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ninamargaret

New ROH cast sheets

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Thought other forum  members might like to see this.

----Original Message-----


The following message was sent using the "Contact Us" form on the Royal Opera House website.



Message:

Whose idea was it to produce cast sheets in minute and light coloured print? Totally impossible to read in the light in the auditorium, especially for aged eyes. I know you would prefer a younger audience, but there must be many audience members who found tonight's cast list unreadable. Annoying not to be able to see who was dancing until I got home.
 

From: ROH Website [mailto:website@roh.org.uk] 
Sent: 21 November 2018 00:23
To: Royal Opera House - Customer Service Contact
Subject: Website Contact (Customer Services): Cast lists

Dear Nina,

Thank you for your email in relation to our newly revised cast sheets. 

In the context of our commitment to environmental responsibility, and a need to save money on our print bill bearing in mind a challenging financial climate, we have redesigned our cast sheets so that they use less paper and fit in with our new brand. By doing so we will save approximately £44,000 per Season, and lots of trees. As part of the change, we have moved our production department credits into the programme (as they apply to the run as a whole rather than a single performance) and have scaled back the synopsis.

Since we introduced the new design of cast sheets we have received a small number of complaints relating to their legibility. The change in font size has been small, but we are aware that in the context of low lighting in the auditorium some audience members may find the new cast sheets less comfortable to read. We are therefore conducting a review of the new design, and are considering what course of action is appropriate.

Best regards and thank you for taking the time to write to us, 


Graham Boland
Customer Services Manager

Box Office
Royal Opera House 
Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD 
Telephone: +442072129796


-

Edited by alison
Removed personal details
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I got exactly the same response, ninamargaret (see the New ROH thread). Let's hope the review results in changes.

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6 hours ago, blackdove said:

I won't hold my breath

 

Well I did point out that the promotional  blurb about the Linbury was pretty illegible in any light - that at least might make them reconsider the pale text on white background issue.

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2 hours ago, bridiem said:

Well I did point out that the promotional  blurb about the Linbury was pretty illegible in any light - that at least might make them reconsider the pale text on white background issue.

 

On last night's Triple Bill cast list the added blurb on the right hand page was about Young ROH, and  was in a normal black type.

Edited by Richard LH
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I agree, they’re harder to read at any age and point to a general meanness of spirit and less sense of occasion. Of course a cast sheet is better than no cast sheet, but that’s one-way traffic and I do miss the more technical information. Hopefully the review will increase font size if not content and paper size. 

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At a performance of the mixed bill last week I was sat next to a woman only in her late 20s and she commented that we were seeing the first performance of Symphony in C (!), having read 1 instead of 61, so poor was the print. I mentioned this in an email to Alex Beard the next day (primarily about the box office but also about poor information on cast sheets and on line). Complaining about the change of cast sheets I also told him how the previous week at a performance of Bayadere I was sat next to an eminent critic who hadn't been given the cast change slip when he collected his ticket so had no idea.

Last week I managed to secure a cast change slip which listed two changes but the sign at the desk only mentioned one so even the signs aren't reliable! 

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17 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

Thought other forum  members might like to see this.

----Original Message-----


The following message was sent using the "Contact Us" form on the Royal Opera House website.



Message:

Whose idea was it to produce cast sheets in minute and light coloured print? Totally impossible to read in the light in the auditorium, especially for aged eyes. I know you would prefer a younger audience, but there must be many audience members who found tonight's cast list unreadable. Annoying not to be able to see who was dancing until I got home.
 

From: ROH Website [mailto:website@roh.org.uk] 
Sent: 21 November 2018 00:23
To: Royal Opera House - Customer Service Contact
Subject: Website Contact (Customer Services): Cast lists

Dear Nina,

Thank you for your email in relation to our newly revised cast sheets. 

In the context of our commitment to environmental responsibility, and a need to save money on our print bill bearing in mind a challenging financial climate, we have redesigned our cast sheets so that they use less paper and fit in with our new brand. By doing so we will save approximately £44,000 per Season, and lots of trees. As part of the change, we have moved our production department credits into the programme (as they apply to the run as a whole rather than a single performance) and have scaled back the synopsis.

Since we introduced the new design of cast sheets we have received a small number of complaints relating to their legibility. The change in font size has been small, but we are aware that in the context of low lighting in the auditorium some audience members may find the new cast sheets less comfortable to read. We are therefore conducting a review of the new design, and are considering what course of action is appropriate.

Best regards and thank you for taking the time to write to us, 


Graham Boland
Customer Services Manager

Box Office
Royal Opera House 
Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD 
Telephone: +442072129796


-

Translated:  Dear Complainer:  You must be one of those old lags that we are doing everything possible to get rid of - there are, apparently, a few of you still left.  Don't you know London is a city for youth and ROH is committed to changing its audience to better reflect this new culture.  We are delighted to have saved £40,000 on our paper bill, especially as this has allowed us to provide a warm, dry, drop-in Centre for youth caught short in Covent Garden or seeking a place to commune with their laptop.  Saving trees has also been a big consideration as we had to fell quite a few to construct our new extension.

