Though you might think that gig posters and flyers are a relic of a forgotten age, in many locales they are still quite useful for publicity and are still considered basic merch items. However, digital flyers are a growing phenomenon that take the old school poster and update it for web and mobile distribution. Here are some resources for getting into the digital flyer game with some closing thoughts about revitalizing offline gig posters with QR codes for a mix of the tangible and digital.
Creating Your Digital Poster
A wide range of resources for creating digital posters are now available and many artists are creating art in digital form. But you don't have to be a great artist to scan some homemade art or upload a digital photograph. Once you have an image with which to work, there are some interesting tools available with which to create your gig poster:
Thinglink is a great choice for taking digital art and embedding interactive content as did Simple Plan using their album cover art. They're continually adding embed options, from audio to ecommerce, so they offer a way to take a poster and turn it into a much richer format.
Smore, a web service that's still in private beta, allows you to create an online flyer with a simple page builder. The offering looks impressive and includes instant mobile pages and rich content embedding making it a potentially powerful tool.
Distributing Your Gig Poster
Given the proliferation of social networks and photo sharing sites, there's a huge range of options for distributing your digital gig poster and benefitting from the possiblity of viral popularity. Tumblr is a natural for this sort of thing because users focus on sharing visual images.
Flickr offers another form of distribution. For example, Phoster users have a Flickr pool that can put your graphic masterpiece in front of people that appreciate imagery for its own sake with reach beyond your current social network friends and followers.
GigPosters.com is a quite relevant way to get life out of your posters beyond event expiration dates, whether it's a photo of a physical poster or a digitally generated piece of flyer art. Though there are ecommerce options on the site, the big draw is the option to upload poster art and offer it for free distribution on the web.
Old School Meets New School
QR codes, bar codes and near field communication are also revitalizing the physical poster scene with mobile upgrades. The possiblities are quite extensive and open up the offline world to digital interaction. Since physical posters are also posted at shows, one can also take the example of Jamiroquai's use of NFC posters to share mobile content at their performances.
Clearly offline art and marketing will continue to provide inspiration for digital creations and practices. But keep in mind that as digital communication continues to dominate the scene, the appearance of an old school flyer will take on fresh, tangible meaning just as live performances will continue to provide visceral experiences.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.