Printed on French: A Conversation with Andy Bird

Printed on French: A Conversation with Andy Bird

How did you get your start with creating concert posters?

The first concert posters I created were for my own bands in High School. At the time they were just printed on my computer printer and photocopied. When I founded Friendly Arctic Printing & Design, in Nashville, TN back in 2008 I set out to create a print company that could offer both t-shirts and posters, screen printed with water-based inks.

The funny thing about that was that I had never sold a screen-printed poster job before when we started. It was a process of figuring out the design and print side of posters which took a bit of trial and error. Eventually, I got connected to a local music festival here in Nashville called Live On The Green and they let me design and print their festival merch which included my first series of screen-printed concert posters back in 2011. 

Printed on:  Kraft-Tone Index Off-White 100lb.Cover

What is a key focal point in a poster when it comes to connecting with the audience?

With every project, I’m constantly trying to walk the line between several considerations at once. I’m working to imagine the person who will be buying the print and want to hang this art on their wall. I’m working to bring a visual language to another artist’s musical work and give some kind of representation of their sound. And lastly, I’m trying to bring in my own artistic style that can lend a unique perspective to the musical experience.

Printed on: Pop-Tone Lemon Drop 100lb. Cover


  How do you stay inspired and motivated in your work as an illustrator/ designer?

To be honest, I don’t think about inspiration all that much or at least the idea of staying inspired. Having made art professionally for years now it feels more like a practice of opening myself up and trying to do the best work I can each time I sit down with a new project. When I begin a project, I spend a lot of time thinking about the concept and try to let it flow naturally out of me. Sometimes it’s natural and an idea comes quickly and other times it’s a process where I just have to show up and start sketching something and hope that it works.

Jason Isabel on Timber Green

Printed on: Constuction Timber Green 100 lb. Cover

When it comes to deciding color palette how important is the color of the paper?

Because I’m almost always screen printing my posters, it’s important to me to keep the number of ink colors low. For the longest time, I wouldn’t let myself design a poster that was more than 3 ink colors, so I always worked hard to include the paper color heavily into my color palette so that I could be as efficient as possible on the printing side of production.

When did you first discover French Paper?

I was introduced to French back in 2008 when I was starting FA by my dad, who spent his entire career in the paper industry. He never worked for French but always spoke highly of your paper and company as a whole. Back in 2009 or 10, my dad was talking to Brian French about my tiny garage shop and Brian ended up stopping by my house with a huge bag of posters, swatch cards, and other French goodies when he was in town for a trade show. I’m not sure if he would have any recollection of that day but I’ve been hooked on French products ever since.

Your concert posters are very diverse regarding music genres, do you have a favorite genre overall?

Honestly, I love working on projects for artists in different genres because it allows me to keep my work interesting and diverse as I’m trying to put together designs that work for each particular artist. I also love listening to many different styles of music. I have a particular sweet spot for early electronic music from the late 70s and early 80s, but I also love a ton of indie bands, early rock and roll, classic Motown, eclectic folk artists, old-school punk rock, and modern dance music. I’m kind of all over the place musically.

Taylor Swift Poster

Printed on:  Kraft-Tone Index Off-White 100lb.Cover

Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you're particularly excited about?

I have a ton of projects that I’m excited about at the moment, I’ve been creating posters for the last few years for Nissan Stadium here in Nashville, and my list for this season has included Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, and Chris Stapleton. I’m working on merch projects for Old Crow Medicine Show, Greensky Bluegrass, and Jason Isbell. One of my favorite collaborations I’ve had over the past few years has been creating and producing product lines for Tennessee State Parks which often include art prints of my illustrations. I’ve been very blessed over the years to have many incredible clients and artists that I’ve worked with.

 Tennessee State Park


Want to follow more of Andy Bird's work?

Check Andy out here:

Instagram: Andy Bird (@andybirddesign) • Instagram photos and videos

Website: Show Prints & Tee Shirts | Friendly Arctic Retail Shop (

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