The task of the NZ International Comedy Festival campaign is simple: get bums on seats. Our job is not to make people laugh, we'll leave that up to the comedians, they're the experts and we can use that comedic spirit as inspiration.
Stand-up Comedy is intrinsically minimalist – just a performer on stage with a microphone. All they have to make the audience laugh is their finely honed comedy craft. So our approach was equally stripped back, just black text on our stage, the page.
Comedy is vital and energetic, it's spontaneous and loose, and above all, authentic. In evoking a comedic feel through our typographic treatments of the phrase 'Laughing Matters' authenticity was our guiding principal. Hand-drawing the text was essential, the more rough edges and imperfections the better. No structured artifice, just honesty. We wanted each treatment to ooze personality, each with a unique and charismatic voice, like the comedians themselves.
The loose, fun, bubbly, Herb Lubalin inspired version is ebullient and accessible, like a Dai Henwood on the page. Painted with a viscous mix of Indian ink and liquid acrylic, the flourish elements paying homage to the one piece of equipment a comedian can hide behind – the microphone and its cord. Tears of laughter spill from the edges of the words.
The brush stroke version is expressive and dynamic, inscribed with the urgency of an edgy, provocative comedian, an uncompromising Brendhan Lovegrove of a letterform. The Tombow brush pen rips across the page, structured but still loose.
And finally our fixed-width takes on the personality of the youthful, modern and alternative. An incisive, contemporary voice with a note of musicality, like Rose Matafeo in text. Painstakingly drawn in technical pen, surrounded by cloudlike whimsical forms, there’s an airy freedom in this treatment.
To maintain an element of consistency we gave all three treatments a positive skew from bottom left to top right. The experience of going and seeing live comedy with your mates is always uplifting.
The comedian uses a diverse toolset to surprise, amuse and entertain, so our approach was equally varied, using the full range of our crafty kit of nibs and brushes, keeping the process an exercise in pure expressive joy, like a performer on stage with the crowd in their hand. As this is where Laughing Matters most.