Further streamlining the branding of Pine Boy, the signage and promotional materials for their performances should be produced in anything ligneous (wooden in nature), preferably pine of course. It can’t really be anything else in my mind, it’s a relevant choice and can add an important element to the “Mother Ship” of design features that distinguish the company. I’ll explain the “Mother Ship” in another post, but in a nutshell it means that there is a collective center of design elements that best communicates the concept of a brand, which then dictates how every other smaller or tangential piece of the brand should look. In my Mother Ship for Pine Boy, so far I’ve got:
1/ filled-in letterforms with versatile positioning
2/ hairline graphics to represent the strings or rods of puppets
3/ ligneous texture and material
4/ silhouettes for primary representation of shows
We can extend the use of ligneous material too. I envision posters painted on wood, woodcuts as a primary style of art for posters and brochures, and as many wooden fixtures and furniture in the foyer of the playhouse as we can get. If time permits (ha!), I’d also love to see the logo/letterforms cut out of wood and suspended in the foyer. As a conceptual sign, it will give the literal playhouse character while enforcing the brand, and I bet it wouldn’t even be pricey.
To expand on the use of silhouettes, I see them as an important and perfect choice for the representation of shows for several reasons:
1/ silhouettes cartoonize, and therefore better represent concepts for a puppet house, as puppets are by definition, representative artificial figures
2/ cartoons draw the attention of youth
3/ silhouettes are used as shadow puppets in some of the very shows that Pine Boy produces
4/ silhouettes conjure mystery, partial invisibility and an air of performance
Notable artists that are inspiring me with regards to silhouettes and the use of wooden materials (primarily wood cuts) are Béatrice Coron, Eva Hesse, Erik Ruin, Lix Bacskay and Wharton Harris Esherick. Some of their work is shown in the slideshow, and New Yorkers may recognize Coron’s work from MTA subway artwork. Commuting back and forth from the day job paid off—Coron’s paper piece taught me the notion that silhouettes invite a sense of privacy, memory, space and a general sense of storytelling. Her paper architecture uses windows to express the panoply of stories occurring in a populated environment.
In Coron’s own words:
“In my graphic style, windows are used not to see out but in, placing the spectator in an outsider/insider situation. Shadows, reminiscent of film noir and voyeurism, leaves room for multiple interpretations.”
What’s most important to me here are the stories being told—a puppet house is constantly telling stories, and a shadowbox motif seems like just the right means to promote it.
Now, collecting imagery that makes use of the elements from the Mother Ship, that’s the next step. Then we assemble our pieces and provide compositions that best represent our client. Still lots to do, but now we’ve got the tools.