5 Seconds of Summer understands the importance of good merch. From hoodies to necklaces to bandanas and calendars -- the guys have it all. So when they started their trek across Europe on the Rock Out With Your Socks Out Tour, they decided to call in reinforcements. They were going to put out exclusive, limited edition posters for each city they play, so they enlisted the coolest designers in the biz.
Tom Gordon is their guy. He's designed for everyone from Paul McCartney to Taking Back Sunday to Katy Perry, and has been working with 5SOS for a while -- most recently designing a cartoon skull with hearts for eyes, which became a primary asset. He describes the new branding as "one big happy accident."
"I was designing some lanyard/tour pass things for the guys and I made this little skull doodle, which the guys really liked," he told MTV News. "It was a part of a merchandise presentation we were putting together and the band really picked up on this tiny skull doodle. They asked me to develop it a bit more, and the next thing I knew, it was in their brand guide as a primary asset along with some other pieces I had made."
As for the posters -- some of them incorporate the skull -- there are only 100 of them at each venue, so fans have to be speedy if they want them. The band has been revealing each poster on Twitter the night before the concert. We checked in with the designers to see what it's like creating for 5SOS.
"The band and their team just told me to 'do my thing' for the posters," he said, describing how the whole process of creating the posters came about.
"I have always really enjoyed working with the guys on their designs because we seem to share the same vision. I love that they are pop punk/alternative guys with this split audience of alternative people and full-on fan girls, so there’s this constant need to please both parties. I think the guys are more into the whole punk-rock, skull imagery, whereas a large portion of their fan base are into the more mainstream look that the band started off with. It’s a really fun process to be a part of and it allows for a lot of scope creatively."
Rodney 'Vertebrae33' Githens usually goes super metal for his designs, working for bands like Slayer and Motorhead, but that doesn't mean he didn't want to try his hand at a pop punk band. He played off Gordon's design, but gave it a darker -- more anatomical -- twist. He admitted that he asked his friend's daughter for help on what's cool.
"My work skews really really dark," he said, calling MTV News from his in-home studio in New York. "These guys are punky-ish, a little poppier, so for this poster, I wanted to go brighter and they have an image that they use now with the hearts and the skull. That's what I was going for -- just to throw the real human hearts in there. Little bit more of an edge."
5SOS' image pulls a little bit from the past, Vertebrae33 said. The guys are famous for wearing retro band T-shirts, getting inspiration Blink 182 or Green Day. The designs reflect that.
"A lot of younger bands will grab stuff that happened before and repurpose it and do it in a different way," he said. "So it's sort of like wearing a different type of jeans and they come back in style, and if you're still wearing them, you're back on the thing again -- back in style."
Jack Woodward is the designer behind Wilderness Apparel -- a clothing brand 5SOS has rocked in the past. Although his poster's symbols look like they may have a deeper meaning, Woodward told me that they're simply aesthetic. He used Sweden's colors to represent Stockholm.
"It just stems from Wilderness' core look, which I've had for years, long before anyone started shouting 'Illuminati,'" he said. "Also, [it stems from] a love of this type of graphic, symmetrical, horoscope style and, of course, my obsession with all things tattoo."
Check out the work from the other designers!
Which poster is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!