Convention Flier Hot Seat: Writhe and Shine
Unless someone wants to sneak into the Convention Flier Hot Seat in the next 24 hours or so, this will be the last in the series. I will announce another Hot Seat series in a couple days. As usual, the standard Hot Seat procedure applies. I’ll start out by discussing the subject in depth, and then open the subject up to the membership at large. Please feel free to offer constructive criticism, advise, new perspectives, etc.
I don’t know that I’d be anxious to endorse this approach.
In short, this flier relies on one image (and one tagline) to convey all of the information on each of the strips the cartoonist is promoting.
Now, part of the problem is that the two comics — Writhe and Shine and Overcast With a Chance of Doom — are so similar in look, feel and subject matter, that it wasn’t until my third or fourth look at the flier that I realized that it was promoting two different comics. And I’ve done several Hot Seat critiques of this work. I’m familiar with it. And I still didn’t know.
But let’s set that aside for the moment. Here’s the bigger problem, for me.
Those visuals don’t pull their weight. Let’s break it down
WRITHE AND SHINE
Based on the visual, I know this is going to involve Goths. And that’s really… all… I was able to get from it. The tagline doesn’t tell me much more:
“When you’re Goth, finding a black-clad family in New Orleans is easy. It’s living with them that’s hard.“
I know it’s probably a comedy, based on the art and the tone of the tagline. I know it’s one of those “friends become family” pieces. I know they’re Goth, and I know the setting is New Orleans.
What I don’t know is whether I’d enjoy reading the comic because there are no samples there for me. Truthfully, there’s really no way of knowing that it’s a comic. You could use the same flier to promote an animated show. Or a play.
So, I could see this flier doing particularly well with people who identify very strongly with the Goth community, but it might do poorly with everybody else.
OVERCAST WITH A CHANCE OF DOOM
If the Writhe side of the flier was a bit ambiguous, the Doom side is downright cryptic. And that’s not good, in terms of promotion. The visual tells me precious little about the subject matter. Again, I don’t even know that this is a comic. And I have no idea whether I’d enjoy it. I know two things: Girl and Goth. As such, it’s one of probably a dozen sites promoting some combination of those two things that a convention-goer is going to see during the show. But there’s nothing enticing them to choose this one to check out when they get home.
The tagline is poorly written:
“Her room may be haunted, but can she face the skeletons in her closet?“
That doesn’t make any sense.
It relies on a common idiom construction: “X may be Y, but Z.”
For example, “I may be crazy, but you’re ugly. And they don’t make pretty pills.”
Often the “I may be” is followed with an “at least” phrase.
“I may be crazy, but at least I have each other.”
Here’s the thing, the “X may be Y” has to be directly referenced by the “but Z” part. Or it has to comically veer off the path.
But you can’t put two unrelated phrases into that construction without the end result being awkward.
The end result of both of the sides of this flier is that I’m not perceiving a very clear message. On both sides, a tremendous amount of real estate is take up by images that don’t convey very much about the comics they’re promoting. Even showing one sample comic for each with have done exponentially better — they would have (1) conveyed to the reader that this is a comic strip and (2) given the reader a feel for the kind of writing/art/story/humor that they could expect to find there.
As far as the choice to promote the Patreon prominently on both sides goes, I’m not sure I understand the logic. Your Patreon supporters — and I can say this with 100% confidence — are people who support you financially because they read (and enjoy) your work. They’re readers, fans, supporters, backers.
This flier is being handed to people who are not any of the above.
If they go to the site and become readers, fans, supporters, backers — then promote the Patreon. On the site. Where it’s clickable. On the flier, however, it’s just taking up space that could be used more wisely.
I like that the booth number was prominently displayed. I don’t know that you needed to add “San Diego Comic-Con 2014.” It’s not as if there were two conventions going on that week, and you needed to distinguish which one this flier was referencing. Even if you kept “San Diego Comic-Con,” I’m confident you could delete “2014.”
Beyond that, the typography is ultra-strong and the color choices are dead-on. (See what I did there?)