The history of flyer design can be traced back as far as the 16th century to a method of promotion
which in itself is a centuries old art and takes the form of poster design. With an improvement in
lithograph printing came the birth of the colourful poster as a method to astound as well as
advertise. From Toulouse-Lautrec’s first poster Moulin Rouge, the poster was to be appreciated
as a piece of fine art. Between the end of the 19th century and the end of World War II there had
been many highly successful and prominent uses of the poster in promoting everything from
Absinthe in Paris
to American conscription
with the inspired "I want you " Uncle Sam posters.
In the sixties the flyer design began as a colourful and popular method of mass advertising for
those promoters on a low budget and became increasingly popular as psychedelic imagery was
incorporated into the design to promote bands The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Pink Floyd.
From the idealistic and mind altering imagery of the 60s came the photocopied and anarchic punk
flyers used by punk bands in Britain such as The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks. The anarchic
designs seemed to fit the mood as monotone flyers using ripped pages and DM boots were
distributed amongst the punk population.
With the birth of electronic dance music came a new wave of design which would lead to the
flyer designs of the present day. Inspired by the Ecstasy fueled nights and early mornings of raves
across Britain the designs usually took the form of hedonistic and surreal imagery with large use
of colour and a strong spiritual element pervading throughout these early flyer designs.
Everything from 3D vectors to fractal shapes were mixed with staring eyes and dancing figures to
promote events such as Fantazia and Rezurrection.
And so to the present where flyer and poster design uses a mixture of traditional and modern art
and features in galleries and exhibitions across the world. The club flyer
is more popular now as a
method of promotion as it ever was. Until the purely digital e-flyer design can replace the
printed flyer in accessibility and popularity, flyer design and printing is alive and well.