The Art of Theatrical Design: Elements of Visual Composition, Methods, and Practice, Second Edition, contains an in-depth discussion of design elements and principles for costume, set, lighting, sound, projection, properties, and makeup designs.

This textbook details the skills necessary to create effective, evocative, and engaging theatrical designs that support a play contextually, thematically, and visually. It covers key concepts such as content, context, genre, style, play structure and format and the demands and limitations of various theatrical spaces. The book also discusses essential principles, including collaboration, inspiration, conceptualization, script analysis, conducting effective research, building a visual library, developing an individual design process, and the role of the critique in collaboration. This second edition includes

  • A new chapter on properties management and design.
  • A new chapter on makeup design.
  • A new chapter on digital rendering, with evaluations of multiple programs, overviews of file types and uses, and basic tutorials in Adobe® Photoshop® and Procreate.
  • An expanded and revised chapter on traditional rendering, with the inclusion of new media, including watercolor, gouache, and mixed media, and updated exercises and tutorials.
  • Revised and expanded chapters on individual design areas, including additional practices for conceptualization and collaboration, with new exercises for skill development.
  • Additional exercises in all elements and principles of design chapters for investigation of each design principle and skill development.
  • Revised and updated content throughout the text, reflecting current pedagogy and practices.  

This book gives students in theatrical design, introduction to design, and stagecraft courses the grounding in core design principles they need to approach design challenges and make design decisions in both assigned class projects and realized productions.

The Art of Theatrical Design provides access to additional online resources, including step-by-step video tutorials of the exercises featured in the book.

Part 1: Beginnings  1. What is Design?  2. Form, Content and Context  3. Genre  4. Style  5. Structure and Format  Part 2: Elements of Design  6. Line  7. Shape/Form/Mass/Space  8. Value  9. Color  10. Texture  11. Creating the Illusion of Depth on a flat Surface  Part 3: Principles of Design  12. Unity and Variety  13. Balance  14. Repetition/Pattern/Rhythm  15. Scale and Proportion  16. Emphasis and Subordination  Part 4: Core Principles for the Theatrical Designer  17. Collaboration  18. Analysis  19. Conceptualization  20. The Design Process  21. The Role of the Critique  22. Drawing as Our Common Language  23. Traditional Rendering Techniques  24. Digital Rendering Techniques  Part 5: Individual Design Areas  25. Costume Design  26. Makeup Design  27. Scene Design  28. Properties Design  29. Lighting Design  30. Sound Design  31. Projection Design