Mar 7, 2013

Swissted: Punk Rock Posters in Swiss Modernist Style

Mike Joyce has been creating amazingly cool CD covers, music packaging, and posters for years through his work at Stereotype Design. His side project has been Swissted, his effort to recreate classic punk rock gig posters from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, in Swiss Modernist style. Now there’s a brilliant collection of the best of these posters in book form.

With Swissted, Joyce takes the raw, ragged xeroxed posters that he loved in his youth growing up outside Albany, NY, and reimagines them using only Akzidenz Grotesk medium lowercase type and graphic elements. It’s a typography and design geek’s dream! Bands like Fear, the Germs, Social Distortion, Black Flag, and the Minutement are given precise, geometric treatments, complete with opening acts and gig dates and locations. Joyce also includes homages to more mainstream and new wave bands like the Clash, R.E.M., and the Smiths, but you can see his heart lies with the thrashing sounds (and funky poster design) of hardcore punk rock.

This is a big, oversized book (11 x 14 inches), with over 200 posters. Best of all, the pages are perforated, so you can tear them out and hang them on your wall (Joyce suggests framing, but I’m guessing most folks will be like me and just tack or tape them up, although staple-gunning would be most appropriate…) Another nice thing about Swissted is the way the posters are displayed. Unlike a lot of graphic design books, there’s no excess decoration, art direction, text, or white space. Like the Swiss design it references, Swissted is muscular and minimal in its design; it’s all about the posters, which take up full pages in the book.

In the book’s introduction, Joyce describes how he linked these two art forms together: “The Swiss modernists purged extraneous decoration to create crystal-clear communication, while punk rock took on bloated self-indulgent rock and roll and stripped it to its core. Both created something new, powerful, timeless.”

You can get a copy of Swissted here, or check out Joyce’s website for more examples. If you’re like me, you’re going to need two copies of this book–one for ripping out posters, and one to save.

See an edited set of 30 of the best Swissted posters here.