Rave flyers in the 90’s

B/D Special Post: 90s rave flyers

Like how a lot of things “aren’t they way they used to be” these days, rave culture and visual cues that go along with it, aren’t the way they used to be (there’s a flyer from a more recent event after the jump). A one sentence summary of rave history: In the late 1980s, the word ‘rave’ was adopted to describe the subculture that grew out of the acid house movement. Activities were related to the party atmosphere of Ibiza, a Mediterranean island frequented by British and German youth on vacation.

What I think is awesome is that there are so many varieties of design approaches in these flyers- heavily illustrated, minimal typography, photographical. You can’t even tell that all these served the same purpose, whereas rave flyers today basically all look the same and probably use the same 10 steps in a Photoshop actions bundle (any readers have one?).Because they are minimal, they would have translated well to posters, banners, or even tees. I think the watering down of this scene could be comparable to the punk scene- degraded and chessified in both sound and visual design. I don’t know, this topic is definitely open to discussion- feel free to comment!

B/D Special post: 90s rave posters
B/D Special Post: 90s rave flyers
B/D Special Post: 90s rave flyers
B/D Special Post: 90s rave flyers
B/D Special Post: 90s rave flyers
B/D Special Post: 90s rave flyers
B/D Special post: 90s rave flyers
B/D Special Post: 90s rave flyers

(Images via user sioenroux and jackpot from Hyperreal, of which list I could have spent days looking at)

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  • junkel


  • lmno

    dear beautiful decay,
    it is so cheesy that you give such a shitty example considering present rave culture, where a lot of goods now still going on!
    for example:
    i agree that there are some rubbish but there are pretty nice flyers!

  • Fei


    You’re right, there are some cool flyers. I am in no way dogging all raves, nor am I claiming to be extremely knowledgeable about them. But those are the trends I’ve noticed particularly in Los Angeles, and that flyer was a particularly bad one. Thanks for that link though! there’s nice stuff on there.

  • rene

    Facebook page: Through The Looking Glass: a Journey through Los Angeles’ Rave History

  • The old flyers are definately the best!…and i think they will become more collectable in the future as a piece of social history from an underground sub culture which has never seen anything comparable since the rave scene – the last ‘proper’ organic movement from the streets in the last 20yrs. If you are into your oldskool rave flyers, then check out this old raver/ flyer designers site on uk ebay, http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/raveonart he sells original flyer art from the uk rave scene from back in the day – proper oldskool – look amazing! He does them on canvas, t shirts, backdrops etc – well worth a look!
    and quality is excellent!

  • I could not agree more. I do a lot of freelance design and probably about 99.5% of it is for raves. It’s extremely frustrating to basically degrade myself and be forced to produce the same generic garbage that every other “professional rave flyer” looks like.

    I just told a fellow designer friend of mine today that I’m about to just stop fulfilling design jobs that request this stuff. As good as the money is it’s stressful. A good designer who understands the basis of design cannot easily design stuff that looks this bad. It actually ends up taking me even longer to produce 3d rainbow vomit than it does to create a nice typographical layout (which is my preference).

    Anyhow… /rant. Glad to know that there are others out there that see the change in rave design and disapprove of it.

  • jason splat

    wow I just stumbled on this hatefest page.. thanks for trashing my Kandy Fest rave flyer design. I’m sure you are all way better designers than I am. Sarcasm.

    Its super cool that you all think so highly of yourselves. Real artists have respect for all forms of art, and don’t need to bash others to make themselves seem cooler.

    I’d love to see some examples of your awesome design work that is so much more ‘real’ than mine.

  • jason splat

    I’ll add that in the end, a flyer is ultimately a piece of commercial art. And in being such, it is fashioned to visually showcase the type of event it will be, so it will be a financially successful event.. Promoters ask for a certain look because it sells for them. it’s fun to pine for the good ol days where designs were more adventurous, in uncharted territory- but a decade later the scene has since become an industry and promoters want a certain look because it works for them.

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