Cheeky campaign turns the energy of '90s rave flyers into hilarious satire

Channel 4 Partygate poster designs
(Image credit: Channel 4)

Nineties nostalgia is huge at the moment, recalling a time when colours were vibrant, textures were far from subtle and minimalism was a dirty word. We're all here for it, but few examples have felt quite as fitting as the British broadcaster Channel 4's campaign for an upcoming docudrama.

Partygate dramatises the story of the UK's then Prime Minister Boris Johnson's infamous knees ups at Number 10 Downing Street while the country was supposed to be locked down during the Covid-19 pandemic. To invite the general public to join the party this time round, Channel 4 is taking some style pointers from 90s rave flyers (see our pick of the best 90s logos for more nostalgia).

Rave flyers from the 90s include some wonderful pieces of graphic design, and even art. I was a huge fan of Pez's hand-painted work for Helter Skelter and Dreamscape myself, but that was the big-budget end of 90s rave flyers. Smaller clubs and illegal free parties made do with simpler designs, often with bold colours, layers of fonts and cheeky references to popular culture. Everything that's big at the moment.

That makes the resource the perfect choice for Channel 4's upcoming docudrama on the Partygate scandal. It's on trend, but the topic and irreverent humour also fits the genre. Provocative copy on the posters includes lines like "it's not called Downing Street for nothing" and "Everybody in the house say yah!"

In true free-party style, the posters even feature a real phone number that plays a pre-recorded message when called. “DJ BJ” – that is the actor Jon Culshaw who plays Johnson in the programme – provides the data on when and where to watch (3 October 3 at 9.30pm on Channel 4, but keep it hush-hush). The broadcaster's in-house agency 4creative is also promising to station a look-a-like “DJ BJ” in a hype van at major locations.

Channel 4 Partygate poster designs

I'm getting Fantazia at Castle Donnington vibes (Image credit: Channel 4 / Fantazia)

Channel 4 marketing director Amber Kirby said: “We decided to advertise Partygate like the illegal house party it was. But with one difference… this time, everyone’s invited! Complete with a roving rave, we’re sure we’ll get people talking. Just bring your own Brie.” We'll be there.

For more nineties nostalgia, see the McDonald's teletext advert, which Generation Z won't understand.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.