The Graphic Designers Behind Salt Lake’s Music Scene
Salt Lake City’s music scene relies heavily on graphic designers to keep their names and shows on people’s minds. Creating unique posters, flyers, merch and album covers, Katya Pogodaeva and Tom Petersen have both curated impressive portfolios of design work for local artists and musicians, though they each have varied and unique approaches to creating their designs.
Pogodaeva’s start in the world of visual representation began about four years ago when she offered to design for a friend’s band. Since then, she’s designed shirts and flyers for bands such as indie rock group Hurtado and all-female punk band Saved by Sex. Petersen similarly shares a love for local music, designing for bands as a way to promote local musicians and as a personal creative outlet. His design career began with creating images for UPHERE! Records and he has designed for local indie rockers such as Dad Bod and Kipper Snack.
“I love analog, hands-on kind of things, and I incorporate it back into digital.”
For both designers, their research and inspiration starts at an event. “I mostly base [it on] my experience at the show. I really channel into that musical atmosphere and the people,” Pogodaeva says. From there, she asks for moodboards and the artists’ hopes for their design. This either leaves her with complete creative freedom or multiple iterations of the same concept. She says, “Just like fashion, there’s always something in style, [like] a certain font or certain color. Gradients and texture are huge right now.” When it comes to knowing if a design is perfect for an artists’ t-shirts and album covers, Petersen has a simple outlook. “Sometimes it’s nothing more than approval,” he says.
Pogodaeva says her style has been described as messy with boundaries, taking inspiration from friends, Japanese postcards and, of course, the music from the local bands she is designing for. She focuses heavily on mixing mediums and adding unexpected elements into her designs, such as layered images or moving elements on digital flyers. “I love analog, hands-on kind of things, and I incorporate it back into digital,” she says. Pogodaeva especially enjoys scanning objects to create unique prints and designs. For those who are unfamiliar, scans capture digitized images of objects with a unique texture and tone that differs from traditional photography. She says, “Seeing and finding small books and things, and getting really excited to scan them. I have a whole purse of receipts from my travels that I just want to scan.”
Petersen agrees that scanning is a fun, up-and-coming medium. “The other day I just went outside and started scanning stuff,” he says. He credits his own design motivation to a love of working with multiple mediums and states his favorite design is always whatever he’s doing next. When asked to pinpoint his personal design style, Petersen says his work is inspired from nostalgic PBS programs that felt life-changing to him. “I think it’s cartoonish, it’s goofy, it’s almost kind of punk,” he says. The two designers agree that social media is also a really great place to draw inspiration, swapping accounts of creators they find especially influential.
“I mostly base [it on] my experience at the show. I really channel into that musical atmosphere and the people.”
Petersen acknowledges that designing for local bands isn’t the highest-paying gig, but he chooses to create nonetheless. “I love local music so much. If I really love the project, I’m willing to work with what their budget is,” he says. “If it’s going to be fun and fulfilling for me, then that makes up the difference because it provided me an outlet to express myself and it was worth it in that regard.” Pogodaeva shares this perspective, often creating for friends’ projects and events with no expectations.
The two have designed for other local events outside of the music scene, including films, farmers markets and skate shops. You can find and support their work on Instagram @katya.loves.her.scanner and @tommyspngs.
Read more on local art and design in Utah:
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