I’m a big time band merch nerd. Especially stickers. If I don’t have the money budgeted to buy a shirt or hoodie from a band at their show, I will at least purchase some stickers. They end up either on my truck, toolbox, or the filing cabinet in my office. I always make sure my band Sempervivi’s merchandise table is fully stocked with items ranging from inexpensive to higher priced items. In 2022, we were running low on previous sticker design concepts, so I took advantage of a Sticker Mule sale and stocked up. I worked up four different designs and had all of them printed in order to offer some variety to our fans.
Sticker Design Story
First, I thumbed through some old line art books and picked out a nice roaring tiger. I colored in the tiger’s fur with a golden yellow hue. Then, I combined this expertly detailed illustration with our name uppercase in a vintage font. Our hometown “LEX KY” nestles between two simple lightning bolt icons in yellow, completing the first sticker design.
Since many would call our band’s genre “skate punk”, I incorporated a rad broken skateboard image into an old school signage layout. The bold image of the broken deck jumps out in front of the marquee font spelling our band name. I added our hometown and Roman numerals for the year 2015, the year when our band began. I played with a few different different color schemes. The band members couldn’t choose between the two palettes I pared it down to, so we had both printed. I love the alternative “Joker” combination of mostly purple and lime green. The melon red and Carolina blue scheme is lighter, cleaner, and more fun.
Finally, I had been toying around with a rugged “stamp” style logo for the band. I jumbled the sizes of the letters and tilted them, creating a chaotic style to match our fast, loud punk sound. The final touches came together as I filled in the characters in neon pink and turquoise. Then, I outlined the letters in black and added a solid black shadow to the art to make it pop.
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Every musician needs merch. If you are a live performer, your fans want to buy merch to support you. An inexpensive way to get started? Contact me today to bring your sticker design to life.
Here’s a retro concert poster that I designed for a 2022 show at Lynagh’s Irish Pub in Lexington. My friend Destry is a classy lady who sings and plays guitar in the blues based alternative rock band Pedestryans. Her selfie game is on point, and she often rocks a variety of vintage styles, so I thought featuring a classic 1950s style pin up girl would fit.
Retro Concert Poster Story
When I chose the vintage style pin up girl photo from my extensive stock image collection, I knew that I wanted to bathe it in an aqua blue tint. I overlaid the whole image with a wavy “static” pattern, so as to imitate vintage TV interference. Also, I envisioned wrapping the band names around the black vinyl record that she is holding. The bright pink and orange hues of the names help them stand out over the wax circle.
For the date at the top, I manually jumbled the letters in order to give it a retro, playful feel. I also jumbled the letters at the bottom of the page that spell out the venue name. The bright yellow date is encased in a typical 50’s “futuristic” style black curved shape. I then added a subtle gradient that fades the aqua blue to purple at the bottom in order to highlight “At Lynagh’s”. Other event information floats to the left and right of the pin up girl in black. I added a wave warp effect to it in order to give it some movement and also to increase the kitsch factor.
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Are you holding an event that would benefit from a retro concert poster design? I love incorporating vintage 1950s elements into promotional ads! Contact me today to get started.
Ahoy, ye scurvy sea dogs! This band shirt design for my former rock band Analog Apostles is one of my favorites. I created this two color screen printed art before we loaded up our van and left for our Summer 2014 tour of the USA. These eery shirts were instantly hot sellers. Several years after they were pressed, I still see them around town here in Lexington on occasion. I love being a band merch artist! We’re going to plunge 20,000 leagues into the sea and talk about the thought and work that went into this band apparel design.
I’m not sure what the world’s coolest guy Fred is doing here, but the shirt looks good on him.
Band Shirt Design – limited inks for apparel printing on a budget
Everybody loves to wear a good black band shirt. I know I do, at least. Seriously, I have probably filled half of my t-shirt drawer with black apparel. Mostly for my clients’ budgetary reasons, my shirt designs usually feature only one or two screen printed ink colors. Also, black is the most popular shirt color. Many shirt printing businesses offer special discounts on them. I can still make a big impact, even though I am not drawing from a large color palette.
