Paradiso / Paradisco
January 1996
Paradisco flyers
Paradiso (Amsterdam)
Between 1995 and 1999, we designed various posters and flyers for Paradiso, Amsterdam's premier rock venue. Paradiso plays an important role in the recent history of Amsterdam, and in Dutch counter- and rock-culture in general, so it is a real honour to have been involved with this place. It also has a rich history of graphic design (Martin Kaye’s amazing concert posters, to name one example), so we're proud to stand in that tradition.

One of the first series we developed for Paradiso were the flyers for Paradisco, a regular club night organized by record label Topnotch (then consisting of Dennis Polak, Kees de Koning en Daria Cohen). The first Paradisco flyer appeared towards the end of 1995, and the final flyer somewhere in 1999. In between, we designed dozens and dozens of flyers for Paradisco.

Our plan was to design a flyer that you could put in your pocket or wallet, and just keep with you, in a completely natural way. We also thought it would be a good idea to make a flyer in exactly the same size as a Paradiso membership card, which had the size of a regular creditcard; that way, people would keep the flyer together with their membership card.

As for the images that we used on the flyers, we saw the cards pretty much as frames, or slides. We mainly showed ‘found footage’, which we scanned from vintage magazines. In the beginning, we focused mainly on material from the 70s and 80s; after all, the theme of Paradisco was disco. Later, we began experimenting more with the choice of material, and the link with disco totally disappeared.
Another thing we were playing with was the way in which the front and back related to each other. We always tried to come up with a little visual story that could be told in two images.

Below a small selection of cards we designed between 1995 and 1998. First we show the fronts:


And then we show the backs:
By the way, we also designed the little Paradisco logo shown on these cards; we think it still looks kinda okay, if we’re honest.

As we already wrote, the material we used consisted mainly of images that we quoted from other sources (in a sense, the flyers almost functioned as a ‘FFFFound avant-la-lettre’ for us). At that time, we were very much influenced by Richard Prince, and his ‘appropriation art’, his way of recontextualizing existing images. In retrospect, we were totally irresponsible, copyright-wise; with the knowledge that we have now, we would have never done it this way. But it has to be said, it was a very good way to learn about image, text and placement. At that time, we were still students at the Rietveld Academy, so in many ways we see these cards as students' work, as graphic exercises.

In 1999, we wanted to break loose from that whole trap of found material, and we tried to come up with a new concept for the cards. We asked photographer Afra Veerman to make photographs of Paradisco visitors, and placed those snapshots on the cards. (These cards are not shown here; we haven't documented them yet). The concept was interesting, Afra’s photos were excellent, but somehow the old cards looked better. It's strange how these things work.

Anyway. What we liked about the Paradisco flyers was the fact that they became such a visual part of the Amsterdam cityscape. Every weekend, all record- and clothing-stores carried stacks of new flyers, and people really started noticing and collecting them.
To be honest, we were not so much interested in the music that was played at Paradisco, but that didn’t really matter to us. In fact, we always believed that, as a graphic designer, it is actually a good thing to be slightly disconnected from the subject you are covering. Our example has always been Reid Miles, who designed iconic jazz sleeves for Blue Note, while he in fact hated jazz. We sometimes really think it is distance, and not engagement, that makes the designer.

Another thing we still like about these cards is the notion of the-design-as-an-object, a concept that still plays a big part in our work. By rounding the corners of the cards, the flyers immediately became real objects. We suddenly realized we weren't just creating images, but producing actual objects. Since then, we have always tried to emphasize, in our work, the physical dimension of printed matter (through folding, perforating, cutting, etc.).

Other things we designed for Paradiso include the three-weekly program posters (see Paradiso / Program poster) and the Bassline flyers (see Paradiso / Bassline).

Paradisco flyers printed by Drukkerij Heijt, Amsterdam.

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Printed matter

( c ) 1997 – 2024