During artistic director James Canfield’s tenure, Oregon Ballet Theatre attracted new audiences by producing more original choreography than any city ballet company in the country. Previous branding efforts focused only on those who had purchased ballet tickets in the past, ignoring broader audiences. As a result, the company’s vitality was not effectively communicated, and ticket sales were dropping steadily. The rebranding effort was driven by the identity of individual productions rather than preconceptions of what ballet should look like. Posters, collateral and ads therefore were designed to express the unique characteristics of each new program, portraying OBT as it truly is: innovative, dynamic and prolific.
Balanchine’s Serenade and Canfield’s Lady Lucille and the Count
Program poster for the pairing of Balanchine’s Serenade and Lady Lucille and the Count, a world premiere based on the lead female character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The two works are related by the social and aesthetic constraints Balanchine and Stoker both challenged in their work.The graphic composition is derived from Balanchine’s staging technique and the musical score for Lady Lucille and the Count. The result knits together two disparate works into a cohesive whole.
Alta Cienega is OBT’s original ballet inspired by the songs of Jim Morrison and The Doors. The poster is an appropriately tongue-in-cheek candid photograph of a door with the most utilitarian of “Notice” signs announcing the program, and particulars are simply printed on 8.5 x 11 bond and taped in place.
For the premier, the bawdy and often provocative nature of Morrison’s work is extended beyond the stage by posting cheap, vernacular utility door signs with selected lyrics in restroom stalls throughout the performance venue.
2002/2003 Season Poster
The grace of a dancer’s body, the lyricism of choreography and the energy of a stage performance are given graphic expression by using the anatomy of a dancer performing on stage as a basis for typographic and color composition.
OBT’s original The Nutcracker 2001
In order to reach new audiences for The Nutcracker, we created a brochure that was in fact, a storybook. The libretto is summarized at the top of each page for children, along with a parallel, tongue-in-cheek description of each character for the parents. The layout vocabulary is inspired in part by Japanese manga comics and old-fashioned children’s books. As with all of our program work for OBT, we created all of the support posters and advertising materials. During a period when all local arts organizations were experiencing flagging ticket sales, these Nutcracker materials were considered instrumental in keeping ticket sales on pace with past years.
OBT’s original The Nutcracker 2002
OBT’s original version of The Nutcracker has a Russian twist. Again, in order to engage younger audiences and give the promotional brochure a longer life, the 10th anniversary brochure can be cut and folded into Christmas ornaments designed in Russian ornamental vernacular. Illustrations are the set and costume designers’ original watercolors.