Thoughts on posters – accents and kerning

I was staring at posters on the Tube earlier today and a couple of them made me think. I didn’t take pics but you’ll get the gist from these screenshots.

Here’s the first one.


I was idly wondering whether that accent in ‘Coppélia’ has any affect on ticket sales.

Could it maybe give people the idea that the production will be hard to understand, more ‘foreign’ and less accessible to an English audience? Might it make people think that they’re less likely to ‘get it’?

If so, is it still worth it from an artistic (or even educational) standpoint to spell the name correctly? It is the character’s name, after all. I’m also all for assuming that people have a modicum of intelligence.

Maybe (probably?) the accent doesn’t make the slightest difference. Still, it’s something that would be interesting* to A/B test if the circumstances ever arose. You could maybe do it via PPC ads, with the title being the only change to the copy across ad units.

What prompted this wondering was a conversion with someone about the way that ballet and opera companies (and it’s mostly ballet and opera companies that do this) sometimes talk about wanting to get more people in to see their productions, but then insist on putting titles in a foreign language. This is a very benign example of a foreign language title, but still.

Here’s the second one, and this is more about getting something off my chest.

Miss Saigon poster

The spacing of the word ‘Miss’ just really annoys me, specifically the gap before the final ‘s’. I know the letters are spaced evenly, but the circle behind the ‘i’ obscures that and throws it all out.

This XKCD comic is relevant to this.

* ok, interesting to me.

Doing better next time round

Last week I put out a report based on a survey of arts organisations, having asked them what effect changes to Facebook have had on their respective Facebook Pages. You can download it from the One Further website.

I was pretty pleased with how it went. Within a pretty short period of time, I managed to gather some information around an issue and present it to people who will hopefully find it useful. That was the main job I wanted to do. It also gave my new company a small profile boost and helped earn me some new names for my mailing list.

To that extent, I’d consider it a success. However, I’m very aware of room for improvement. If I’m planning to do more quick surveys along the same lines (and I am) then they should build on this one. Stopping to consider lessons learned is a good thing to do whether things went well or not and feedback from others can help immeasurably.

Thing is, people tend to be far too polite about these things when some candid (shout out to Creativity, Inc) feedback would actually be very welcome. For that reason, I’m going to kick things off.

If you read the report or contributed to the survey then please let me know what could be improved via the comments. I’d be very grateful.

Here’s how I think things could be improved.

The survey

It could’ve done with more contributors. 48 wasn’t bad and, considering the lack of time and budget behind it, I think I did well to push it out to as many people as I did. Still, the next one should have more contributors.

The survey’s format was fine but could have been better. Google Forms aren’t bad as far as they go but next time I’ll probably try something a little more swish.

I tried to keep the survey short so as not to put people off that means that plenty of good questions went unasked:

  • Those organisations that have seen organic reach increase – are they buying Promoted Posts? There’s a halo effect that could be causing the organic uplift.
  • When people say they’ve seen an increase or decrease, how much are we talking about? It could be whopping or an entirely arbitrary little flicker.
  • What types of content are organisations posting and does that correlate to the popularity of the organisations’ Pages?
  • How much budget are organisations putting behind Promoted Posts?
  • For those that will be using Promoted Posts sparingly, in what circumstances will they be using them. Will they cutting back on any other costs?

It’s a tricky balance to get right and I’m not sure I nailed it this time round.

The report

I was relatively happy with the layout and styling but it was just knocked together in Pages and is really very basic. Maybe there’s something better I could’ve done.

Is a PDF document the best format? I tend to find that those things pile up in random folders on my laptop. Maybe I’ll look at other options for getting the results to people. I’d appreciate thoughts on that one.

I tried to make the format of the report as clear as possible but, as always with these things, if I’d had time I’d have made it shorter. Again, thoughts and suggestions welcome.

Other things

This was a business activity so, as well as creating a good survey and report, a secondary consideration was how I could get a bit of a profile boost for my new business, One Further. I did achieve that to some extent but I think I could’ve done a few things a little better:

  • I didn’t track how much time I spent on it, which seems a bit silly now.
  • I did ok at getting the message out and I’m very grateful for the Guardian piece but I could possibly do better on the distribution side of things.
  • Again, is a downloadable PDF really best? Next time perhaps a presentation on SlideShare embedded on my site would be better. I could maybe give the PDF away for people who give me their email address.
  • Maybe I could present the results in a few different ways. I’m trying not to use the word ‘webinar’ here…


So there we go. Thanks for bearing with the introspection. Anything more to add? Hit me with it – I can take it.

Contribute to this survey about Facebook for arts and culture marketers

I’m running a survey about how arts and culture organisations are using Facebook.

The main things I want to find out are:

  • whether organisations have noticed any effect from changes Facebook has made
  • what they’re planning to do in the future

The resulting report should make for interesting reading. The survey’s been open all week and as well as quite a divergence in responses, the ‘Any other comments?’ section has resulted in some fascinating observations.

So far there’s been a great response with a good range of museums, orchestras, venues and theatre companies – from the very small to the very large. Most are from the UK but some US and European organisations have responded too. To pick a few names at random – National Theatre of Scotland, London Symphony Orchestra, Faber & Faber, Britten Sinfonia and The Other Way Works.

If you complete the survey then I’ll send you a copy of the report once I’ve pulled together the findings. I’m likely to blog about it here but, to guarantee a copy, sign up to the One Further mailing list.

Please fill out the survey and, just as importantly, pass it on. The more organisations respond, the better the findings.

Click here to share the survey on Twitter.

If you’re reading this in an RSS reader or in your email (maybe also on a mobile) then it’s possible it might not show up right. You can access the survey directly here:

Share this survey on Twitter by clicking here -> Is Facebook still useful for arts and culture organisations? Complete this survey to get a free report: