Actors Theatre of Montana's August: Osage County poster, before and after triage

Actors Theatre of Montana’s August: Osage County poster, before and after triage

My notoriety as an unpaid graphic design triage nurse must be spreading! I got a call from the Actors’ Theatre of Montana on Sunday morning. “We have our poster started, but it needs help, and we need to put up the posters this week…”

The poster they had underway was a valiant effort. The problem was that the photograph had backed the designer into a corner, and the result was a little bit too jumbled.

Sometimes I liken graphic design to gardening: Good gardeners aren’t afraid to dig up a few plants! It’s hard when you’re told that you have to use a certain photo, or that this text all has to go on there, but in order to make a piece that does its job, sometimes you have to do some slashing and burning.

And thus began my little makeover project: My goals were to make the title text as large as possible and make the dates more prominent. I wanted to retain the list of actors, because this cast is a huge list of Montana’s best talent. (It’s gonna be a great show!) I also wanted to accentuate the Ellen Theatre logo, because the Ellen is a beautiful old theater that has a great reputation for quality productions (not to mention a cool logo).

One of my missions in life is to convince clients that ticket info can be pretty small. FIRST catch the viewer’s attention. THEN make them fall in love with the event. Once they’re in love, they will get out a magnifying glass to read the rest, if necessary.

Orange Photographie had provided a variety of nice shots, so the first thing I did was select a photo that I felt would be easier to work with. Following is a simplified step by step of the process of getting from point A to point B, using PhotoShop to manipulate the photo and InDesign to set the text and arrange the layout. (Click on the first circle to arrow through the steps.)