Category: Poster Art

SOUND & VISION: THE 2018 GRAMMY DESIGN AWARDS

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards air live this Sunday, January 28th – and for the first time in fifteen years, the National Academy of Recording is foregoing sunny Los Angeles and holding the event on the freezing East Coast at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Nominees this year brought their A game – and we’re excited about “Best Album” category – though not for the reasons you might think.

While the sounds of “Best Album” nominees Childish Gambino, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and Bruno Mars all deserve praise for sonic artistry and emotional reach, as poster people, we can’t help but focus on the creativity evident in these artists’ respective album covers – and how the compelling designs generated publicity for these albums long before they hit the shelves.

If we were judging album covers like a red carpet, we’d say there are three big trends this year: the use of light, the color blue, and typeface (or lack thereof). Here are – in our opinion – the top “looks”.

music advertising posters wildpostings

Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love!

Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! first entered the public consciousness via a tweet that linked to what would later be revealed to be the record’s cover. The linked image – featuring the face of a black woman, cast in a cobalt blue light, her eyes rolled back and mouth open as if in ecstasy – instantly evoked curiosity amongst fans, who were particularly fascinated by the intricate headdress adorning the disembodied head.

A small internet conspiracy grew from this initial frisson of mystery – intrepid fans of Gambino (aka the writer-actor-producer and “Friend of PMD” Donald Glover) noted the image appeared again as a prop in Glover’s television show Atlanta. By the time sleuths had traced the headdress back to Brooklyn artist Laura Wass, Gambino covertly announced a series of secret concerts to promote Awaken’s release – effectively harnessing the buzz generated by his mysterious artwork drop into a three night experiential bonanza.

poster advertising

Lorde’s Melodrama

In a stark departure from the minimalist, text-only cover of her debut album Pure Heroine, Lorde (aka 20 year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, another “Friend of PMD”) embraced the delicacy of portraiture for her sophomore record Melodrama.

The cover of Melodrama features a painterly representation of the artist (an oil composition by Brooklyn-based Sam McKinnis), her head cradled in a mess of pillows, the light illuminating the exposed half of her face.

Intended to capture “the last two wild, fluorescent years” of Lorde’s adolescence, the record’s synth-heavy beats and new wave sound back heady vocals. Lorde’s lyric abilities shine just as brightly as they did on her much heralded debut – perhaps even more so. To crib Pitchfork’s assessment of the album: it’s nothing less than luminous.

poster advertising

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.

Compared to the relatively contemplative hues employed in Awaken! and Melodrama‘s artwork, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is loud and abrasive – and that’s just how designer Vlad Sepetov, a long time Lamar collaborator, envisioned it.

After the initial album preview, Twitter lit up as fans questioned the album’s minimalist look… or what some perceived as “bad design”. Sepetov fired back, noting, “Just given the bare bones, we fleshed something out that has a lot of people talking.”

Indeed: DAMN. managed to make perhaps the greatest cultural impact of the year. While Jay-Z’s 4:44 succeeded as a marketing effort before the album’s release, inciting curiosity among the general public by plastering transit stations and billboards with the cryptic numbers (or is it a time?), Sepetov’s bright red lettering incidentally aided a sustained marketing campaign – the instantly “memeable” typeface continues to appear across the internet, months after Lamar’s album dropped.

What were your favorites this year? Want to chat about good design? Drop us a line! In the meantime, and enjoy the Grammys!

MAKE THIS SEASON WARM & WONDERFUL FOR THOSE LESS FORTUNATE

Poster Advertising Wildpostings Nonprofit

Every night, 62,000 New Yorkers sleep in a shelter. Over one third – 23,000 – are children. With just a simple gesture, YOU can keep them warm.

This winter, PMD Media has teamed up with New York Cares to promote their 29th Annual Coat Drive. Over almost three decades, New York Cares has collected nearly 2 million coats. We’d like to make this year their most successful yet.

There are a few ways for you to help – and most of them don’t cost a cent. 

And for those of you not in New Yorkkeep reading – we’ve got you covered as well!

If you’re breaking in a new jacket or parka, please consider dropping off one of your older, gently loved coats at the many designated donation locations, all handily mapped out here.

Still sporting your trusty winter wear? With a quick text message, you can provide a coat to someone in need – just text “COAT” to 41444. Your $20 donation will furnish a NY neighbor with high-quality, warm outwear to get through the coldest months of the year.

Finally, the easiest way to participate is to spread the word! Tweet, Share, and Post about the Coat Drive across platforms using the hashtag #CoatDrive.

Not in New York? We’ve posted a list of coat drives occurring across the country. And for those of you lucky enough to enjoy sunny weather year-round, please consider organizations supporting ongoing relief efforts for Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, collected below.

