Bruce Springsteen is coming to Broadway in October, but he’s making headlines already. Yesterday morning, tickets sold out within minutes and then immediately started appearing on other ticketing websites…for prices as high as $9,000.

The show is announced with a distinctive visual identity. This is the main graphic:

SpringsteenPoster
It’s a decidedly historic look, like a clip from an old newspaper or even a protest sign like the I AM A MAN sign from 1968.

SpringsteenIAmAMan

The sense of bold rebellion conveyed by classic protest posters make them a perfectly logical (yet unexpected) choice for representing Springsteen’s rock and roll beats. The vibe of this is tough, grungy, and loud, the way we remember Springsteen onstage. And it looks like something you’d see posted on the street…perhaps on the streets of Philadelphia.

The brilliance of this visual identity is that Springsteen’s performance will be a flashback, and the way it is advertised instantly makes it feel like front page headline news. The message is distilled to the fewest words possible, which magnifies Springsteen’s legendary status and the impressiveness of Broadway—you’d lose the effect with “BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN IS COMING TO A BROADWAY THEATRE STAGE IN NEW YORK CITY.”

The newsy effect is less pronounced in horizontal formats, which feature a squattier typeface (something in the direction of Franklin Gothic):

SpringsteenHoriz

Despite the change in faces, the look is cohesive. The narrow layout features condensed faces (his name is set in something similar to Schmalfette Grotesk, originally designed in 1954, and “BROADWAY” is something more condensed to accommodate the word length). The horizontal layout gets a wider face but one just as blocky. Everything is tightly kerned, resulting in a strong, solid look.

What I love about both of these examples is that “Springsteen” is literally placed on top of “Broadway”—the layout of the words matches their meaning.

But perhaps I’m reading too far into this, as the header banner on the site doesn’t carry this layered meaning:

SpringsteenSite


Photo credit for “I AM A Man”: Copley, Richard L. 1968. https://digital.library.wayne.edu/iamaman/items/show/179 License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/