Event graphics represent an opportunity for print service providers (PSPs). For concerts and other entertainment, signage is used to promote attendance and help direct fans. Additionally, graphics are used to make an impression and unify a theme on stage. For one event, many pieces of carefully planned output come together in a short amount of time.
Managing Concert Signage
The entertainment industry is largely driven by reputation and appearance. To maintain a positive standing, venue managers maintain a pristine atmosphere that easily allows new acts to flow in and out with complex sets, immense backdrops, and expensive equipment. While the venue itself is not typically involved in the set design process, branding and advertising are major components of its hosting duties.
For example, the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, a Global Spectrum Managed Facility, which is based in Lowell, MA, primarily uses wide format graphics to advertise upcoming shows. In the concourse area, backlit signage is reserved for adverting partners. Additionally, the location is in the process of installing backlit frames for the lobby, which will help promote internal events to patrons visiting the box office. The arena also rents a billboard to help maintain a local presence and showcase upcoming events.
Currently, all design and print is outsourced for the Tsongas Center. “We utilize a variety of vendors depending on the specific job. In the case of advertising signage, artwork is provided by the venue sponsor,” explains Mike Soriano, director of marketing, Tsongas Center. “Anything produced by the venue to promote ourselves—whether it is upcoming events or rental opportunities—is designed by a vendor of our choosing,” he adds.
Soriano facilitates the coordination between the designer and printer. He gathers all of the necessary print specifications for a project and provides it to its designer along with creative guidelines.
Another MA-based arena, the Lynn Auditorium, notes that event signage is completed through a range of methods—including in-house capabilities, outside vendors, and by an entertainer’s promotional team.
James Marsh, GM, Lynn Auditorium, handles the coordination of event signage. “I produce it with an outside vendor’s help. Major artists have art specifications that they want us to adhere to, so we work within those constraints,” he says.
The auditorium has large A frames placed throughout the local community in strategic locations. Promotional event posters are adhered to the frames prior to an event. Additionally, the venue creates smaller, 11x17-inch posters to place in businesses with small cards that are handed out to promote the event.
While a venue strives to effectively push promotions for upcoming acts, an entertainer’s staff is tasked with differing signage concerns. Stage design and execution are essential for setting the desired ambiance for a show.
For traveling performers, it is critical that graphics look striking in a variety of scenarios. For instance, one weekend the set needs to be in daylight. Weather may be a factor, so durability is of utmost importance. The following week, the same set may be featured inside in a darkened setting where stage lights and other visual effects must mesh well.
By nature, these graphics are designed to produce an impact and created with an artist’s vision. For example, a prominent Christian rock band, Third Day, looked to a PSP to translate its idea for a production set into a reality. The band has worked with North Shores, MI-based Source One Digital for the past two years to create a whole new skin for its production, including custom rugs on its risers, three custom round rugs featuring album artwork, a bass cabinet cover, B3 and drum decals, and blow through riser skirting.
A lot of work goes into making a concert memorable. At the promotion phase, venues and artists collaborate to draw in crowds. Location sites are dressed up to direct fans and ensure safety. Additionally, entertainers work with world-class designers to put together an impressive set that travels easily. For all the graphical elements that go into a concert, PSPs have an opportunity to forge an ongoing relationship with a venue or artist.