A theatre’s season announcement brochure is ideally the culmination of a season design project, the item which really shows off the visual direction the company’s marketing will be using over the next 9-12 months. In the case of this project, I am also designing a subscriber brochure, which is a brochure enclosed with season subscription tickets detailing important dates and procedures along with other helpful information. I’m designing that in this same style, but since it’s not going to print for another month, I’m leaving it out of this particular blog post.
In a departure from what the company had done previously in its 15-year history, the marketing director and I decided to create a 5.5″ x 8″ 12-page booklet for this season announcement rather than a fold-out brochure. We had planned on printing it on a quality uncoated paper stock, but I was not in charge of ordering the finished product and it was instead printed on matte stock by accident. That’s not a major crime, but having a nice texture to go along with this kind of style would have been nice.
Above, you can see the first two pages that greet you when you open the booklet. In the process of creating this book, I tended to go back and forth with company more over content than anything much design wise. The idea of the word balloons was something I had brought up in the very early stages of conception and I think they work harmoniously with the color fields I used in the poster images. When I first laid out these pages, the left-hand page contained the company’s mission statement using similarly fun typography. When we went instead with press quotes, I created the connected blue balloons as a mirror of the larger balloon on the right. The smaller balloons are more detailed and have a darker color, which gives them an equal weight to the larger, lighter-colored balloon.
Following those pages are two-page spreads devoted to each of the three shows in the season. Here you see the second of the three shows. We tried several different ways to connect the quotes from the Artistic Director on each of these pages back to the letter he wrote at the beginning. I tried using the season theme in different ways typographically around the balloon, but we ultimately went with this method, which blatantly calls back to page 3 with it’s light-colored word balloon and season theme in a box the same shape as the photo. There’s no shame in being blatant if it’s the clearest method of communication./p>
No season brochure would be complete without a giant pitch to subscribe. Theatres rely on subscription sales to bring in cash at the beginning of a season so they have money on hand to produce the shows. We played around with this layout a lot over the course of four or five different drafts, paring down the amount of information more and more each time. The company has A LOT of options when it comes to buying subscriptions, so we attempted to include only the bare minimum here.
Another change that I implemented, which I had to push very strongly through the company’s marketing committee, was dropping an order form from this piece. They had always included one, despite it being unable to handle the level of complexity of the product offering. Using examples from other prominent theatres in the city, I convinced the committee that online ordering and phone ordering were not only the best methods for the patron, but also that it’s the wave of the future. It can be difficult to convince the industry to migrate to the internet when the median age of theatre patrons tends toward 60, but it is happening slowly. I can’t imagine the design challenge this would have become if we’d included a full-page order form as well.
So that concludes our look into this particular design project. Luckily, I’m working on several more season-wide design projects. Even though they will use very different visual styles, the need to keep them all tied together thematically prevails. Hopefully you enjoyed this peak behind the curtain. I’ll bring you some more as soon as I can!