 

Our progressive marketing department is currently conducting a review which will involve speaking to the many thousands of people that are now coming through our doors.  Chosen at random and, to avoid bias, people need not have any affinity with the Arts or have attended a performance.

 

We hope this is helpful and trust that we won't see you again soon.  May I, however, draw your attention to one of our many charitable appeals.  A gift of just £5000 in your Will would allow us to offer free coffee and muffins to our drop-in guests.

 

 

 

 

Edited by penelopesimpson
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A word about trees.  How many forests would be saved if production of the multi-paged, technicolour Programmes were scrapped?

 

Oh, but wait a minute.  People have to pay for these so blow the trees.

 

Hypocrisy masquerading as virtue.

Edited by penelopesimpson
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If they want to be environmentally friendly and save some money, they could drop the gloss coating and buy standard A4 pieces of paper as used by ENB and BRB. If the didn't fold them, they might even save a few more pennies.

 

Not using glossy paper would have the pleasant side effect of increasing readability since you wouldn't have bits of the print obscured by light bouncing of the gloss.

 

The main issue I have with the design is that no thought was given to accessibility. If you design print or Web materials professionally, you're expected to be familiar with accessibility issues for users with specific needs, eg visual impairments or dyslexia and how to address them through 'inclusive' design. Providing large print, audio or braille cast sheets would be too costly (and perhaps too much asked), but providing 'inclusive' cast sheet would ensure that a larger proportion of visitors can read them easily at no extra cost to the ROH.

 

The use of capitals for entire words is a big no-no since it makes it harder to identify the 'shape' of a word. Same goes for italics. Gloss paper is also a no, as is the inconsistent use of headers. The newly designed cast sheets do all of this, which isn't awesome for an arts organisation.

 

(If you're still reading this, stop now unless you enjoy pedantry)

 

Having a look at THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER cast sheet, the following can be found:

 

They did right align the text apart from a tiny section at the top of the front page. Bonus points for that, since centre or left alignment is harder to read for some people.

 

The titles of the ballets are in upper case, as are most but not all names.

 

There is no visual indication that INFRA is not part of a title that starts with THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER. This could be solved by increasing spacing between lines. Or cheat and give the triple bill a name instead of listing all 3.

 

No header for the orchestra listing (inconsistent use of headers), use of italics for ballet title.

 

Date appears in larger font without header (double whammy for inconsistent use of headers and conveying meaning through font formatting)

 

There's more inconsistent use of headings on the front page and a random line, but I think I belaboured the shortcomings of the front page enough.

 

The following pages have similar issues, though the DURING YOUR VISIT section nearly got it right, apart from the header obviously. 

 

Special shout out to the last column on page 3, an unacceptable combo of extra large uppercase and very insuffient contrast between background and text. 

 

Special tip to the ROH:

When hiring marketing services, include 'working knowledge of basic accessible and inclusive design' in your selection criteria and have a look at a company''s website before bothering to shortlist them.

 

The busy background images with text overlay on Konica Minolta's website could have served as a massive hint that the company has never heard of accessibility standards.

 

A basic primer can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-communication/accessible-communication-formats#accessible-print-publications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Coated
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Thanks, Coated - you've done a far more thorough job on it than I could have managed.

 

Quote

The use of capitals for entire words is a big no-no since it makes it harder to identify the 'shape' of a word. Same goes for italics. Gloss paper is also a no, as is the inconsistent use of headers. The newly designed cast sheets do all of this, which isn't awesome for an arts organisation.

 

I've been banging on about the blasted capitals since they introduced them.  Most people look at me as if to say "what's the problem?"

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Coated, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new ROH ticket layout. Seems to me like another very good example of poor graphic design. 

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7 hours ago, Coated said:

If they want to be environmentally friendly and save some money, they could drop the gloss coating and buy standard A4 pieces of paper as used by ENB and BRB. If the didn't fold them, they might even save a few more pennies.

 

Not using glossy paper would have the pleasant side effect of increasing readability since you wouldn't have bits of the print obscured by light bouncing of the gloss.

 

The main issue I have with the design is that no thought was given to accessibility. If you design print or Web materials professionally, you're expected to be familiar with accessibility issues for users with specific needs, eg visual impairments or dyslexia and how to address them through 'inclusive' design. Providing large print, audio or braille cast sheets would be too costly (and perhaps too much asked), but providing 'inclusive' cast sheet would ensure that a larger proportion of visitors can read them easily at no extra cost to the ROH.

