Festival Feature: Meet Creative Director Clare Campbell
The 2024 season starts long before productions hit Festival stages in June. Marketing and communicating about the Festival plays into the early success of the season, and Creative Director Clare Campbell’s designs are the first step in sharing the magic of theatre with our patrons.
As Creative Director, Campbell’s job is to maintain the integrity of the Festival through its visual elements. Her biggest projects throughout the year include the Souvenir Program and the Show Art– the designs that advertise each play.
Campbell has let us in on the behind-the-scenes of what it’s like to take on such a massive role.
Her Passion for Art
Since she was little, Campbell knew that she wanted to pursue a career in art. At first, she wanted to design for Disney and help create the cartoons for movies.
“In middle and high school, I even created a comic book with all these different characters,” Campbell said.
The idea of pursuing a career in commercial art was presented to Campbell in high school by a college recruiter. After this seed was planted, Campbell realized she could make money doing what she loved.
Campbell attended Southern Utah University and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.
“I got into graphic design, and everything was clicking,” Campbell said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Campbell had several graphic design jobs before working for the Festival, like working for a startup company in St. George, Utah, called Squatty Potty. It was around his time that her talent was discovered by Festival staff.
“I also had a job working for LearnKey, making educational tutorials for different companies,” Campbell said. “We made the graphics look interesting and exciting.”
Designing for the Festival
In 2017, Former Publications Manager Bruce Lee invited Campbell to start designing for the Festival after discovering her work.
“I did a lot of flyers and graphics for education, like Showart for tours and brochures,” Campbell explained.
She also made graphics for the website, designed for fundraising campaigns, and helped develop the new Festival website that launched in 2021.
Slowly, Campbell took on larger responsibilities. Last year, she officially stepped into the Creative Director role.
“I keep our brand [cohesive looking] and manage the [visual elements] going out,” Campbell explained.
This involves approving social media and website elements and working with various Festival departments to make sure all graphics fit the Festival brand.
“I love being able to have the freedom to make things look the way I want them to, but also look the way the Festival needs,” Campbell said. “It’s a fun balance.”
For Campbell, her role as Creative Director is a dream job.
“The way everything worked out is incredible, and I love the atmosphere at the Festival,” Campbell said.
Creating Show Art
However, the job isn’t without its challenges, and the Creative Director explained that each year requires an immense amount of collaboration and research.
“The artwork goes out everywhere, and it’s supposed to intrigue people to come to the Festival,” Campbell said. “It’s a lot of pressure.”
The process of designing Show Art is a big one, and it begins with Campbell studying the scripts and attending designer meetings to understand how the designers and directors want the plays marketed visually.
“I start hand sketching, and then transition to [creating digitally],” Campbell explained, opening up her sketchbook. “I start making notes and collecting different elements, making points of the themes and main characters [of the plays].”
But Campbell can’t just create individual designs for each play without the entirety of the season lineup in mind.
“It’s kind of a puzzle, you’re working on one play graphic, but you have the other six plays you have to match, including the Greenshow,” Campbell said. “They all have to have a cohesive look.”
Campbell also collaborates with Festival administration and the Communications Department throughout the process, making adjustments as feedback is given.
“The goal [for the Showart] is for anyone to look at the graphic and get the concept and tone of the play, as well as be intrigued at the same time,” Campbell said. “We don’t want to give anything away, but still include subtle hints and Easter eggs.”
Eventually, after designing both the Showart and the visual play titles, adjustments are made and files are cleaned up and made usable for Festival marketing.
Designing the Showart is a job that requires constant evolution, and one of the biggest challenges is balancing the current design trends and the timeless look of the Festival.
“It helps me stay in tune with the design world, and not just be in [our own] bubble of Shakespeare,” Campbell said.
Ultimately, the Creative Director plans to be at the Festival as long as possible.
“I feel lucky to be able to do what I love and have people enjoy what I do,” Campbell said.
Keep an eye out for the 2024 Showart and purchase tickets for next season at bard.org.