 

Non-NYC Coat Drives:

One Warm Coat (Nationwide)

Salvation Army – Chicago Bears – Jewel Osco (Chicago and Denver)

NBC – Telemundo (Chicago)

Jersey Cares (New Jersey)

 

General Giving Opportunities:

Hispanic Federation (Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief)

Unicef Emergency Relief (Hurricane and other disaster relief)

Charity:Water (worldwide clean drinking water)

 

And here are some tips if you’re looking to making the holidays special for little ones:

9 Ways to Donate a Gift to a Child in Need This Season

 

 

POST NO BILLS: NEW YORK’S CLOSED ICONIC VENUES

poster advertising wildpostings

Earlier this fall, we spent some time thinking about the alarming vacancy rate amongst retail storefronts in New York City. We were shocked at the volume of responses our post inspired: friends from across the country contacted us to express their anger at the difficulties faced by small businesses even in prosperous, cosmopolitan cities. This week, we’re happy to look at these vacancies in a different light: through the lens of art.

If you haven’t heard, we’ve developed a reputation for being pretty poster-obsessed. When we read about Poster House, a museum dedicated to the media we so adore, we couldn’t wait to check out their collection of vintage poster advertisements.

Though Poster House doesn’t officially open it’s doors to the public until early 2019, the museum’s staff organized a pop-up show, “Gone Tomorrow”, to honor New York’s iconic, now-defunct venues – and the posters used by local promoters to advertise the parties, “happenings”, and other events that occurred in these long-shuttered hot spots.

The exhibit features over one hundred posters and handbills, each providing a window into a particular moment in New York history.

Poster Advertising Wildposting
Upon entering the gallery (housed in the former Tekserve space on W. 23rd Street, itself an out of business New York landmark), visitors find themselves at the southern tip of Manhattan via a conceptual floor map of the city of New York. The posters, displayed on temporary construction barriers spray-painted with “Post No Bills”, are arranged within the space according the general geographic location of the venue they advertise.

Featuring a mixture of well-known classics and one-off DIY works, the show highlights the democratic nature of poster art. Posters are at their very core a form of advertising: as a media that’s intended to sell, posters don’t necessarily receive their due in terms of artistic and cultural relevance. But because the nature of poster advertising is ephemeral – that is, poster advertisements go up and come down according to the needs of the campaign – the displays which survive their first life as an ad live on as snapshots of the past. 

While some nightclubs highlighted in “Gone Tomorrow” – like The Bottom Line, recently honored by the Schimmel Center’s “If These Walls Could Talk” show – remain relatively fresh in the city’s collective memory, other venues have faded from the public consciousness.

The impetus for the show, according to curator Angelina Lippert, came from a single display: a movie-poster sized bulletin advertising “Circus of Power” at the Virgin Outlaw Club hosted by one Tommy Gunn. When Lippert couldn’t find details about the nightclub, she found Gunn via Facebook. Gunn was a notorious nightlife promoter in the 80’s and 90’s who started his career with posters: he worked with a printer downtown to produce eye-catching advertisements to drive clubgoers to the parties he threw. As time went on, he developed a keen eye for design and became known for the splashy posters that adorned the sides of NYC buildings. Reminds us of someone else we know!

For one night only last week, Gunn provided guests of the Poster House with an oral history of the venues – the Ritz, the Peppermint Lounge, and Danceteria, among many others – highlighted throughout the show. Though you may have missed the chance to be regaled with stories of vintage NYC, the exhibit is still open to the public via appointment!

 

WILDPOSTINGS: WHERE DO YOU STAND?

They go up as buildings go down. They line walkways and adorn construction sites. We know you’ve seen them – because they’re everywhere.

Wildposting – or “poster sniping” in Out-of-Home lingo, exists in almost every urban center. Wildposting is a part of a fly-by-night, grey economy that specializes in ephemeral advertising:  hand bills and wheat-pasted one sheets that go up with the knowledge that the ads may very well come down just days – or hours – after they are posted.

The ubiquity of wildpostings has led many of our clients to ask us whether they’re worth it. We’re biased, of course, but at the end of the day, we’re poster people… so here’s our guide to evaluating whether wildpostings will work for you.

Wildpostings NYC

A few things to consider:

What kind of impact do you want to make?

The major benefit of classic, wheat-pasted wildpostings is repetition: the quintessential wildposting features a series of the same image (or a series of alternating, coordinated images) in a row, generally covering the walls of construction sites, abandoned buildings, or, unfortunately, in some cases, commissioned public art murals.

The reiteration of a series of images lends itself to emblazoning a particular image or message on the minds of passerby. But then to make an impact, your image or message has to particularly resonate. A major downside of repetitive wildpostings, especially in visually chaotic urban centers, is the tendency of these wheat-pasted displays to recede into the streetscape, becoming a backdrop to city life rather than a focal point.

