Broadway has been the epicenter of live theater for quite some time. The best of the best take the stage every night. While it’s worth experiencing a Broadway show, tickets are always expensive and hard to acquire.
So how do Broadway shows entice people to see their performance?
Look around Times Square. You’ll see billboard after billboard advertising Broadway’s best productions. Each billboard is stamped with the show’s logo. The logo has to communicate the story and tone of the show to New Yorkers as they walk by (usually yelling at taxi drivers).
Show logos are important to the success of a Broadway show — and here are the top 10 Broadway show logos.
Very few musicals have become a cultural phenomenon like Hamilton. The musical is the story of a bastard orphan whose determination leads him to become a war hero, Founding Father and creator of America’s financial system.
How do you fit all of this into a logo? Well, the graphic designer definitely didn’t throw away his shot.
(I didn’t have enough time to make a Hamilton costume for Halloween this year…. I guess painting my pumpkin will suffice.)
Since Hamilton is a historical musical, everyone knows it’s going to end with the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Now think back to the time you skimmed through your history textbook. You may recall that the duel ended with Burr shooting Hamilton after Hamilton fired at the sky.
Hamilton’s point to the sky comes into play many times over the course of the musical. At first it represents his ambition to rise to the top. Then Hamilton, who is a changed man by the end of the show, raises his gun to the sky because killing Burr is the one shot he isn’t willing to take — a key story element that showcases Hamilton’s story arc. The image used in the show’s logo tells you everything you need to know about the story before you walk into the theater.
The Lion King
The musical based on the popular Disney movie has been on Broadway for quite some time. The Broadway production had to separate itself from the film, while keeping the same tragedy, character relationships, emotions and triumph that everyone loved.
To The Lion King’s graphic designer, I say this–Hakuna Matata, my friend.
The Lion King’s logo gives the play a completely different vibe, but at the same time it feels recognizable. Other than the Disney logo at the top, everything else is different. The font and cave-painting-esque lion somehow feels familiar. The logo seems like it could be pulled directly from the movie, yet it sets a different tone that can only be utilized for the Broadway show.
The Book of Mormon
Hello! My name is Elder Price, and I would like share with you the most amazing logo.
Written by the minds of South Park, The Book of Mormon has become well known as one of Broadway’s funniest shows of all-time. The musical opens with a comical take on Mormon’s door-to-door marketing mission, which is what most non-Mormons know about the religion. The doorbell acting as a letter in the logo is brilliant.
The doorbell reflects what everyone knows about Mormons. The story delves into the religion—with a more comical take that may not accurately reflect the Mormon religion. Either way, it lets the audience into the story before they even buy a ticket.
Mystique, dance and fur balls—they all come to mind when you think of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats. The same words (well, maybe minus the fur balls) come to mind when you see the logo for Cats.
Cats are mysterious creatures, which is why the Broadway production is a mysterious show. Cats’ eyes always stand out. Whether they’re sitting in the dark or strutting around in broad daylight, you notice their eyes.
The black background and yellow eyes is an incredibly appropriate design for the show’s logo. Also, the pupils in the eyes are the characters dancing. The logo captures the essence of the characters and aura of the show.
Kinky Boots is a musical about a shoe factory owner who teams up with a drag queen to produce a line of high-heeled boots in an effort to save the company.
Another fun fact about Kinky Boots: its logo is perfect for the show.
The most obvious aspect of this logo is the K, formed from two high-heeled boots. The product, of course, is the main feature of the show—and spoiler alert: It’s what will save the factory from going out of business. It’s an important element of the story, and it should be showcased in the logo.
The font—bright red—and sparkles fit the show very well. It’s loud and stands out and a true representation of the show.
The Phantom of the Opera
The iconic mask. The shattered typography. What else could you need?
The phantom’s mask is the embodiment of his character. It’s the first thing people think about when they see the words, The Phantom of the Opera. The shattered font is a nod to the memorable chandelier scene.
Every element of the logo summarizes the story of the musical without giving anything away. It also gives off a sense of mystery, which adds to the suspense throughout the musical. Remember to keep the story of your musical, movie or business in mind when you’re designing an entertainment logo.
When you think of Wicked, the color green comes to mind.
It’s the trait that separates The Wicked Witch of the West from every other character. The separation leads to Elphaba developing feelings and motives that drive the story. The color green is also used as a lighting effect throughout the play. It’s synonymous with her character in The Wizard of Oz, and that’s why the graphic designer put it on display.
Hairspray offers social commentary on a very serious topic: equality and race relations. However, its out-of-place protagonist leads the audience through the topic in a light-hearted and comical way.
The logo for Hairspray focuses on the enthusiastic aspect of the show. The font is light and fun. It looks like a logo for a sitcom, which works well because a television show is an important part of the story.
When creating a logo, try to encapsulate the essence and tone of the story. Hairspray does this by bringing out the light tone that makes the show so appealing.
West Side Story
How do you create a logo for a musical that follows a love story and two rival gangs? A bold stencil design will do.
The strong stencil design looks like street art you’d find in a city. The red color also foreshadows the violence that’s to come. Notice the white splotches in the design, which could represent blood that’s bound to be spilled in a story about rival gangs. The strong logo also aids the story of the musical.
Bright lights and a strong culture, the logo for the musical Chicago reflects all that jazz.
The musical is about a crime that takes place in Chicago. Suddenly the bright lights have a different meaning when the musical tells the story of a trial. The logo surprises the audience by bringing them to a story they weren’t expecting.
Tell a Story
Broadway show logos are a part of the production’s story. Tell a story in your designs, and make sure your logo is representative of the product.