Assignment 5:Promotional design

A youth theatre club is performing a production of Abigail’s Party. Mike Leigh’s tale of suburban taste is set in the 1970s and explores middle class aspirations and preoccupations.

You will need to acquaint yourself with the play if you don’t know it already, as they are particularly keen for it to have a 70s feel. The play will be touring local theatres for a month, performing every Friday night and Saturday matinee.

Produce a poster (A3 portrait), a flyer (A5 landscape, double-sided) and newspaper advert (A6) to promote this event. In addition they would like their A5 programme cover to continue the design theme.

For the purposes of this brief you need to invent dates, times, places, names and any other information you think will be required. Use Lorun ipsum text for areas of body text.

IMDb’s synopsis of the play:

A TV play based on the Hampstead Theatre production. Beverly has invited her new neighbours, Angela and Tony, over for drinks. She has also asked her divorced neighbour, Sue, because Sue’s fifteen year-old daughter, Abigail, was holding a party in their house. Beverly’s husband, Lawrence comes home late from work, just before the guests arrive. The gathering starts off in a stiff insensitive British middle class way with people who do not know each other, until Beverly and Lawrence start sniping at each other. – written by Will Gilbert

I watched the play on YouTube:


I felt like I was stepping into not only my mother’s time period but my grandmother’s period, with the beige leather suite and kitschy wooden furniture, not to mention the costumes.

First step having renewed my acquaintance with the play I made a list of the characteristics of each of the roles.

I tried to get some feeling for the colours in the play. Beverly, the leading actress seemed to wear orange in most productions. So I looked for a model in an orange dress which I could stylise in Photoshop. I found one and worked on it having sketched it.

I was fascinated by Anglea’s shoes in the video above so I looked up some 1970’s shoes.

I then looked at the music from the play and looked for the record covers to get some idea of the design of the time.

I looked up posters for Abigail’s Party to see what had been done previously. Among these were some OCA students work. I divided the posters into those on orange backgrounds, yellowish backgrounds and the remainder. The greatest number used the colour orange. Those on white backgrounds looked particularly weak.

Then I looked at some general theatre posters for the 1970s

I then looked at typefaces from the 1970s. Most of what I found were not installed with my design programmes. Only one or two were available on DaFont.

I looked up retro typefaces on DaFont and downloaded a couple of these. I printed a couple on my first ‘mock-up’ of the poster.

With all this information i set about trying to perfect my A3 poster. I was a little puzzled by how little information was contained in the ’70 posters I found online. I do not know if these were created as keepsakes rather than information posters. I figured that our local travelling theatre group needs to put information on their poster in order to inform people where and when they will perform. So I followed this idea rather than trying to create something purely decorative.

Using the same elements I created a double sided flyer. I found it odd making a landscape A5 as most are portrait. Also I found it odd to have a double sided flyer. I am not sure if most people would expect to find information on the back so I put very little information on the front to encourage them to turn the flyer over.


Finally I created the newspaper ad:

I think the design could easily be used for the programme. I mocked this up as follows:

I believe that theatre goers just want information on the inside of the programme so I created a very simple text based inside.

I will have the A3 poster, the A5 double sided flyer and the A6 Neewspaper ad printed up for submission of my final assessment.



This has proved to be an extremely difficult assignment of me. Mostly because of my post operation immobility. However my family did what they could by looking at what I had created and giving their opinions on how this could be improved. I appreciate their input. i will continue to solicit opinions from friends before final assessment. Having worked and re-worked the above martial I am no longer sure if I like it..

5_G1-pt5-Nuala-Mahon (1)

Below is an update my tutor sent me.



In terms of improvement I’d recommend you consider a little more your hierachies of type and image. The title should be the stand out element on the page with everything else subservient to this. It’s all about finding the right balance where the separate elements fall into a sort of connected grouping with each other. Look for gaps and space and where your eye naturally wants to fall is where your most important bit of type should live. Sometimes viewing the work in thumbnails is the best way of seeing this as a whole.

With this feedback and some suggestions from my tutor i reworked my poster. Here is the result:

I think this looks a lot better.

I have decided to use this as one of my ten pieces for submission in my portfolio. I have been in discussion with my print about ‘bleeds’ and papers etc. let us hope I have got it all sorted.