Every month for three years, Helsinki-club Post Bar has commissioned a poster from local designers to big industry names

When commissioning a designer, there are no strict rules or guidelines. The only constraints are the size and colour palette, otherwise, the artist is given free rein. “We want to commission mostly local artists from different fields of art, from up and coming talents to old stagers,” says Justus. “But, we’ve always wanted to throw in some international talents every now and then.” For example, when Braulio designed the debut poster, it was a perfect pairing considering the founders had long been fans of the graphic designer’s output, with his “solid background” in the field proving to be a convincing start for the project. “Funny thing,” says Justus, “I remember when I received the first design from Braulio for the first-ever poster, it was something that I wasn’t ‘expecting’, and I tried to ask whether he could send me something different in addition.” Turns out, Braulio wasn’t all that pleased, and instead expressed his love for the initial idea and how it was fine if they didn’t want to use the work.
Having been in the making for the last three years now – or technically two, with a year postponed due to the pandemic – the two founders have of course witnessed a few changes over time. Post Bar’s graphic arm has evolved from hundreds of posters to a limited series, which has naturally given the project a more coveted feel. “At first, it wasn’t hugely popular,” explains Joni, “but slowly it turned into a thing. The most popular designs sell out in hours.” You can even see their posters used in Finnish reality TV shows and rented listings, “which is hilarious and super cool at the same time.” The Post Bar team is clearly doing something right, and with the world slowly but surely opening up again, we can expect nothing less than their fan base (and more) returning excitedly to get their hands on more recognisable artworks – and to listen to some good IRL music, too. “Some of our most loyal party goers have like ten of them at their homes which makes my heart cry,” Joni adds.
With such a vast collection of works in the archive, no two pieces are the same and there is quite literally something for everyone, from Aliina Kauranne’s grid-like poster of psychedelic platforms to Antti Kalevi’s deconstructed and squiggly fruit bowl. Other works are more tranquil, like Eeli Saaristo’s contribution of a sketchy landscape of a surfer, floating on their board and gazing out into the sunset and windmills in the distance. Meanwhile, others are photographic, like Pyry Pelkonen’s eery and magical snapshot of a pond. Some are also illustrative, such as Santeri Valtanen’s golden tinted artwork of fish moving around a net. And then there are the more 3D creations, like Matti Vilho’s abstract composition of a hand placed among a variety of shapes and colour. “I love that we have such a wide range of techniques, styles and niches represented in our series,” shares Joni.
“It was a lesson for myself and ever since,” he adds, “we’ve carried on with the idea of not giving artists any guidelines, but total freedom of expression. I loved the poster even more in the end. You could say that Braulio actually had quite an impact on what the concept is today.”