The Broadway musical Hamilton first thundered on stage in 2015. It was a real sensation at one time because instead of the usual melodies, the audience heard rap and R&B. Hip-hop performance had brought back the popularity of the long-forgotten Alexander Hamilton. He died more than two centuries ago. In 2015, many no longer remembered the existence of such a politician: they even wanted to remove his portrait from the ten-dollar bill. But after the loud debut of the musical, the creator of the national financial system became famous again.
Meaning and History
The success of Hamilton’s production is entirely due to the composer and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda. He was so inspired by the biography of the founding father of the United States, written by Ron Chernow, that he composed rap based on the historical book and read it in the White House. Later, Miranda began work on the text of the musical; he put the words to the music and volunteered to play the main role.
Hamilton’s innovative demeanor left the audience in wild ecstasy. American statesmen rapped in Congress might look absurd, but they found their audience and became a theatrical hit. The founding fathers were played by Hispanic and dark-skinned actors, the soulful 18th-century style mixed with modern street slang, and classic Broadway tunes were complemented by rock and roll, funk, R&B, and hip-hop elements.
The Hamilton logo deserves special attention, which was presented in 2015 on the first poster. It looks stylish and, at the same time, minimalist: the designers depicted the lower half of the five-pointed star, replacing the upper beam with a human silhouette. This look personifies Alexander Hamilton, as interpreted by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The artists made the drawing completely black, without detailing, but hinted at the personality of the famous politician with the characteristic clothing of the time. The outlines show that the man is wearing knee-high boots, culottes, and a frock coat. Inside the star is the name of the theatrical performance, supplemented by the phrase “AN AMERICAN MUSICAL.”
The logo was designed by Spotco, a New York-based branding, marketing, and advertising agency. They have created dozens of other designs that would have looked great on a Hamilton poster, but all options were discarded for their reasons. For example, images of a feather, a stylized letter “H,” a red exclamation mark, or a green head-shaped blob could be used instead of a star with a mysterious silhouette. However, the developers felt they were not good enough to become full-fledged symbols of a Broadway musical.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The position of the silhouette shows that the person is standing on the star with one leg outstretched. His hand with an extended index finger is raised. This image symbolizes Alexander Hamilton shooting into the sky. As it became known from the suicide note, the great politician did not like duels – they contradicted the moral and religious principles of the founding father of the United States. Therefore, he deliberately fired into the air when challenged by US Vice President Aaron Burr, Jr. As a result, Hamilton himself was shot and blame for all the offensive pamphlets he wrote.
Branding agency Spotco used two types of fonts for the inscription. The first is a classic serif with different stroke thicknesses. The second is a vertically elongated sans-serif typeface. All letters are capitalized and completely white, so they stand out in contrast to the black star. The person’s silhouette is completely darkened, so viewers have to guess for themselves who is depicted in the logo. This color scheme was chosen to make the emblem look good on the golden Broadway poster.