Monday, August 5, 2013

Creating The “Look” Behind the Season: SCR’s Artwork

Graphic Designer Crystal Woolard
The plays have been selected and the production schedules are being finalized. The next step for a season: what will its look be in brochures, online, advertising, postcards, posters and other promotional materials?

Enter SCR’s graphic designer Crystal Woolard. She loves finding different ways to tell a story.

“Sometimes it's with pictures, sometimes words,” she says.  “Sometimes it’s photographing an actor in an old, unused telemarketing room or trying to find the best way to illustrate a stinky cheese man.  Every day is different.”

There are a number of steps she goes through when designing the images that playgoers see in the season brochure each summer. Of course, she first reads each play!

“As I read, I write down key words or powerful images that the play’s text suggests,” she relates. While she is working to visually determine how to describe the play, another staffer is reading the plays and writing brief descriptions about the works. Both words and images need to blend to create an impact for playgoers or prospective audience members.

“Also, with our 50th Season, we wanted to represent the importance of SCR, the impressive productions over the years, as well as the exciting plays of the coming season,” says Woolard.

After she has done her initial sketches, the artistic director and marketing director provide their feedback “to make sure that the images I create really support how we are describing the play,” she explains. This is an important step. given the large number of new works that SCR produces.

From there, Woolard designs and finalizes the “look” for season materials Along with her associate graphic designer, the final art is created. Each piece will be used differently—in a brochure or an ad, on a poster or a postcard, online, in color, in black-and-white, horizontally, vertically … the applications seem almost unlimited.

Woolard says some of the most careful listening in the design process comes when she needs to “see” ideas and concepts through the eyes of others, and then bring those many viewpoints together and create a single vision for the show art.

That can be a challenge, especially in the case of new plays.

“With world premieres, the script often goes through revisions,” she says. “Our challenge is to capture the essence of the story to entice an audience to come see it, but sometimes without knowing how that story might actually end up”

At the end of the day, Woolard says her job is fun.

“When I see the plays and discover that it and the show art have the same vision, that’s really great for me,” she explains.

And the other fun part? “When hundreds of boxes of brochures are delivered and we get to open them and look at the final product!”

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