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Visualising ‘A New Song': a poster for our innovative summer repertoire

Our summer concert this year, A New Song, offers more than just one new song, but features pieces by six composers of contemporary religious music, Philip Moore, Francis Jackson, Cecilia McDowall, Richard Allain, Jonathan Dove and James MacMillan, and it is MacMillan’s piece A New Song, new in name and genre, which gives the concert its title.


Even considering the ease and speed of communication today, sometimes a leaflet or poster may well be someone’s first encounter with TPC’s next concert, and as such has an important role to play. As this music is a new departure for us, and some of these composers may well not be familiar, the poster needs to be visually interesting to attract attention, and arresting enough to spark curiosity. Then it must clearly impart at least something of the character of the music and of our enthusiasm for it. Having got our potential audience member’s attention, we then need to be sure that all the rest of the practical details such as date, time and venue are clearly stated, and ultimately, we hope the viewer will then be inspired enough to take action and buy a ticket! But how best to achieve this?


As we know, all the pieces we’ll be singing are by contemporary composers, all but one still living, and all of whom have taken a non-traditional, thought-provoking alternative approach to setting a religious text for a full choir. Also, because this is a summer concert, something colourful was an appropriate choice. The previous leaflet for the Brahms Requiem was darker, and more sombre and reflective in feeling, so this would make an interesting contrast. Yet a further element to consider was the fact that St Paul’s Knightsbridge is a different venue for TPC, so a different, lighter approach to the overall look and feeling seemed right too. If possible, the leaflet design needed to reflect all these elements.


Modern stained glass is often vibrant, colourful and bold in design, and in this religious context also offers a non-traditional variation on an ancient method of church decoration and story-telling. So it therefore offered a visual parallel to our chosen music. Many modern possibilities were available, but the eventual choice, which happily includes a treble clef on the right-hand side, and with colours, principally shades of blue but with flashes of other, brighter colours to add interest, set an appropriate mood, and seemed an obvious choice.


Having decided on the image, the problem then was how to ensure that the basic functions of the leaflet, to attract and then to inform a potential audience about the concert, were fulfilled. To achieve this, we chose a simple, highly legible, modern font in bright green and white for the text, which continues the contemporary theme and which complements rather than competes with the colours of the background.


We believe that the final solution is a successful synthesis of all these diverse considerations, and makes an important, attractive and eye-catching addition to the overall publicity initiative for our concert this summer.


Lyn Keay

April 2024

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