Stories High XIX

Bindlestiff Studios • Freelance 

Stories High XIX

Bindlestiff Studios • Freelance 

OVERVIEW

Stories High is a theater series presented by the Filipino theater, Bindlestiff Studio, located in the heart of SoMa, San Francisco. This was its 19th year doing this series. The general theme of the shows are generally broad as it is about bringing in the new talent, director, writers and actors into the community. Prior to the date, all cast go through workshops to introduce / grow into the theater space.  I worked on design for the flyers, poster, program as well as digital assets such as social banners.

Project Goal

To represent and promote an awesome show and its performances, production and cast.

Success Metrics

Excitement within and outside of the community for the upcoming show. Sold out shows.

Challenges faced

Timing of  guidance through scripts led to many creative liberties.

Outcome

Excitement for the show and sold out dates.

How do I visually represent and promote an upcoming theater show based on just the scripts for the segments?

AT PROJECT START

When I took on this work, the scripts for the plays were still being written / chosen for the show but there still needed to be promotional material around the play such as the casting call. Since this was the 19th year that this show was going on I took a look at past years to see how the designer(s) went about this challenge. Some years the casting call design was totally different than the poster / later designed material, which I can totally understand, as there wasn’t material to drive the visual system. Through initial sketches, I landed in a design direction that was playful, whimsy, and layered. Part of the early angular motifs in the lettering later inspired me to work with extrusions and textures (and even more layers) shown in the poster and printout material. What led me to go this route was based around how I felt watching the previous year’s Story High. Since there is generally not an overall theme around the 6-8 shows in the line-up, the overall feeling sometimes feel spontaneous. After crying at the end of one segment, the next segment could potentially be hilarious. So in the end I elevated the idea of spontaneity through whimsy and playful visual choices.

AS I READ THE SCRIPTS

As this was the first time doing freelance work around a theater performance, I soon learned that all visual inspiration needed to stem just from the scripts. After countlessly reading over the scripts, I starting to pull in visuals that popped in my head, unique identifiers of each play. After gathering a massive list of objects and themes I started to filter down to words such as “delete button” “bandage” “purse”. I realized that I didn’t want these representations to act as a spoilers to  rather subtle winks to a key elements of the play.

DEVELOPING SYSTEMS

As I continued towards the final piece, the show’s program, I wanted to extend the graphic language I created for the poster. By assigning the textures towards the cast that would be performing that specific play I found a way to add more visual interest while crediting their performances. 

Poster

THE PROGRAM