The Maid of the Mountains Programme (1964)


This is a programme from a theatrical production of “The Maid of the Mountains” which ran at the Bristol Hippodrome in 1964-1965. I bought this programme in a charity shop in Marlborough in 2017, near my home village. As I was starting university in Bristol just a few weeks later, I was even more sure I wanted this piece of the past.

The design caught my eye instantly as the two-tone combination of bright orange and black is so vibrant, clean and complementary. Taking a closer look inside it affords some really wonderful ‘60s adverts and use of two-colour design. This programme was likely printed using offset lithography to first apply the black toner and then the orange over the top. This printing of both colours separately is what creates the slightly misaligned look on the page, leaving strange white gaps in some places and creating interesting overlapping colours in others. This effect was simply a result of the quick and dirty printing process of the time, however it’s become a very desirable look people like to emulate in modern graphics today. As this style clearly evokes the ‘50s and ‘60s, graphic designers spend lots of time trying to replicate this, originally unwanted, misaligned offset lithography look digitally in their work.

In this programme, I love the mix of illustrations and photography side by side. The illustrations are very much of their time and very warming, especially in that orange tone. Throughout the programme, from start to finish, are a dozen adverts for local, Bristol businesses. Everything from Chinese restaurants to cigarette manufactures and record shops to sherry producers. The ads each vary a lot in design style and are amazing examples of commercial typography from the time, making this a great little historical piece that I’m very glad I picked up.

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