Flyer design history goes as far as the 16th century. It originated from a promotion method that makes use of poster design and is in itself a centuries old art form. The improvement in lithograph printing gave birth to colorful posters as a method of astounding people and a style of advertising. Shortly thereafter, posters were categorized as a fine art thanks to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge poster and Alphonse Mucha’s Art Noveau poster.
From the end of the 18th century to the conclusion of World War II, flyer design became a prominent method of promoting events and products. “I want you” Uncle Sam of the USA, The Circus in the UK, bullfighting in Spain, and Absinthe in Paris are just some of the vastly successful advertisings that employed poster designs in this period.
Flyer Design in the Music Scene
During the vibrant sixties, promoters on a low budget utilized colorful posters for mass advertising. The wide usage and incorporation of mind-blowing imagery led to the further popularization of posters as an advertising method. Psychedelic themes were found in poster designs of famous bands such as The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and The Doors.
Deviating from the colorful and mind-altering patterns of the sixties, British punk bands like The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks used photocopied and disarrayed flyers. The American punk scene, on the other hand, paved the way for monotonous flyer design that perfectly matched the music’s mood. The design used in promoting The New York Dolls and The Ramones among others reflected the punk culture as it showcased ripped pages, the Mohawk hairstyle, and DM boots imagery.
Contemporary Flyer Design
The birth of electric dance music brought with it a new wave of design. The modern flyer design owes its appearance to that design that came simultaneously with the electric dance music. During that time, the night life in Britain was raving. Taking inspiration from that trend, the dominant design features pleasure-seeking themes and surreal and colorful patterns. Fractal shapes and 3D vectors were incorporated with dancing figures and staring eyes to advertise events of dance organizations such as Fantazia, Rezurrection, and Amnesia. The flyer design associated with the rave culture highlighted a spiritual element.
Following a long history of transformation, the design has become more popular and accessible today. Galleries and exhibits across the world feature flyers as a form of artwork. Notably, contemporary flyer design combines traditional and modern art. Using printed flyers is the most common way of promoting events and conveying information to the public nowadays. With the development of technology, the design will likely replace this medium. When that happens, the growth and possibilities in flyer design will be limitless.
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