Is everything ready for panto mania?

Michelle Pearce
  • Michelle Pearce
  • Managing Director

I know what you’re thinking: Please don’t use the C-word! Not yet! Please don’t mention Christmas. I only just unpacked my beach towel and sarong, and I’m still hoping for a last squirt from that bottle of suntan lotion.

I know how you feel, I don’t want to see tinsel and fake fir trees stacked up in the supermarket aisles yet either. But here at The Graphic Design House, there’s a part of Christmas that starts early for us and WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

I’m talking about the work we do with theatres around the country: Title treatments, image creation, programmes, microsites and all kinds of theatre marketing materials to promote panto and Christmas shows. We’ve been working with theatres UK wide on promoting Christmas shows for ten years now, and every year as we approach the end of summer, as the days grow shorter and shorts become trousers, a ripple of excitement shimmers through The Graphic Design House office like fairy dust from Tinkerbell’s wand.

Why we love it

TGDH works extensively in arts sector marketing, but there’s something very special about working on promotional materials for Christmas shows; it’s different from almost everything else we do.

Christmas shows are a celebration; the culmination of a year’s work to the theatres and venues we work with. But it goes deeper than that. It’s a time of joy, but also one of reflection, touching things deep inside us all like memory, times gone by and hopes for the future.

It’s about family and friends, and The Graphic Design House is very much a family firm. It’s about the warmth that comes from being with those you care about, and a glimmer of light – something safe and familiar and ancient in troubled times. It’s about people coming together to celebrate the importance of human things that matter – having time for each other, companionship and caring.

Why it matters

The Christmas season is important to theatre companies from a business point of view –it’s the show that can make the most money of the year. It’s also many children’s first experience of theatre, so can create a connection that lasts a lifetime.

With that in mind, it’s important that we really pull out all the stops to ensure our clients maximise all the commercial opportunities available to them by getting the marketing right.

There’s a lot of variety when it comes to Christmas shows. Marketing, design and illustration needs to be original and full of character, encompassing what each show is about, enticing audiences and creating excitement. There’s the glitz, glamour, fun and extravagant costumes of panto, but there are also the softer, more heart-centred shows. We’ve created some beautiful illustrations for Christmas shows and we love looking back on them across the years.

The visual aspect of Christmas show marketing is very important. It needs to have immediate impact, but also touch an emotional nerve that seeps into our subconscious, awaking an association of what Christmas means to us. This is why we don’t template, we treat everything unique and bespoke, our clients are too important to do it any other way.

Our team of illustrators and designers love the challenge and creativity that they can bring to Christmas show marketing, whether it’s gentle and poignant illustration for A Christmas Carol or in-yer-face brash and uplifting design for Aladdin that has you yelling out ‘Behind you!’ before you’ve even arrived at the venue.

So I know that Christmas is a long way off and that you might be hoping to squeeze in one last picnic this side of Halloween, but I want you to understand why you may catch a whiff of mince pie and hear a chorus of ‘Oh yes you did. Oh no you didn’t,’ if you’re passing by The Graphic Design House office. 

It’s just that after ten years of bonding with so many fabulous theatre companies on marketing campaigns for Christmas shows, we just can’t help getting in the mood. For us, working on Christmas show marketing design can feel more like a pleasure than work. And who can argue with having fun at work, now that the summer holidays are over?