Creating the right visuals for each show in a theater season.
Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, an opera or a new fringe musical… Arizona State University presents quite a wide range of shows and each work has a distinctive voice and message that needs to be quickly conveyed to the audience. The poster artwork must answer the question, “What is this performance about?” While making it clear why you’ve got to see it!
Jim Keller, design director at Langton Creative, designed elements that capture the theme of each show at a glance. Bright red lipstick kisses adorn the posters for Kiss Me Kate; A golden chalice being smashed by a celestial light serves as the imagery for Leonard Bernstein’s Mass; A goofy green dinosaur tramples the land in the fringe comedy Triassic Parq; And a colorful Tree of Life is the centerpiece in the Persian opera Xerxes.
Why is this important?
When we begin designing marketing themes for a new theatrical season we need to get a real sense of what makes each show distinctive. By investing the time and energy upfront we are creating stronger imagery that goes way beyond the theatre poster. The artwork and visual themes may be applied to videos, social media and even used on stage in the live productions. We create unique imagery and typography that will capture the attention of the audience and tease them with something that is intended to make this show a must-see event. We balance that with an overall visual branding campaign for the season of shows that establishes a connection to the other shows. Through format, color and design we establish a voice for the theater production company itself.
Graphics on stage
Not only does the artwork help sell the show, but it was sometimes used on stage. The aggressive letterforms for MASS were projected on the backdrop as a pre-show image because the creative team felt the street art typeface captured the essence of the “street chorus” featured in the show.
Graphics on video
The graphic elements from the poster and social media communications were all used in promotional videos for the shows. “The graphics helped set a tone and energy for each show,” says Brian DeMaris, artistic director for Music Theatre and Opera at ASU, “this not only helped grab the audience's attention at the start of the videos, but also set the tone for the videos themselves. It was interesting to me how the animator captured and amplified the essence of the original print graphics when creating the videos.” The videos were created under the supervision of Rebekah Cheyne, Senior Media Producer at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, ASU.
Check out the videos:
Kiss Me KateBack to Insights