Designer Mikey Lavi’s Poster for Rock Band The National

From Poster Art to Gig Swag: How Mikey Lavi’s Design for The National Transformed into Must-Have Tour Merchandise

For fans of The National, the iconic American rock band with a rich appreciation for graphic design and gig posters, Mikey Lavi‘s poster for their 2022 concert at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee was not to be missed. Lavi was commissioned to design a limited edition poster for the show and drew inspiration from Wisconsin’s state bird, the American Robin, to symbolize the delicate and fragile aspects of The National’s music. This poster design, with its stunning imagery and thoughtful symbolism is his contender for the Poster 2024 Awards. Read on to learn more about Mikey Lavi’s creative process and the poster design that captured the hearts of the band, fans, and design enthusiasts alike.

By Mikey Lavi

The National is a much beloved Grammy® Award-winning American rock band with a rich appreciation for graphic design and love of gig posters. For each date of their 2022 tour, they commissioned a limited edition screen-printed gig poster. Each one was designed by a different artist, all of whom were hand-picked by the band.

I was commissioned to design a poster for their concert at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As with most gig posters, my approach is to tap into a recognizable sentiment behind the band’s music when possible, give the nod to the location, and do it in my signature style that appealed to the band in the first place.

In the case of “The National – Live in Milwaukee“, the design was inspired by Wisconsin’s state bird, the American robin, and is meant to symbolize the delicate, vulnerable, and fragile aspects of the band’s music. Formed through thumbnail sketches and vector images, then realized through screen printing, the process was straightforward and well-received by the band.

The fan reaction was overwhelmingly positive, having completely sold out of the posters the night of the concert. With such a great outcome, we went on to print a 2nd edition in an alternate colorway available exclusively through Cherry Tree (the band’s official fan club) and then adapted the design for tee shirts.

About Mikey Lavi

Mikey Lavi is a multidisciplinary designer and illustrator based in Montreal, Canada. He believes relationships, humor, and thoughtfulness are fundamental to great design (and life!). Mikey’s illustration style is driven by clear geometry, bold colors, and whimsy. Working primarily in music, he’s been commissioned by Young the Giant, Noah Kahan, Dayglow, Republic Records, AWAL, and more.

If you would like to submit your work to our Poster 2024 Awards competition, click here.

Author: Graphis