Take a closer look at the design process behind Spoleto Festival USA’s annual ticket brochure.

Creating the Festival’s annual ticket brochure is one of the Marketing and Public Relations department’s favorite projects of the year. It’s an opportunity for us administrative types to delve into the creative process and translate the Festival’s brand and upcoming program into an aesthetically beautiful yet completely functional promotional piece. Luckily we have amazing content to work with, and help from Charleston-based design firm, Stitch Design Co., which brings this signature piece to life each season.

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Every fall, we gather around a table with our friends at Stitch to discuss the look and feel of the new brochure. How do we reinvent ourselves each season without losing our identity? How do we weave Charleston through the piece in a subtle and creative way? It’s a carefully thought-out process where form does indeed follow function. The companies and artists scheduled to perform in the upcoming season share a slew of promotional images for our consideration and we then choose the perfect photo that speaks to the piece being performed. Sometimes more copy is needed to explain the production, sometimes less if the artist is more well-known. And those foreign names— each and every one is checked and double checked for accuracy. All the while, we must keep in mind the ultimate goal of the brochure is to sell tickets so we carefully pepper sales information throughout the piece making it easy for the reader to make a purchase.

The cover photo has to be one of the biggest decisions (if not THE biggest) of the design process, and for years we’ve looked to local Charleston photographer Doug Hickok for help with this key image. Charleston is the perfect backdrop for Spoleto Festival USA and Doug has a wonderful knack for photographing the area—capturing small, subtle elements of the Lowcountry landscape that speak volumes. It’s always fun to line up prior brochures to see how the piece has evolved and what images have been chosen. Some are more recognizable than others but all speak to the Festival and its beautiful environment.

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One of the best compliments we ever received was a patron saying she used the brochure as a coffee-table conversation piece throughout the year with friends and family— it was just that beautiful. And that she purchased tickets. We consider that a tremendous success and a job well done!

To request a 2014 brochure, click here. If you are already on our mailing list, you can expect a brochure in early December. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, December 9, with an exclusive donor pre-sale beginning Tuesday, December 3. We hope you enjoy the brochure and we look forward to seeing you at the Festival.