This design definitely provided a lot of bang for our indie band’s very limited bucks! I chose a color combination that consisted of cool turquoise blue and a light green shade. They come together to create an aura that is both mysterious and soothing. This makes the two distinctly bright ink colors really stand out against the stark black background of the shirt itself.
Deep sea themed band shirt design for a Kentucky indie rock group
The chilling deep sea diver bust is up front wearing a vintage style diving helmet. I feel that this element adds to the mystery of the overall design. Who or what could be lurking behind the mask? The unknown figure in the foreground makes for an unsettling and potentially dangerous focal point. How spooky is that?
It turns out that the uncanny valley has a body of water running through it. A pattern of waves comes together in order to create the green background behind the diver. I actually took the cool water shapes from a photograph of the ocean. I simplified the aquatic image down to just two colors using Adobe Photoshop. This way, it would work on the screen printed art. Then, I finished cleaning it up for the vector art application using the Adobe Illustrator application. This way, I removed the shadows so that it would only display the highlights in green.
Band merch artist details fonts and styles
Finally, I added the band’s name at the top of the design in a tall serif style type. Because of the deep sea theme, I used a vintage font that I felt could easily be found on a pirate ship flag. Perhaps one might even find it emblazoned on a buried treasure map. In fact, it is the very same font that has been used by Major League Baseball team the Pittsburgh Pirates in the past, MLB Tuscan.
I began by first setting the word “ANALOG” at the top in the turquoise hue. Then, I continued by reversing out the word “APOSTLES” so that it would read in black over the green water background. Therefore, it makes the best use possible of the negative space of the shirt itself. It creates the illusion of a three color design. This way, it still remains legible as part of the name of the band, while adding some depth to the overall design. Do you get the joke that I was making there? Depth? Water? I am a father who has a young son, so silly puns are my forte’.
You need a professional band shirt design of your own
Way back in 1999, I was a student at Murray State University studying Art, with an emphasis on Graphic Design. During that time, I started up my own freelance graphic design business right from my dorm room. I have been playing the guitar and singing in independent bands all around Kentucky since 1997. Over the years, I have combined my two passions many times. I have made designing music merchandise for bands one of my specialties. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Networking with other musicians has taught me a lot about this print graphic design genre. This art was a callback to our most recent independent EP “The Other Side of the Sea”, which I also designed the layout for. Some players prefer more literal, music based interpretations in their merch designs instead.
Every band or artist needs to sell physical merchandise at their shows. If you want to successfully grow your fanbase, you must have some quality merch items on your table. Buttons, stickers, CDs, refrigerator magnets, and can koozies are great ideas. One of the most effective ways for music fans to support their favorite local artists is wearing their shirts wherever they go. An eye catching apparel design can start up conversations with both friends and strangers alike. Subsequently, this investment would make a great way to help spread the word about your own brand.
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Do you need a band merch artist? Let’s work together to find your perfect fit. Contact me today if your indie band or record label needs a rad shirt design of your very own!
Pick it up!The Rough Customers are Lexington, KY’s only third wave ska band – as far as we know! In 2014, my band at the time Analog Apostles performed with them and Nashville, TN soul rockers Ravenhill. Ravenhill made a tour stop in Lexington at the Sidecar, next door to Al’s Bar. The Rough Customers’ live show is all about fun, and that’s the vibe I was going for with this concert poster design.
Large format concert poster design
The featured photo of the classic pin-up girl and phonograph was given a “washed out” effect, which I made by reducing the colors using Adobe Illustrator. I then added the hypnotizing bright blue swirl in the background to enhance the kitsch factor. I lettered the bands’ names in a watermelon red using the retro “Badaboom” font, since it always signals good times. Additionally, I used the “Cherry Cream Soda” font for the other text, completing the poster’s vintage 50s feel. Finally, I added a QR code to the concert poster design so that potential concert goers could RSVP to the event on Facebook by scanning the poster with their smartphones.
The Rough Customers never disappoint when they take the stage, and always draw a big crowd. This show was definitely no different, since we filled the small room to capacity. I would like to think that my eye catching design helped with that aspect. I always design and print my 11×17″ posters to promote shows and other events that I put together. The large format gives me more canvas to play with. It is also more eye catching than a letter sized flyer when hung in store windows.
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