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Screen Printing and T-shirt Design for Music Festivals and Bands


Screen printing, music festivals and bands: If you’re a music lover you probably noticed 2013 was a great year for summer music festivals around the globe; from Barcelona to Austin, millions have gone wild to the sound of their favourite bands live. After those glorious moments and melodies spent singing along with the rest of the crowd, I bet you couldn’t resist stopping by the festival shop tents to see how to spend that money that didn’t go on beers, right? I can’t think of a single music lover that doesn’t fancy bands and festivals merchandising.
Within that wonderful sea of colourful T-shirts, albums, bags and posters, you can’t help but notice that usually all the the official merchandising products are very similar, in a way. If not using the artist’s own hand draw sketches (most of them are very skilled!), music visual identity pieces are done by illustrators and designers hired by art directors of marketing agencies. They all use colours, typography and original illustrations to give the band (or a specific album) a unique personality.
Festivals brand identity and the Coachella Boutique

Lately there has been a significant increase in how music festivals deal with their visual identity as well – it’s been getting stronger from a marketing perspective, making it more interesting to see what’s going to come next year. This year, the creative director forPrimavera Sound, André Cruz, created a modular and metamorphic triangle block system to represent the diversity of the event’s attendees and the eclectic mix of their lineup. And like with every big event, taking good care of the brand image is also a way of selling significant amounts of promotional merchandising later on.

Spending more effort on having a great official shop inside of the festival can also make the difference when it comes to how visitors relate with the brand. A good example of this is the work developed by art director Edoardo Chavarin – alongside a team of designers and collaborators – for Coachella Boutique 2013; a space inside the festival grounds was dedicated to limited edition merchandise and artist/brand collaborations. If you went to the festival shop, you saw lots of all over prints (that appears to be trending lately) and bunches of screen printed T-shirts. The organisation even made it possible for people to screen printand buy personalised T-shirts live at the shop. Besides the unique experience you get from choosing your screens and the order they’re gonna be printed on the top of each other, the quality and long lasting finish it gives (besides looking awesome!) makes screen printing a huge must-have at any music event – even if just printing T-shirts in advance for selling.

Band merch
Band merchandising follows the same path, with the idea to sell at concerts and online. It’s difficult to find one music project that never printed promotional T-shirts, hoodies, tote bags or even posters (screen printing on fine paper is a killer for designers eyes and music lovers). They’re beautiful souvenirs or gifts for any music fan to be proud to have around the house. The funny thing is that, although it involves initial setup costs (one screen per design color, plus a base layer to print onto coloured garments to ensure vibrancy), the end price of screen printing is always going to be the lowest when producing bulk orders – it also offers the best quality print. Choosing the right garment is equally important, after all nobody wants to see all those dear memories of one festival on a warm summer’s day getting teared sooner than expected.
Here we got some examples of merchandising from indie bands like Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Local Natives and the australian Tonight Alive:

At this point there are two things I’m looking forward for next year’s festivals: let the lineups be awesome in a festival close to me, and don’t stop getting creative when it comes down to powering your festival brand. As a design, music and merchandising lover, I’d thank you.
The designs are fantastic! I usually find most music festival merchandise is quite similar and that can get really boring. The great designs and bold colours really liven things up...I would definitely buy one of the t-shirts showcased here if I was at a festival.