Harriman Steel creates graphics for stratospheric opera

Harriman Steel has created promotional material for Piccard in Space, the debut opera from Goldfrapp co-founder Will Gregory.

Piccard in Space tells the story of Belgian physicist Auguste Piccard’s balloon flight into the stratosphere, which he undertook in 1931.

Piccard and his associate Paul Kipfer reached an altitude of more than 15km in a pressurised aluminium gondola. The pair gathered information on cosmic rays in the stratosphere and stratospheric temperatures before landing in the Alps.

Piccard became the inspiration for Professor Calculus, the hare-brained academic in HergŽ’s Tintin comic book series.

The opera has been commissioned by the BBC and will be performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra at the South Bank on 31 March and 1 April and also broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Harriman Steel has been working on communications for the BBC Concert Orchestra for about two years, according to the consultancy’s managing director Jason Bold. He says Harriman Steel was appointed after the BBC Concert Orchestra approached a number of consultancies on its roster for marketing and communications.

Bold says, ’We’re aiming to open up the orchestra to a wider new audience without alienating its core audience.’

Harriman Steel designer Patrick Fry, who has worked on the BBC Concert Orchestra campaigns, says, ’We’ve tried to build consistency through the campaigns through the use of very bold, characterful typography. We’ve also focused on very strong visuals for each event.’

Fry says, ’For this project the client came to us with the story of the opera, which is brilliant enough in itself to spark a number of routes. We also spoke to Will Gregory, who is a fan of the 1930s-style adventure comic look.’

The consultancy worked with US-based illustrator Patrick Leger, who created four illustrations which depict the tale of Piccard’s flight.

Fry says, ’We developed the typography to go on top – we wanted to make sure it didn’t look too retro. We’ve also used a circle motif throughout the material, which represents the capsule Piccard flew in.’

Harriman Steel is working on flyers, posters, programmes and online materials for the event.

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