I was in the mood to write and lay out something, so I wrote a concert guide. The tips are based on my own experiences, and some input from a more music-obsessed compatriot.

The guide was conceived as a booklet that could be mailed with tickets or perused in shops. Below is the layout I’ll be using for the main pages.

I kept it “hand-made” by keeping the illustrations scrappy, and the layout collage-like. Here’s the PDF of the latest version; read on for the visuals’ backstory.


The High Voltage guide is aimed at people going to general admission, high-energy type shows. To get a more concrete idea of who I’d be appealing to, I put together a music map of shows my audience might go to. Top-left are acts they’d definitely see—bottom-right are more unlikely picks.

Admittedly, that audience would include myself, so I referenced my own tastes and concert experience as well.

I ultimately chose to go with bright colors—definitely red—and look for ways to make it feel “hand-made.”


The icon is based on an electricity warning signs, with the arrow turned upside-down to indicate power rising (a.k.a., high voltage). I chose a pointed font (Jost) to match the iconography.

I wanted to create something bold and cool-toned, and I’ve been dying for an excuse to use a red-violet color scheme, so I first went with red and violet for the pages.

Following that, I decided to use the brighter color for the Do’s, to signify a higher charge, and the darker color for the Don’ts, to signify a dead battery. The font ended up larger than is typically acceptable for print, to make the letters more readable.

Eventually I accepted that the contrast was insufficient and let the violet dream die.

In the second iteration I used green instead—green to signify a charged battery, and red to signify a dead battery.

The text on the red pages is a slightly darker violet to increase readability. Body copy has been decreased to a more viable 12pt.

At this point, the guide’s looks neglected the original intent and just generally seemed…lame, so it was time to change things up.


Hand-drawn is hand-made, and, hey, I am an illustrator. I chose to add interest by adding illustrations.

For these images, I doodle on copy paper, scan it in, and add a drop shadow. In other words, I achieve a “hand-made” feel by keeping it scrappy. I leave the paper off-white where appropriate to maintain the drawings’ physicality.

Pairing the scrappy illustrations with a collage-like layout tied the look together. And, thus, we end up at the image below…


I aimed to put the more last-minute tips in front, and tips for earlier preppers last. I hope to make this guide into an online article at some point.


Thanks to Alex Fevry for some of this guide’s content.

September 20, 2018