With thousands of shows taking place at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every year, it’s somewhat surprising that the posters which are successful in driving crowds to shows are never given the recognition that they deserve. Yes the flyering frenzy on the Fringe streets can be a bit overwhelming at times, but amidst all the chaos, there are some true gems to admire.
And so this week, history was made at the Fringe with the launch of the first ever Comedy Poster Awards. An event we proudly sponsored which recognises the talented folk behind the posters that advertise the shows at the world’s largest arts festival. We received an eclectic bag of entries: from wonderfully illustrated artworks, to brilliantly visualised show titles, to the outright bizarre – our very own Executive Creative Director, Ryan Newey, given the honour of judging the awards.
Host for the night, Russell Kane, kicked off proceedings joking that his own poster would never make it into the awards due to the ‘C-word’ being littered across his forehead. On to the legitimate entries then, third place went to Ellie Taylor for her debut solo show poster ‘Elliementary’. She writes on her blog: “The show title and artwork suggest a keen interest for all things Arthur Conan Doyle. Sadly, I have no such interest – I do however like name puns and the chance to sport facial hair in promotional materials.”
Narrowly beating her to second place was Steen Raskopoulos for the design behind his solo sketch show, ‘I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business.’ The attention-grabbing title is comically complimented by Steen dressed accordingly in his ‘two-suit’ attire. He commented on the night, “Finally my high res PDF with embedded fonts is getting the recognition it deserves.”
First place was awarded to Holly Walsh, for her clever ‘Never Had It’ poster, which plays on her show’s theme of never having that ‘it’ quality; the cigarette in the design subtly reversed and hinting at the topic. “This will pay for the one giant poster of mine at Cowgate that people are currently pissing against,” she joked as she received her award. Ryan Newey congratulated Holly for her entry, which he said “Truly deserved the first place prize. Her poster not only stands out on the crowded streets of Edinburgh but is also as witty as it is well designed.”
It goes without saying that posters are a vital weapon for gathering audiences at the Fringe, many sold on a five second glimpse of a flyer which grabs their attention. And it’s been a long time coming that the impactful artworks behind the shows finally get their comeuppance. So thanks to everyone who got involved in the 2014 Comedy Poster Awards and to our three winners who have done a solid job in advertising their shows at the Fringe – until next year!