SOR 005: Brian Atkinson

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A few years ago I met Brian Atkinson at a meeting for a production company where we both served on the advisory board. The expertise he brought to the table was in the area of design. He’s been teaching design for almost 20 years, and like so many great teachers he also gets out of the classroom and rolls up his sleeves. He does professional graphic design, including the art for several very successfully marketed stage productions. I wanted to get him on the podcast to demystify the process of working with a professional designer to promote your show.

From my personal experience working with Brian, I can say that I was most impressed with his ability to take all of the ideas that the director and producers were throwing out on designing the logo for an original show, and integrating it all together into a cohesive design that fits the show and has strong visual character.

With his permission, I’ve included some examples of his work – both for stage productions and other work. You can look at more of his pieces at his Facebook page for Atkinson Digital – effectively meaning you don’t have to be friends on Facebook to see his photos.

In this episode:

  • why word of mouth and relationships don’t replace design – personal connections accomplish things that design alone can’t… and vice versa
  • what do you already need to know before you engage a designer – some people have already sketched out ideas on a napkin while others just have a title and character descriptions. Who’s right?
  • pulling a logo off Google for a well-established show – you’re not going to reinvent the wheel… or are you?
  • which collateral pieces you’ll want your designer to touch – your website should look like your poster should look like your program should look like your CD case should look like…

Items mentioned:


Discussion Question: Do you think Brian got it right? Are Wicked and Into the Woods some of the best art designs for a stage production. What’s better? Respond here.

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