Keepsake Design

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Keepsake Design

We’ve all been to a gig that’s stayed in our mind forever, perhaps it’s even changed our life. While it’s great to get T-shirts to commemorate such a memory, sometimes you want something a little bit more special and unique. That’s where Keepsake Design comes in. Created by Sydney illustrator Annie Walter and Melbourne art director Mark Van De Beek, the two are helping people relive gig memories and honour their favourite bands in the form of limited edition gig posters.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time out to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Mark: No worries! Thanks for having us. We’re both fantastic, this Tame Impala job has just finished up and we’re still on a high from that!
Annie: Right now, I’m over in NY enjoying a well-deserved holiday.
Mark: And I’m wishing I was in Annie’s shoes! We’ve got a handful of great jobs on the go, including designing and branding an outdoor festival in Lithuania (of all places!) so we’re definitely keeping busy.
First things first, what got you into creating limited edition gig posters? 
Mark: Our love for the music scene and for quality, collectable artwork. I remember buying one of my first screen printed posters – which was a Ken Taylor ‘Afghan Whigs’ poster. I didn’t even know who the band were, I just loved the illustration! (laughs)
Attending gigs must be a pretty important aspect of your life to step into making posters. Have you had a favourite gig over the years? 
Mark: Yes! I’ve been going to shows since I snuck into an over-age Slipknot gig at The Palace 10 or 12 years ago. There’s been a handful of memorable ones, but the one that stands out the most was Graveyard (Swe) performing to a sold out 200-capacity room. There were people standing all over the bar and hanging from the roof – it was manic! The set was incredible too and I ended up drinking beers with the band until around 5am.
Do you have much of a gig-poster collection at home?
Annie: At this stage, it’s probably more of a library (laughs). We try to collect pieces from our favourite artists and also bands that we really love. Between us we’ve got a Rhys Cooper QOTSA print, and a really cool Chris Hopewell Eagles Of Death Metal print, a personally-signed Mariachi El Bronx print and a few other cool ones too.
You’ve created some posters for some pretty big name bands, what’s the process like of creating the idea? Are the band heavily involved in the creative process? 
Mark: Surprisingly the bigger name bands usually aren’t that involved. They might provide rough guidelines and a strict, ‘We don’t want any of these..’ list, but quite often they’re open to our artistic interpretation and trust our judgement. Our method differs from a lot of other designers in that we like getting our artwork to the 2/3 completion point before we show the client. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone (laughs) but we’re quietly confident in our ability to visually interpret a band, so it seems to work well for us!
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The Tame Impala poster in particular is incredible (again, they all are), do you feel a lot of pressure to capture the essence of the band in one image? 
Mark: Why thank you! When working with someone as popular as Tame Impala (especially within the poster scene) the pressure is definitely present. Luckily with the psychedelic genre, you can pretty much draw anything colourful and it’s going to do well (laughs). Funnily enough, the original image we put forward to the band was rejected, due to a miscommunication with the brief, and we had to rework the idea. Luckily for us the response we got from the final poster was incredible!
And how does the partnership between the two of you work in creating a poster, is a pretty even playing field in terms of input? 
Mark: We usually brainstorm and discuss ideas together, sometimes I’ll take the lead on the idea layout and sometimes Annie will, it really depends on the band we’re working for. Quite often I’ll take on more of an art directors role and Annie grabs the illustrator reigns. We can both handle each aspect quite well, which allows us to work with the other person’s skill set in mind. The hardest part is living between Melbourne and Sydney, so we usually have to email the design back and forth during the process (around 10-12 times) and provide each other with constant feedback and suggestions throughout.
Each poster does have immense detail to it, and I understand you both have a love for screenprinted art, is it difficult transferring the detail in each image with screenprinting? 
Like you would not believe! (laughs) We’re in constant considering of the end result when we design these posters, as there are just some things that can’t be done with a limited colour palette. Luckily after a few ‘well-there’s-no-possible-way-to-screenprint-that’ moments, we seem to have a solid understanding of what will and won’t work. Setting up a poster to be screen-print ready is a whole other beast. But in short, even if you know what you’re doing, it can still take a good six to eight hours, four coffees and some broken desk items before it’s complete!
If you were to create a poster for yourself, what do you think is the best thing to represent you? 
Annie: That’s easy – a cat!
Mark: An old vintage toy robot. That’d be cool.
Thanks again for the chat, any last words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers? 
Mark: Thank you for the opportunity! Make friends with a framer.
If your wall needs filling or you need a gift for a friend, visit or search ‘keepsakedesign’ on Facebook and Instagram.