The Postcard Is Dead! Long Live The Postcard!
Friday, April 9, 2010 Leave a Comment
The postcard for Jacob's House is out, and it's a beauty. Designed by resident graphic wizard Isaiah Tanenbaum, with brainstorming led by the Core Members, I'm very happy with how this slightly-more-rushed-than-usual postcard turned out.
Why? Because Isaiah's design:
- Tweaks one of the greatest representations of man touching the divine
- Is both playful and transgressive, like the play itself
- Incarnates the play's exploration of Manifest Destiny through the American flag backdrop
- Has a strong visual energy, with the text and imagery moving on crossing diagonals
Some time ago on the #2AMT Twitter conversation (if you're on Twitter and not following, you're missing the action), the ROI of postcards has come into questions. With so much happening online, are they necessary? How many tickets are actually sold through postcards? Or are they simply a tangible reminder of an ephemeral medium that we hold onto more from nostalgia than practicality? And that's not even factoring in environmental concerns. it's hard to look at that sad pile of unused postcards when the show is done.
This has been an ongoing debate within Flux for some time now, and we have resolved that debate temporarily by pushing ourselves to make postcards that matter, postcards that not only serve as a marketing tool, but as a means of talking about the play and clarifying our aesthetic approach.
The Pretty Theft postcard process led us to a series of polaroid style postcards (collect them all), and The Lesser Seductions of History postcard superimposed the characters over the haunting Zapruder film in a bookmark (bookmarks being useful even if you never see the show). In both cases, the debates over marketing imagery translated directly into aesthetic choices in the shows. I learned almost as much about rewriting Lesser Seductions from the marketing meetings as I did from the workshops.
But, you ask, couldn't that have happened through the conversation surrounding an online image or video? Yup, it sure could. So the question returns - are postcards worth the investment? if so, what tactics are you using to make them count? If not, what takes their place?