs!

The only limit is your imagination. If anyone asks you make a flyer, you should jump at the chance! The most fun job in punk, arguably, where you get to write mini-reviews of bands, pick images and take the theme of the gig wherever you want. What’s not to like? If you’re stuck, a good fail-safe is to use topical images with resonance to those who are gonna see it, so you could lampoon a shamed politician or make a visual link to local campaigns/concerns.

Otherwise, why not subvert the enormous graphical goldmine of the last 40 years of punk and hardcore to promote your night? The book Fucked up and Photocopied is one of the many chronicles of our rich outsider art history when it comes to punk rock flyers, and makes a great resource for scanning and fiddling with. Request it at your local library, do some scanning, and get cutting and pasting.

The ultimate harsh rhetorical ‘Would we force this mutant child to walk a mile to see…INSERT BAND HERE’ works a treat too! Or, If you’ve no computer and you’re handy with a ballpoint then do as they do in South Wales and light box that shit. Every town has a building which could, when squinting, be morphed into the Capitol Building for purposes of a lightning strike Bad Brains rip off!

When the internet eventually explodes, your Photoshop archive will be long gone, so make real life paper flyers and you never know, in thirty years your work might be hanging in some Auction house, too.