By Martin Clare of Phantom Theatre Services
When it comes to flyer design, font choice is maybe the biggest make-or-break design decision you can make. If you’ve ever seen a flyer somebody has designed for a school fête using every conceivable font and Word Art style under the sun, you’ll know just how messy it can look.
Here are my top five tips for font usage:
- As a general rule of thumb, only ever use two fonts. A stand-out font for the title of the production, and a plain font for everything else.
- A rare exception to this rule is if the author has enough gravitas to have their name before the title of the play (eg: William Shakespeare’s…). A good calligraphic font works well here.
- Aside from the title font, stick to a plain and contemporary sans serif font that works well at small sizes.
- To place emphasis where needed, use a font with variations. For example, if you use Arial as your main font, you could put less relevant information like credits in Arial Narrow, and prominent information like the dates and ticket-line number in Arial Black.
- Use expanded character spacing to increase legibility, especially for the ticket number and website address.
Following on from Susan Elkin’s article in our previous issue (no.46) entitled Reviewing Non-Professionals, Sardines is now aware of at least two major theatres that have made it clear of the intention to move away from seeking traditional critical reviews of professional productions.
Instead, there appears to be more of a leaning towards publications and outlets that will most effectively help to ‘promote’ shows, venues and UK tours in general.
Due to the size of today’s production budgets, coupled with the artistic quality of professional casts and creatives, most touring shows will inevitably garner positive reviews. However, there will always be the odd ‘turkey’ that hits the stage. So should local audiences be led to believe that every show is going to impress, or even blow them away?
Sardines is proud of its reputation for giving fair and balanced reviews and, as a result, has become known as a publication that is not guaranteed to simply provide pats on the back to all concerned. We have published five-star reviews for both amateur & professional productions, as well as more disappointing write-ups for shows from both sectors.
We hope this recent move is not a sign of things to come right across the critical board. While receiving houses do need to rent themselves out to touring productions, surely a level of intergrity is still required?