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Live Aid (1985) posters

Contributed by DAVIDE MOSCHINI on Jan 23rd, 2021. Artwork published in .
    “Live Aid: The Global Jukebox” poster, 1985. Design by Steve Maher.
    Source: https://movieposters.ha.com Heritage Auctions. License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Live Aid: The Global Jukebox” poster, 1985. Design by Steve Maher.

    The original poster for the Live Aid event was designed by Steve Maher based on the idea of Bob Geldof. The logo depicts a stylized silhouette of the African continent as the body of a guitar. The wordmark is based on caps from Gill Extra Bold, arranged in two lines aligned to the I’s, and integrated into the guitar’s neck. Demian (Letraset, 1984) is the script typeface used for “the Global Jukebox”. Flanked by a fork and a knife, the logo is shown as a chrome application on a jukebox that emerges from planet Earth.

    The venues are shown in red caps from Futura Condensed, while the date again uses outlined Gill Extra Bold with a chrome-like gradient fill. The lineup is set in six columns of tightly spaced Helvetica caps.

    Detail of the “Live Aid: The Global Jukebox” poster designed by Steve Maher, with the wordmark based on Gill Extra Bold.
    Source: https://movieposters.ha.com Heritage Auctions. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Detail of the “Live Aid: The Global Jukebox” poster designed by Steve Maher, with the wordmark based on Gill Extra Bold.

    Steve Maher is probably best known for his sci-fi and rock art endeavours. He created some of the iconic Rock imagery of the late 70s/early 80s, like art used by Status Quo, Iron Maiden, The Tubes, AC/DC, Motorhead and many others. Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof (5 October 1951) is an Irish singer-songwriter and the organizer of Live Aid concert.

    Live Aid was a benefit concert held on Saturday 13 July 1985. The event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, UK, attended by about 72,000 people, and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, US, attended by 89,484 people.

    On October 23rd, 1984, BBC News broadcast a report on the famine in Ethiopia, that already had cost hundreds of thousands of lives. In England Bob Geldof saw the documentary. He was shocked, angry, sad and decided to do something. He decided to rise fund with a single called “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with many famous artists (see the list at the end of this report).

    But this wasn’t enough for Bob. On May 1st, 1985, he set the plans for a concert in motion. It would eventually turn into a 16 hour concert extravaganza that would be broadcast in 100 countries and reach approximately 2 billion people.

    Bob Geldof explains, in his biography, that at some time in the project he was asked if he had a designed logo. He then illustrated in a simple drawing the idea of the “Global Jukebox”. This image was then redrawn by Steve Maher for T-shirts, posters, stage set design, TV ads …

    There were many different posters used for the event. In the version by ABC Radio Networks shown below, “LIVE AID” apparently was redrawn from Maher’s official logo, with small changes to the letterforms. The text in black is set in Futura Condensed Bold. All other text including the band names uses Italia Medium.

    For more information about Live Aid, see Bob Geldof’s Is That It? and the dedicated website at liveaid.free.fr.

    “Live Aid” poster by ABC Radio Networks, 1985. Designer unknown.
    Source: https://www.ewbankauctions.co.uk License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Live Aid” poster by ABC Radio Networks, 1985. Designer unknown.

    Detail from the “Live Aid” poster by ABC Radio Networks, 1985. Designer unknown.
    Source: https://www.liveauctioneers.com CooperOwen. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Detail from the “Live Aid” poster by ABC Radio Networks, 1985. Designer unknown.

    Typefaces

    • Gill Sans
    • Demian
    • Futura Condensed
    • Helvetica
    • Italia

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