Cleveland Play House - Show Art

CHALLENGE: In 2011, Cleveland Play House (CPH) moved downtown to Playhouse Square. With that move, CPH was now competing with Great Lakes Theater and Playhouse Square's off-broadway series. CPH was also often confused with the two other theatre companies in the area. America's first professional regional theatre needed a way to visually stand out from the crowd.

APPROACH: ´╗┐We moved away from stock and custom photography to illustration for a couple of reasons: a main competitor uses custom photography for their productions; photography-based visuals created expectations of what the produciton and the actors might look like, which disappointed some audience members. For CPH, it wasn't possible for actors to be locked in at the time that the season needed to be marketed.

Inspired by Saul Bass and minimalist design, we chose black and white illustrations with bright accent colors to stand out in a sea of play posters. We challenged ourselves to represent mulitple ideas from each play in one, simple, bold image. The new branding helped to distinguish CPH as a theatre that makes smart, contemporary, and relevant work.

Key ideas conveyed in each image can be found underneath each show image below.

Client

Cleveland Play House

Role

Illustrator, Designer

Collateral

various print and digital media: brochures, posters, playbills, postcards, LCD displays, web ads, social media assets, and more

2016-17 Season

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All the Way (politics, forceful "coming together")

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Sex with Strangers (modern love, sex)

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A Christmas Story (cute, family-friendly)

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Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (comedy, Sherlock Holmes)

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How I Learned to Drive (carving your own path, trauma)

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Between Riverside and Crazy (tension, setting:NYC apartment)

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Freaky Friday (motheR-daughter, body-swap)

2015-16 Season (Centennial)

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Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors (sexy, fun, hotel)

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The Crucible (accusations, witchcraft) Featured in the New York Times

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A Christmas Story (cute, family-friendly)

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Little Shop of Horrors (the bloodthirsty plant)

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The Mountaintop (the man and the myth, MLK Jr.)

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Luna Gale (custody battle, infant in danger)

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Mr. Wolf (danger, child)

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Steel Magnolias (beauty shop, the south, women)

2014-15 Season

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The Little Foxes (woman, staircase)

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How We Got On (music, spinning/scratching, trio, energy)

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A Christmas Story (cute, family-friendly)

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Five Guys Named Moe (music, dancing, five)

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The Pianist of Willesden Lane (train/journey, piano)

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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (personalities of the four characters as underwear)

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Fairfield (kids/elementary school, racial tensions)

2013-14 Season

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Woody Sez (Americana, music)

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Venus in Fur (power, sex)

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A Christmas Story (cute, family-friendly)

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Yentl (judaism, gender identity) featured in the New York Times

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Breath and Imagination (humble beginnings, music, the south)

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Clybourne Park (race, real estate, gentrification)

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Informed Consent (conflict, DNA)

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Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life (tap dancing, lively)

Selected Works

CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Programposter design, branding

Welshly Armslogo, album art