 

The use of capitals for entire words is a big no-no since it makes it harder to identify the 'shape' of a word. Same goes for italics. Gloss paper is also a no, as is the inconsistent use of headers. The newly designed cast sheets do all of this, which isn't awesome for an arts organisation.

 

(If you're still reading this, stop now unless you enjoy pedantry)

 

Having a look at THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER cast sheet, the following can be found:

 

They did right align the text apart from a tiny section at the top of the front page. Bonus points for that, since centre or left alignment is harder to read for some people.

 

The titles of the ballets are in upper case, as are most but not all names.

 

There is no visual indication that INFRA is not part of a title that starts with THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER. This could be solved by increasing spacing between lines. Or cheat and give the triple bill a name instead of listing all 3.

 

No header for the orchestra listing (inconsistent use of headers), use of italics for ballet title.

 

Date appears in larger font without header (double whammy for inconsistent use of headers and conveying meaning through font formatting)

 

There's more inconsistent use of headings on the front page and a random line, but I think I belaboured the shortcomings of the front page enough.

 

The following pages have similar issues, though the DURING YOUR VISIT section nearly got it right, apart from the header obviously. 

 

Special shout out to the last column on page 3, an unacceptable combo of extra large uppercase and very insuffient contrast between background and text. 

 

Special tip to the ROH:

When hiring marketing services, include 'working knowledge of basic accessible and inclusive design' in your selection criteria and have a look at a company''s website before bothering to shortlist them.

 

The busy background images with text overlay on Konica Minolta's website could have served as a massive hint that the company has never heard of accessibility standards.

 

A basic primer can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-communication/accessible-communication-formats#accessible-print-publications

 

 

Coated, this is really very useful. I believe ROH - given its various commitments to the Arts Council - could benefit from what you say. Might you like to contact them, just forwarding your post to them should be enough? The email address which appears repeatedly throughout the ROH website is

 

boxoffice.access@roh.org.uk

 

This should ensure your information reaches the right person. 

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17 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 

boxoffice.access@roh.org.uk

 

I don't think that's the address you mean, Geoff.  That's the address of the department that deals with patrons who have access needs..

 

Edited by Bluebird

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I think it would be excellent if the ROH saw your comments, Coated, before they complete their review of the new cast sheets. The ' customer services' contact on the website would get to someone relevant.

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15 hours ago, Coated said:

There is no visual indication that INFRA is not part of a title that starts with THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER. This could be solved by increasing spacing between lines. Or cheat and give the triple bill a name instead of listing all 3.

 

This makes me think of temporary road signs which say

 

NARROW LANES

DO NOT

OVERTAKE CYCLISTS

 

Well, of course they don't.

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10 hours ago, bridiem said:

I think it would be excellent if the ROH saw your comments, Coated, before they complete their review of the new cast sheets.

10 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

The ROH IS noting the comments on here.

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12 hours ago, Bluebird said:

I don't think that's the address you mean, Geoff.  That's the address of the department that deals with patrons who have access needs..

 

 

Unless you have a better email suggestion Bluebird, this address is probably the best we’ve got. All I said is that this should get the information to the right person (I assume it will be passed on and by someone sympathetic to access issues at that!)

Edited by Geoff

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31 minutes ago, penelopesimpson said:

 Good one today on South Western railways:

 

Trains departing from Exeter will now depart from Salisbury

 

 

I hope you weren't coming up today, Penelope.  I've copied your and Ruth's contributions into our "Strange Signs" thread in Not Dance, because they seemed relevant.

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49 minutes ago, alison said:

 

I hope you weren't coming up today, Penelope.  I've copied your and Ruth's contributions into our "Strange Signs" thread in Not Dance, because they seemed relevant.

I was but abandoned it halfway.  Then it took me 2hrs extra to get back to Salisbury, due to ‘a swan on the line....’

 

Thanks for transfer.

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I agree with the criticism of the  new cast sheets which seem designed to be far less legible than the ones they replace. I assume that they are part of the ROH "new brand" initiative. But do we really want triple bills given fatuous titles of the type devised by BRB such as  "Fire and Fury", "Summer Celebration" or "Spring Passion " which give no indication of the range and type of ballets being performed ?.Given the way that those involved with marketing and customer experience seem to have taken charge of and tried to standardise so much of what members of the public experience when attending performances and  reduce the services provided by the  ROH organisation it can only be a matter of time before the powers that be  insist that the AD should  devise mixed bills that are far  more homogeneous and more carefully themed so that they suit the title selected for them. What title would you give the Les Patineurs mixed bill  ?  "Winter Solstice" suggests itself but would not you have to replace the Concert with something more suited to the bill's title and of course if you chose an equally fatuous title  such as "Winter Celebrations" you would, at the very least, have to lose Winter Dreams.  In fact you might find that mixed bill became even more difficult to  construct than they are at present.

Edited by FLOSS
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