Mike Joyce Swissted concert posters

Mike Joyce-photo by Reynard Li

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Poster Punk

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

It started as an experiment. Mike Joyce, who has designed album packaging for the likes of Iggy Pop and Katy Perry, wanted to see what would happen if he married the sneer of punk rock with the structure of Swiss design in poster form. When he started showing his posters online, 50,000 people checked them out in the first week. “It was amazing to hear from so many people who wanted every single one of them in print form,” says Joyce, “so I thought a large art book would be the best way to achieve that.”

DB: What attracts you to Swiss modernist design, and how did you see it relating to these rock concert posters?
Mike Joyce: I thought the contrast of the minimalist and structured International Typographic Style versus the anarchic ethos of the punk movement would make for an interesting exploration. I think there’s a common thread between the two art forms: The Swiss modernists purged extraneous decoration to create crystal clear communication, while punk took bloated, self-indulgent rock-and-roll and stripped it to its core.

DB: Once upon a time did you want to be a musician, or did you always see yourself more aligned with the visual side of music?
MJ: I was the kid who was more interested in sanding down my skateboard to paint my own graphics on it than actually riding the thing. And the same went for music—I designed flyers, T-shirts, cassette demos, and even a few tattoos for my musician friends back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I was always just as inspired by album art as I was the actual recorded album.

DB: Where do you see the art of album packaging headed?
MJ: I love that vinyl has made a comeback and there are still a lot of labels doing great packaging. To this day I meet young people who crave album package design and feel sort of cheated that their generation has missed out on that art form a bit. We had double gatefold 12-inch sleeves with colored vinyl and they get a 100 pixel square jpeg to look at.”

Swissted: Vintage Rock Posters Remixed and Reimagined (Quirk Books, $40) collects 200 micro-perforated, ready-to-frame concert posters featuring legendary indie, alternative, and punk bands from the ’70s to the ’90s.

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