Heart Gig Poster

Role: Art Director, Illustrator

Timeframe: 4 weeks

Tools: Illustrator, Photoshop

Goals: Create a striking gig poster for past rock legends, Heart.

Parameters: 18×24, photo paper

Challenges: Redefine Heart for a new younger audience, while staying true to the original tone of the group.

Solution: Push an actual human heart into the foreground, with Heart’s logo burned in the heart. Represent the harsh realities of heartbreak, both as the afflicted and as one who doles out the pain. Info about the show is subtly reverse burned out from the charred bottom of the heart.

Tasked with the exciting project of creating a gig poster, I was ecstatic to design one for a much loved band, Heart. First order of business was to complete a visual moodboard based on what Heart made me feel while listening to their music. So while Barracuda and Dreamboat Annie played, I created a moodboard in a lucid dream style.


Heart represents a smoky room, in a dimly lit basement, music blaring and people swaying to the beat. Their music is gritty – and full of girl power. Their songs sing of love and lost, and revenge for a broken heart. Their music evokes a raw power, while still holding onto a strong femininity. Ann and Nancy Wilson make music that cuts straight to the heart, in a daring way. Thus I preceded to create a moodboard for this gig poster.


I knew I wanted to tell a story, a story of heartache and vengeance, and directed not only to their old fans, but inviting a new era of riot girls to rock with Heart. My first iteration has hands representing both Ann and Nancy Wilson, carelessly smoking a cigarette, and burning the remains of a heart in an ashtray. I wanted to convey that they have a hand in producing the carnage of love, whether heartbroken or not.



This poster met some criticism. Feedback suggested that this poster screamed of an anti-smoking ad. They wanted something grittier, and more badass, to convey the pure power of Heart. Upon suggestion I make the ‘burning’ of the heart even more apparent.



These iterations were too obvious. With the image of the heart repeated so many times, the piece lost its focus. The poster was getting grittier, but still not far enough yet. It was suggested that I focus on the heart itself, letting the copy be burned into it.


Finally I was getting closer. The rawness of heartache was finally well captured, but I still struggled with the secondary text. Upon advice I decided that all copy should be burned into the flesh of the heart, making a striking image that played well to the tone and mood of Heart.


Finally, I can successfully say I did Heart justice. The monotone pink speaks to their femininity and the seared heart speaks to their awesome girl power and prowess. Barracuda indeed!

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