Exploring the brief with arts organisations

Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2016 by Amy

One of the fun things about working with arts organisations is getting to create and design publicity materials for individual performance pieces: from musicals and plays to concerts and launch events. A new project is frequently a complete contrast to the one that has just finished, and this kind of work often enables us to flex our illustrative muscles or produce artwork that is a little more ‘off the wall’ than usual!

We like to work closely with our clients to ensure that show publicity reflects the feel or aims of the piece whilst still effectively (and legibly) communicating the important details. So we’ll spend some time chatting through the concept and making sure that the artwork will speak to the audience in a way that will facilitate the show.

This week’s design work concluded a brief for a ‘kooky ugly duckling’ and we’re really pleased with the final result! (If you want to catch the show, it’s in Edinburgh at the end of May – details here.) A lot of the regular graphic design work that gets done at Wingfinger happens on computer and we appreciate the opportunity to dip back into pen and ink from time to time!


We’ve been doing this a while, though – Wingfinger has been producing publicity since the studio’s early days as a screen printer in the late 1970s. We produced work for a range of local events, including for the various visiting luminaries gigging at Leeds University Union during that era. So we still have a pretty thrilling archive of posters advertising, amongst others, The Jam, New York Dolls, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Ramones, The Stranglers and… The Chieftains. One of the first theatre companies Wingfinger worked with was Riding Lights, and a very early poster for their musical ‘Daniel’ is still one of our favourites – currently taking pride of place on our studio wall (well, alongside the New York Dolls poster).


We have clients who are currently involved in various branches of the arts and help them develop and publicise a wide range of events, including shows in flagship theatres, Fringe festivals, local performance spaces and a few wilder places besides. Last weekend was the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth/death and we have contributed a few different styles of artwork for his plays, including this contemporary tribute to a Jacobean woodcut from a couple of years ago for an ‘As You Like It’ performed in a ruined Abbey on the Welsh coast.


Coming up over the next couple of months we are working with folks at 365 Leeds Stories and Moveable Feast again as part of a project celebrating and exploring the Meanwood Park area of Leeds. We’ll be producing a book to be launched at the end of the month and materials for a subsequent theatre piece in the park. Wingfinger loves working with performance makers from all around the country, so if you’re interesting in getting some publicity materials designed or want to commission artwork for a show, please get in touch!

You can see various examples of design for arts organisations in our gallery, and read some spotlights on specific projects in our blog.

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