Which brings us to quality.

How much do you care about it?

The practice of poster sniping is frequently associated with street artists and graffiti for a reason: what goes up usually comes down… or gets covered by something else.

Perhaps the biggest con of wildpostings is their short life span: wheat-pasted posters that are not removed by local authorities suffer from damage both from the elements and the whims of free-wheeling locals.  If you live in New York City, we’re certain you’ve seen a, erm, phallic image scrawled across an otherwise PG-rated street-side wildposting at least once (if not a few times a day).

If you’re looking to max out an extremely tight budget, wildpostings seem like the obvious solution: as many highly profitable wildposting companies will tell you, low-quality paper and wheat-paste cost pennies on the dollar. For volunteer-run campaigns, DIY wildposting is the perfect option.

Wildpostings NYC

On the flip side – to mount a campaign with broad reach and sustained duration, wildposting services are not cheap – especially given the limited duration of sniping campaigns.

While these companies are paid to make sure a certain number of flyers or posters go up, they do not maintain or replace the inevitably lost or damaged papers – so a budget of thousands to cover posting only ensures a brief moment of visibility.

Wildpostings NYC

This poor wildposting could use some TLC.

Finally: Are you willing to take a risk?

Because poster sniping companies typically do not possess their own inventory networks, clients may have limited ability to control where their message appears. Firms that specialize in poster sniping also generally do not compensate property owners for posting or for the damage these posts can cause (and, in some cases, these firms also neglect to compensate their contractors).

If you’re looking to mount a quick and dirty campaign, mix up some glue and get your staple gun ready: wildposting just might work for you! Otherwise, our recommendation is – as always – to diversify your media mix as much as budget allows. We’re biased, but these days, the integration of print and digital seems like a no-brainer for driving ROAS

THIS IS GOOD DESIGN.

We’ve made a name for our clients in some of the most ad-saturated markets in the world. So when people ask how we compete with the neon lights of Times Square and the billboards that line Sunset Boulevard, we like to tell them that the first step is good design.

In the past, we’ve spoken about what an effectively designed poster looks like. Today, we’re revisiting that concept to shine the spotlight two of our current campaigns. Check out the latest creatives from the Chicago White Sox and the Brooklyn Museum:

poster advertising

These ads meet all the criteria of our Effective Design Rating scale. 

  1. They convey the message.
  2. They are visible from a distance.
  3. They succeed in attracting the intended audience.

The most striking characteristic of the Sox campaign is its simplicity – through the saturated colors and distinct graphic logo, the artwork speaks for itself.

On a street crowded with busy ads, the white lettering against the deep navy background pops; as viewers approach, evocative details – the fine stitching, the sturdy canvas of the baseball cap background – become apparent, conjuring, perhaps, memories of one’s own very first ball game, or a hat worn by a beloved relative.

poster advertising

Sometimes, too much information is worse than not enough. This ad is a perfect example of that truism… and it doesn’t hurt that the Sox complemented their WindowPoster™ campaign with a series of mini-pocket calendars that provide details on the season’s schedule.

We’re also advertising the phenomenal exhibit “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” running at the Brooklyn Museum. The above postcard designs maximize the medium’s limited space by mixing vibrant images with bold, minimal text, effectively communicating the most important information while retaining the impact of the artwork. 

                                                  

As you may know, at PMD Media our motto is BE SEEN – and while visibility counts, we know that where you’re seen and the message you broadcast matter, too. Whether it’s an album cover, a website layout, or a WindowPoster™ display, good design makes all the difference. 

Please call or e-mail us today for a consultation on your campaign. We’re always excited to hear (and see!) what our friends are up to.

HOW TO INCREASE IMPRESSION TIME

Getting your message in front of potential customers and keeping it there is one of the most important goals of a successful Advertising campaign (of course, buying the product is #1). I came across this “Ad for an Ad” the other day when I was out shopping recently and immediately saw the brilliance of such a simple concept.

ARTFUL POSTER ADVERTISING: TOULOUSE-LAUTREC AND JANE AVRIL

One of the greatest works of art in poster advertising history is Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s poster promoting Jane Avril’s performance at the Jardin de Paris. The great post-Impressionist painter, de Toulouse-Lautrec who was influenced by such geniuses as Manet and Degas, fused advertising with art and cultural trends like no predecessor had.

POSTER ART: PETER MAX, SIXTIES VISIONARY

Above my desk hangs my favorite poster; Peter Max’s visual manifestation of Yellow Submarine. The moment I first saw this poster I was stunned by the artist’s creativity, especially his sublime use of color. It is a technique few can imitate but many are inspired by, but it is also a perfect example of how an advertising poster can function commercially and as a piece of art.

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