Season brochure wins platinum at Hermes Creative Awards

Stratford, ON…  The Stratford Festival’s 2024 Visitors’ Guide, an annual publication dedicated to introducing the upcoming Stratford Festival season, has been honoured as a 2024 Platinum Winner at this year’s Hermes Creative Awards, a global recognition for creative excellence in marketing and communications.

The Visitors’ Guide was reimagined in 2023, transforming from a 5.25” x 8.375” informational brochure to a 8.125” x 10.875” consumer arts and leisure magazine with greatly expanded circulation. This season, the publication continues to be used as a central marketing product, designed to seed and strengthen brand awareness.

As a branded publication, the objective of the Visitors’ Guide and its featured content is two-fold: entertain the Festival’s community of loyal patrons and entice new audiences with a general interest in arts and culture to visit Stratford – both for its theatre offerings and its idyllic vacation characteristics. The Visitors’ Guide highlights the upcoming Stratford Festival season, offering an in-depth introduction to the season’s playbill, interviews with Festival artists and a listings calendar. To complement Festival-focused content, the Visitors’ Guide presents travel stories highlighting the city of Stratford, as well as feature-length articles covering issues affecting the arts industry with insight from the Festival’s own artists.

The critical combination of compelling storytelling melded with beautiful design by in-house Senior Graphic Designer Shelby Boyd changed the reading experience from the utilitarian information hunt, typical of branded brochures, to a leisurely browse through a magazine enjoyed for its entertainment and aesthetic value. Working alongside Senior Director of Marketing and Audience Development Michael Adams, the Festival’s Director of Content and Editorial, Jennifer Lee, used her experience as a magazine editor to create a world-class publication to showcase the Stratford Festival’s internationally renowned stages. Visually anchored by the work of acclaimed portrait photographer Ted Belton, the Visitors’ Guide features stunning season photography for all 12 productions, portraits of 2024 directors and a behind-the-scenes photo documentary of Festival artists at work. The publication reunites Lee and Belton, who earned a prestigious P&G Beauty Award together for a previous collaboration.

The Stratford Festival’s 2024 season reflects on the idea of “A World Elsewhere,” what Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino describes as, “a journey away from the known, a journey away from the comfortable towards something that – while it’s an immense challenge – often brings us to a much better place.” Inspired by the sentiment of the current season and the Festival’s maverick spirit, the 2024 Visitors’ Guide departs from the comfort of what has been done before and takes on the challenge of innovating new ways to engage audiences through storytelling-led marketing.

About the The Hermes Creative Awards: Governed by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), the Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition recognizing outstanding work in the industry. The awards are judged by industry experts and honour creative achievement in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. This year, more than 6,500 international entries were judged.