Milton Glaser: Theatre for a New Audience

Inside Print’s Celebrating Milton Glaser, A Design Legend Collection, you’ll find a look at Glaser’s personal sources of design inspiration as well as meanderings on other works from Glaser.


Editor’s Note: The visual representation of a brand is one of the most fundamental projects a designer can work on, but exceptional identity design can be hard to come by. Here, observe how Milton Glaser created an identity design worthy of Shakespeare himself.

Jeffrey Horowitz, the director of Theatre for a New Audience met Milton Glaser originally in Aspen, Colorado over 30 years ago. They were scheduled to have a conversation about the relationship between theatre and design. At the scheduled time, only one person turned up for the event. Never-the-less, Glaser and Horowitz sat down and spoke to each other for an hour. They have been close friends ever since. In 2001, Horowitz engaged Glaser to do an identity for his company, Theatre for a New Audience, a well regarded theatrical organization that opportunistically found locations around the city to perform. After years of positive reviews and significant accomplishment, Horowitz raised enough money to build a theatre in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. Throughout the last 16 years, the Glaser office has been responsible for all of the graphic material and architectural graphics and signage that the company has produced.

Here follows a visual exploration of Glaser’s work for the company:

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The original theatre identity based on the idea that the image would change frequently to reflect the company’s variety of approaches to Shakespeare and his work.

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Glaser embarked on a series of portraits that now number over 100 and have applied to many of the communication pieces that the theatre has produced.

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The studio also designed unique identities for each show, largely Shakespearian but also including a variety of other productions.

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The new identity was established once the building began construction, mixing an old and new typeface demonstrates both the company’s commitment to history and the search for the innovative.

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Rendering of the new building with signage and identity in place. The narrow strips identified the production for the season. The atmosphere created by the blue banners soften and humanize the geometry of the architecture. 

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Pictured: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, photo ©David Sundberg/Esto — Photograph of the installed signage at twilight.

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Pictured: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, photo ©David Sundberg/Esto — A print of Shakespeare Vanishing was the basis of the interior stairwell mural.

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The Shakespeare identity applied to an advertisement announcing the inaugural season

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Various promotional material

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A spread from a membership brochure

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Additional promotional material


41sbGGVq1-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Looking Closer 5: Critical Writings on Graphic Design

By Michael Bierut

The final installment in this acclaimed series offers astute and controversial discussions on contemporary graphic design from 2001 to 2005. This collection of essays takes stock of the quality and profundity of graphic design writing published in professional and general interest design magazines, as well as on blogs and Internet journals.

Prominent contributors include Milton Glaser, Maud Lavin, Ellen Lupton, Victor Margolin, Mr. Keedy, David Jury, Alice Twemlow, Steven Heller, Jessica Helfand, William Drenttel, Michael Bierut, Michael Dooley, Nick Curry, Emily King, and more. Learn more.

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