grab bag blog

This is where I talk about my work, my discoveries, my creative process, and the ins and outs of marketing in the arts.

Emerald City 2011-2012 Season Design

July 13, 2011

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freelance life
Emerald City Theatre season design

Here’s a project that I’m proud to finally be able to post about. Last month, I landed the season design for Emerald City Theatre Company, for which I had previous done some design work and a website facelift. The difficulty with this project was that I wasn’t able to get hired on until the 11/12 fiscal year budget was ironed out, and to expedite matters, the season photo shoot was held before I was brought on. So I had no input at all into the the photos I was given to work with, which is certainly not optimal, but that was the situation. The challenge was coming up with a concept that worked for all the shows using the photos I had.

I also didn’t want to stray too far from the style that the company had used the previous year, which they had found worked well for them, specifically the use of bold color combined with photos of the characters. They found that children responded more to photos of actors playing the characters, since illustrations of the characters could be confusing about whether they were going to see to a movie or TV show. To add some excitement to these photos and the idea of imagination, I introduced the cartoon elements. The most difficult was the Alexander image, which is actually a composite of several different photos combined with the cartoon elements. Can you tell?

Emerald City Theatre season design brochure

The first big unveiling of these concepts was in the recently released season brochure, seen here. Working within the company’s limited budget (welcome to the non-profit world), this is a pretty simple double parallel fold on 10pt gloss stock. The idea behind this piece was not only to advertise the shows of the season, but to communicate the fun experience of children attending a show. The marketing director had recently commissioned photos to be taken of the audience during a performance, so I ended up with some good material to work with this on this piece. Where the company’s previous design (which had mainly been handled by a gentleman with no design background) had been heavy on big blocky colored boxes and small photos, I brought the photos to the forefront in this piece and used them to tell the story. The response was very positive, with people commenting on how fun (and large) the theatre looked. Through the use of large, professional photography, the company’s image and status rose overnight.

I’ve actually found that I really enjoy brochure design, so hopefully I can get more of these types of gigs. It must be the storyteller or the cartoonist in me, but I love being given multiple pages to advertise something. It creates all manner of fun experiments in information flow and the revealing information.


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