Designing a Speculative Tour Poster

September 18, 2019Designing Club Cultures

The Prompt

Create a speculative concert/tour poster for a music artist of your choosing.

My Chosen Artist

I decided to choose Rina Sawayama for my artist of choice. She is a Japanese-English singer-songwriter who has recently come out as pansexual, and has become sort of an icon of representation for queer Asian women who grow up in Western societies like in the UK or the US. To me, as someone who falls into this demographic, I find Rina and the culture of music she creates fascinating as a way to rewrite our representation in a world that previously has not made room for it. The sound of her music resembles that of early 2000s pop (think Britney Spears and NSync), and she repurposes it with messages about queerness, politics, and technology. A lot of the aesthetics around her music, the merch, and the graphic design also borrow the cyberpunk, turn-of-the-century visual elements from this time period.

When I grew up, Britney Spears was the first real music artist that I was aware of. I didn't really know of any big musical artists in the US who were Asian, and who looked like I did. I think for me, the appeal of Rina Sawayama's music and the visual culture around it is that it reimagines what it would be like if Asian Americans did grow up with pop stars as big as Britney Spears, who looked the way we did. The 2000s aesthetics is a way to transport us back into that time and write in that missing history.

My "Tour Poster"

Rina Sawayama's visual aesthetic is already pretty distinct, and I wanted to use the spirit of her style - which channels early 2000s graphic design and elements of collective childhood nostalgia - to create an interpretation of my own.

Tour poster

Type Choices

I used a Powerpuff Girls Font for the heading, because that personally captures an era of nostalgia and early 2000s aesthetics. I grew up watching Powerpuff Girls as a very young child - about the same time I became conscious of what Pop Music was. I also think the feminist undertones of the cartoon are really fitting for Sawayama's aesthetic.

I also used a free font called Magenta that I felt captured a cyber, 2000s look.

"3D Graphics"

I wanted to explore blobby, CGI aesthetics that were often used in graphic design during this time period. For this I used a tool called Sculpt GL, which easily allows you to sculpt a 3D object within the browser and add an image as a texture. My 3D knowledge is not the most elaborated at this point of my life, so I opted to use a quick tool as opposed to a more elaborate one. I screenshotted results from this online tool and photoshopped them to work within a poster.

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 3.36.56 PM

Other notes

  • I used a Matrix-like background and changed the colors - I definitely think the Matrix aesthetic is coming back into today's graphic design. I think there are also questions there about how repurposing those visuals can possibly ask questions about equality and representation in the "hacker" subculture.
  • I included some cherry blossoms to allude to Sawayama's coming out song, Cherry.
  • Unfortunately I got a bit lazy with the tour dates/cities and ended up copy and pasting repeated cities, so that's something I could go back and refine if I really wanted this to be a high-fidelity tour poster.
  • The image of Rina is from here: