Despite only discovering design softwares in 2019, Gabriel Picard has produced event posters for artists all over the world: from house events in Glasgow and DJ tours around Mexico to music weeks in Melbourne. With his visually arresting 80s-influenced style and his ability to go above and beyond his brief, it’s no surprise his work is in such demand. Inspired by designers similarly synonymous with the world of music, such as the Tame Impala cover designer Robert Beatty and Aaron Lowell Denton, Gabriel feels most at home when designing for music. “I’ve always had a special connection with music,” says the designer, who is based in Saint-Brieuc in northwestern France, “and I’m happy to be able to get closer to it through the design.”
Yet while Gabriel mainly owes his inspirations to music, his first stylistic muse came in the form of the science and science fiction magazine Omni. “I really fell in love with retro when I discovered the Omni magazine covers,” he says. “The format of a poster is perfect for this style, hang it on a wall and it stands out right away.” With the magazine’s airbrush effects, space iconography and bold colour contrasts, it’s not hard to see how they have informed Gabriel’s work. But, inspirations aside, Gabriel likes to keep his practice simple and allow himself to be guided by his own creativity. All he really needs to get going, he tells us, is “a computer, a tea and my earphones!”.
When he’s designing, Gabriel replicates certain patterns and signage as a means of creating a trademark style. Keeping “geometric shapes, abstract shapes and airbrush” as a central feature throughout his work allows him to form this sense of consistency. He also knows that the choice of colour palette often proves the most important part. But Gabriel is always aware of the limits of maintaining too rigid a style, especially when working with the music industry: “I have to take into account the musical genre, the retro can’t stick with everything. I wouldn’t say that each musical genre has its own visual domain that corresponds to it, but there are preferences.” This ability to manipulate his practice is best displayed in his poster for the DJ Fabrizio Mammarella’s 2021 Mexico – Colombia tour. Adopting less digital and more illustrative imagery, the poster portrays a convincing handprinted style and rougher, more organic technique.
With the pandemic reducing in-person live events, like many designers, Gabriel saw his main source of income significantly affected; he therefore turned to vinyl cover design. Luckily, this shift has proved a welcome and encouraging avenue for Gabriel. “There is no better feeling than receiving a vinyl that you have created,” he says. “It’s not just a musical support, it’s an aesthetic object.” In the hopes of maintaining this trajectory staying “creative and motivated” this year, Gabriel wants to take “more and more pleasure in creating things outside of projects” and sharing them online, because he wants to and not because he feels he “has” to. Also looking to take things in his own direction, he wants to begin selling his own prints. And, quite frankly, who wouldn't want one of Gabriel’s designs on their wall?
Gabriel Picard / Liorzh: Conexion presents Rave in Freuchie (Copyright © Liorzh, 2021)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.