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DKNG / Social Distortion | Ryan Cuthriell


DKNG, a leading graphic and poster design company, opened a Skillshare class for those that wanted to learn the art of gig poster design. Students of the class had to pick a favorite band, movie or event in which to turn into a promotional poster. For three weeks, there were several presentation phases in the class from initial concept development and sketches, revised sketches, illustrations and eventually the final design. Along the way, DKNG and the student community gave guidance and critique to help craft concepts to a completed poster.


I have a monster passion for music as well as great art & design so this assignment really struck a chord with me. I wanted to make something I was proud of and pushed me to get back to the sketchpad. I decided to make a poster for Social Distortion, one of my favs. For those that don’t know, they are the reigning godfathers of punk rock, hard rockabilly and flat out old rock ‘n’ roll. Mike Ness, their front man, is more than a lyrist, singer or even guitar player; when this man speaks, you have to listen. The grit-honesty and hard-luck tales of love lost, love found, and personal heartbreak are just on another level. A lot of their music hits home for me personally, and I am often nostalgic when I hear their songs.

To describe their sound: take the honesty of Johnny Cash, the ferocity of The Clash, the attitude of The Ramones and the aggression of Bad Religion—shake it up and you have Social D. They embody the style of a hot rod and the rebellion of Elvis Presley. I’ve had the pleasure to see them live a few times and it was always amazing. This poster was for the show I saw them perform last, in Myrtle Beach, at the House of Blues in November of 2012.


Although my poster wasn’t completely done at the time the class ended (I continued to polish my poster), I’m happy to report it was selected as one of DKNG’s favorites of the class and was showcased on the DKNG blog. I’m quite proud. It was an great experience and I can’t wait to design my next poster.

View the DKNG blog post about the class and see the class posters Tumblr page of all class posters