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Martha Graham Dance Company at the Royal Opera House poster

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Jul 6th, 2022. Artwork published in .
Martha Graham Dance Company at the Royal Opera House poster
Source: Via V&A’s Theatre and Performance Collection. License: All Rights Reserved.

ITC Busorama is not easy to use. For this poster advertising the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, though, the typeface was in very good hands.

Designers Richard Bird and Michael Mayhew arranged the name and date in three lines of equal length, in Busorama’s Bold weight, with appropriate tight spacing. For “Martha Graham”, its two forms for A were distributed to suggest a bilateral symmetry, which is further augmented by the fact that the line starts and ends with the letter M. The A’s in the second line are left-leaning – both times echoed by the curved diagonal in the succeeding N – and the one in the third bends to the right, in sync with the diagonals of the numerals. Together, this creates the impression of rows of waves, moving in opposite directions.

To finetune the setting, the designers used the alternate R with the lazy leg, the T with convex roof, and the narrow E, and modified several glyphs: C was cut down to a semicircle, and G got a narrower form, too, so that the lines set nicely compact. The flag of 1 and the apex in 4 were cropped, too.

The seemingly moving typography is combined with photography by Max Waldman, showing a dancer frozen in action. The Royal Opera House logo is based on Belwe Bold (1976). J&P Atchison printed the poster.

Via V&A’s Theatre and Performance Collection

1 Comment on “Martha Graham Dance Company at the Royal Opera House poster”

  1. See also the cover for Astonish Me, another, less sophisticated use of Busorama (or Omnibus?) for a work from the field of performing arts:

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