1980’s Punk Posters

One attribute surrounding the punk movement during the 1970’s-1980’s was the desire to remain outside of the music industry and any mainstream channels. Because of this, a lot of ads for shows were hand made. The posters were hand drawn or collaged and printed in black and white on 8.5×11 paper. They were then taped to telephone poles, buildings, or any other surface. These posters were only meant to last a few days until something else was inevitably stapled over them.

This casual DIY style reflected the immediacy of last minute performances while also having an air of social rebellion. Hand lettering, rub down lettering, and ransom note lettering added to this “thrown together” aesthetic. Some of the posters had political undertones while others were funny and graphic.

The posters weren’t exclusively used to advertise gigs and other music related events, but also reflected how artists were feeling during the time Ronald Reagan was president. Lots of posters featured Reagan and were very political. Regardless of the subject of the posters, they were always highly graphic and eye catching, even if they were void of colour.

Punks were making their own media, such as zines in addition to posters, that highlighted disposability and in this time it seemed like the ultimate defiance as well as another channel of self expression. They were cheap to make and didn’t need to take hours of designing to create, making them accessible to anyone with an idea. In a time where everyone was thinking “Fuck the rules!” there was an abundance of creative freedom.