It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s simple, and that’s the goal for the new logo Signature Theatre has created to advertise its collaboration with four local playwrights that the theater is partnering with this season.
The logo—a square, streamlined design featuring the words “DC Playwright”—was created in-house by Signature’s design team and will be featured on all of Signature’s postcards, posters, programs, email blasts, and other marketing materials related to locally written programming.
“It's like going to the grocery store and you see homegrown tomatoes,” says Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. “I'd much rather buy from a local farmer than somewhere in California, and I think it's the same thing with theater audiences.”
Schaeffer hopes the logo will take hold as a meaningful symbol for local audiences, who are increasingly expressing support for homegrown artists. “It's one of those things that will take time to get going, but I think over time people will recognize it and see it and go, ‘that's fantastic’,” Schaeffer says.
And this logo has no ego. Signature is inviting all DC theaters to use the design for their own programming that highlights local playwrights. For Schaeffer, it’s a quick and easy way to promote the local writers who have earned a vote of confidence from established production companies. “They can just kind of stamp it on things,” Schaeffer says.
It’s a literal stamp of approval, but it’s also an important gesture for area playwrights. According to Schaeffer, “Once we got it out in the world, there were so many who said, in an email or Facebook message, ‘Oh my god, thank you!’"
The logo’s outreach is another step in expanding Signature’s muscular new work programming. SigWorks, which includes a biweekly Monday night play reading series featuring local playwrights, is led by Joe Calarco, who’s entering his second year as the theater’s full-time director of new work. “Last year we had over 75 submissions of plays from local playwrights,” Schaeffer says, noting that the rate of submissions is climbing in Calarco’s sophomore season.
As for the DC Playwright logo, it’s already playing its part on Signature’s marketing materials for the season opener, The Gulf, a world premiere by local playwright Audrey Cefaly. Cefaly’s script was plucked from SigWorks submissions last year and is enjoying a meteoric rise through Signature’s development process.
“We read the play in our reading series last year—it was the first play we read—and literally I went home that night and emailed Joe and said we need to do this play next year,” Schaeffer says, adding, “That's a rarity that something like that happens—I love when you can do something like that for our community.”