Silent But Deadly

No, I’m not referring to a bodily function. I’m talking about the stage crew at a theatre production. Stagehands, or Theatre Ninja’s, as they like to call themselves are the unsung heroes of the theatre.

Without these hardy, creative, resourceful and patient souls, no production would ever see the curtain go up.

I was asked to design a shirt for them to wear while doing what they do. This meant a black shirt with a very dark gray or even flat black print so it would not show up while they move around on and back stage during the production.

Theatre Ninja2

I started with the front, deciding to minimize the ninja part, but threw in the glasses as a head nod to the obvious geek nature of set building, lights and sound and such. I selected Avant Guard as the font because of the round form for the “a” and then put the¬†ninja in that space. I intentionally aligned the “t” in theatre with the “j” in ninja.

For the back, we tried a nod to gaff tape (which is stuck to everything on the set at some point) and a phrase that was actually part of a conversation my daughter had with the drama director. A lot has been written and quoted and tweeted and meme’d about stagehands. Having a design that has its roots in something that happened specifically in your space feels more authentic. In the end, there was a concern that as funny as the quote was, it would not be understood by very many people and would need constant explaining. The decision was made to repeat the ninja larger on the back. It’s a clean design and one that will hold up over time.