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The Ultimate Collector’s Guide to Gig Posters

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How To Find Gig Posters and How To Shop For Frames

As an avid concert goer, I’ve been collecting gig posters over the last few years and often get questions about what I do with them. I assembled the ultimate collector’s guide with a few tips and tricks for finding and shopping for posters, as well as where to find the perfect frame.

Peter Frampton Poster
Double glass poster frame 18″x24″ from Michaels ~ Guide To Gig Posters

Gig Posters… What are those?

To start, a gig poster is a specialty poster that an artist or band collaborates with an artist to make, usually for an entire tour or a specific tour stop. You’ll see them frequently included in the merchandise booths at concerts you attend for popular bands. Pricing can range anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on the paper type, design, colors, or limited quantity available.

Gig poster collecting is a great alternative to getting a concert t-shirt that you might wear a few times then forget about as it gets lost in the back of your closet.

If loved properly, these special collector items can make a great addition to your home or office and they’ll serve as a daily reminder of a fun show you attended.

How and Where To Find Posters

  1. Live Gigs
    • This is probably the most obvious choice to finding any cool gig poster. Before a concert starts, I always browse the merchandise booths. Sometimes artists will showcase a localized gig poster on their social media prior to the show to build hype for sales. If this happens, try to snag your poster before the show starts. Artists & bands typically print limited copies for each live show so once they’re sold out, they’re out. Don’t wait until the end of the gig to purchase, otherwise you might miss your chance.
      • Tips for live gig poster purchases:
        • Ask the seller if a protective tube is available to keep the poster in so it doesn’t get damaged during the show.
        • Sometimes tubes are not available at shows. I try to remember to pack a few rubber bands so I can carefully roll the poster (without creasing it) to protect it while I’m still at venue. Sometimes the sellers with provide these.
        • Check with your local venue to see if they allow you to bring in an empty tube. This might be your safest bet to keep your poster protected before it even makes it to your home.
  2. Conventions / Art Fairs
    • Every year at SXSW, they host a Flatstock Fair in the Austin Convention Center. Loads of artists travel from all over the country to set up their booth to sell their posters. It’s such a cool experience getting to see different styles next to each other while getting to chat with the poster artists about how they came up with the design and any fun secrets about working with the band to design them. Flatstock usually runs a few days during the festival and I couldn’t recommend checking it out more. It’s the largest gathering of poster artists I’ve come across and truly features some incredible work.
    • Local art fairs are another great hunting ground for posters. While there might not be an abundance of artists working on concert posters in your area, you might be exposed to some other great music related art pieces. If you do stumble upon a local poster designer, talk to them about their work and see if they’re familiar with other artists in your area doing something similar.
  3. Pinterest
    • Pinterest is an awesome tool for getting inspiration on all things art. If you search ‘gig poster’ you’ll see thousands of designs from all over the world. It’s a great place to make a mood board, shopping wish list, and research designers. Most of the links you click on will take you directly to an artist’s website to purchase.
  4. Direct From Artist Websites
    • As mentioned above, purchasing gig posters from a designer’s website is sometimes an option. Designers have to get permission to sell band related posters outside of gigs, but when they do, they’ll likely be selling a limited number of prints directly on their website. This is probably the easiest way to support that designer directly from purchasing from their store. They’ll likely advertise any upcoming in-person events they’ll be at if you prefer to see the poster in person before purchasing.
  5. Direct From Band Websites
    • If a band is selling limited prints at their live shows and there is inventory left over when fans leave the building, artists/bands typically add those posters to their merch store. This gives fans that didn’t attend that particular show the chance to purchase or if you leave the venue regretting not making the purchase, this allows a second chance.
    • The American Poster Institute (a nonprofit corporation dedicated to serving poster artists and promoting the art form) curates the group of artists that participate in Flatstock events each year all around the world. Their website also highlights as a popular website to browse legit designs from artists that inspired their organization. This website hosts posters that are available from all over the world and offers different mediums for printing including canvas prints, framed prints, metal prints + more.
Gig Posters on Pinterest
Search ‘gig posters’ to shop on Pinterest ~ Guide to Gig Posters

How and Where To Find Frames

  1. Target
    • Target has a decent collection of simple frames suited for posters. I will say this is the best spot to find 11×17 frames, those seems to be harder to find for me. The selection for larger sized frames is smaller here but they carry basic (mostly plastic) frames that will get the job done.
  2. Michaels
    • I get a lot of my larger 18″x24″ (standard gig poster size) frames from Michaels. They have a better selection of sizes, colors, and frame options than other stores and I love the number of wooden frame options. You can typically find coupons for this store and that’s how I’d recommend purchasing here, otherwise they can be a little pricey depending on the style you go for. I rather save that money to fund more posters.
  3. Hobby Lobby
    • This store typically has a large selection of high quality frames to choose from and has sales on frames every few weeks. Subscribe to their email list or check out their weekly ad to track sales. I’ve had success with finding great 24″x36″ sizes here.
  4. Online
    • While it may be easy to google a particular sized frame you need and order it online, be weary. I’ve done this on a few occasions and always end up returning the frames and shopping in-store to get what I need. While it can be done, keep these things in mind:
      • Glass in the frames can break during shipping if not packaged correctly. Frame edges can chip too if not handled properly.
      • I once bought a frame online through a vendor on Amazon for pretty cheap. When it arrived, all of the hanging hardware was disconnected and required a drill to make holes in the frame. I don’t keep a drill at home and was unable to make the required adjustments with the tools I had to attach the provided hooks. I ended up using the frame to sit on a shelf for another piece of art and went out and purchased an already assembled frame I could actually hang.
  5. Thrift Stores
    • If you enjoy a good hunt, look no further than your neighborhood consignment store. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other mom & pop thrift stores are a great place to find used frames. You can pick them up usually around $1-$15, depending on the size. Once they’re home, just give them a good clean and you’ll be good as new. Also, consider donating any unused frames you may have sitting around to continue the cycle.
  6. Custom Framing
    • This is the most expensive choice, however, you’ll have more options with picking any background colors (mat), frame design, and not having to worry about handling the artwork in the frame itself. Michaels has a custom frame counter and sometimes you can find coupons on their website/app for discounts. I would recommend this option for any collector item posters as a custom frame job would likely provide a better sealed protection.
How To Frame Gig Posters Guide
18″x24″ Poster frames from Michaels. ~ Guide to Gig Posters

The Ultimate Guide to Gig Posters Tips and Tricks

  1. Check For Damages
    • Before bringing a poster home, inspect! It should be packaged in some sort of protective cardboard (usually). If you can, remove any packaging that’s covering frame edges that would be visible. Look for any unwanted scratches, dents, or damage that may have occurred.
  2. Hardware
    • Check the number of hanging hooks on the frames before purchasing. If you have the option between 1 center hook and 2 hooks side hooks, choose 1. It makes for a simpler hanging process and it’s easier to balance a straight line.
  3. Clean
    • Clean the glass on frames thoroughly to remove dirt and fingerprints before adding any posters. Make sure you let it air dry for a bit to avoid any moisture stains are the artwork itself.
  4. Unique Sized Poster
    • Have a weird size poster? Double glass frames work best for these to avoid the weird blank space between the poster and the frame.
  5. Hodgepodge Wall
    • Mix and match frames for a fun gallery wall. You can choose all black frames, wood, gold, etc. depending on your room design. I love mixing it up with different colors and frame thickness to create a hodgepodge gallery wall.
  6. Lighting
    • Pay attention to the the amount of light on the wall you choose to hang your posters on, no sense hanging beautiful things in a dark corner. However, be mindful of window light as the sun can fade artwork over time. Best to hang frames out of direct sunlight.
Simple track lighting is a simple option for posters not in direct light. You can find these at any home improvement or specialty lighting store. ~ Guide to Gig Posters

A few examples of framing and gallery walls from around ReverberateMUSIC HQ

I hope this Guide to Gig Posters can help build your collection and answer any questions around framing you may have had. If you have any further inquires, feel free to comment below.

Avid concert goer yourself? Check out some of our Industry Pulse Favorites from this summer.

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