Innovative Publishing partners with Manhattan Construction Company to create award-winning publication
What goes into an award-winning publication? A children’s book, a cardboard mockup, and drone shots of a 5.5-acre retractable roof, to start.
Late in 2019, we had the exciting opportunity to work with Manhattan Construction Group to create a commemorative publication for their latest Texas project – Globe Life Field, home to the Texas Rangers. We knew this publication needed to be special, incorporating some sophisticated printing effects to best present the impressive construction feats taking place at the stadium. A huge plus to a printed medium is that it provides a tangible experience for the reader, allowing them to physically interact with the content. There are lots of options to make that experience fun and flashy, but we really wanted it to be meaningful as well.
First, we assessed the most unique aspects of the project that deserved to be highlighted in the publication. We considered features such as the 100-foot-tall brick archways, the 1.8 million square foot HVAC system, the use of the largest crane in North America, and perhaps most notably, the 5.5-acre retractable roof. How could we draw attention to this impressive, mobile feature of the ballpark? Designer Molly Dixon had an idea.
What if the magazine opened the way that the roof does? Could the pages retract? We started to consider something like a fold-out poster, but wanted to replicate the way that the roof actually operated as closely as possible. The roof is the largest single-panel operable roof in the world and slides open laterally on a track. We started brainstorming how the page could pull out to emulate this.
Inspiration comes in many forms
One source of inspiration was none other than a children’s book belonging to designer Catherine Meany’s young daughter. The pages of Picture Magic Farm have tabs that pull out to the side to reveal color versions of the illustrations on each page. While not exactly the solution we needed, mechanically the idea was very similar and proved to be a helpful visualization tool.
Another reference source was a coffee table book about art that Molly had seen. This book used similar pull-tab features to illustrate interactive artwork and design concepts. This further demonstrated the potential for something like that to work for our content.
A team effort
Next, we pitched the idea to the communications team at Manhattan Construction Group. It all hinged on getting two identical photos from directly above the stadium, one with the roof closed, and one with the roof open, to make this work. The construction team was already using drones to capture images of the construction progress along the way, and they agreed to take these images for us. They even arranged a test shot for us to work with and request adjustments to during production.
With the Manhattan Construction Group team on board and a loose concept of how this could operate, we met with our local printer Welch Printing Company to see if it was even feasible. Coincidentally, they had just finished another job printing invitations that had a similar pullout tab. We pitched the details of our idea, and they came back to us with a cardstock mockup to demonstrate how it could work. This would turn out to be a vital reference point for us as we put those pages together!
For the rest of the publication, we pulled inspiration from both the sport of baseball as well as the Rangers’ branding to create recurring design elements. For example, we used a double chevron near each introductory paragraph and pull quote to subtly represent the stitches on a baseball. We also used a baseball diamond as the symbol to signify the end of each story, and a pennant shape as a page label.
For each section intro, we took an illustration of baseball stitches and placed it across two pages to give the illusion of a rounded shape. To make these pages stand out even more, the graphic was printed using UV-coating only on the illustration, which creates a gloss effect on the page.
The Rangers organization was gracious enough to share the font graphics used for their team jerseys and other branding materials. We used this typography for the page numbers on the table of contents, for the by-the-numbers sidebars, as well as for the drop caps.
The construction of the stadium and the production of the magazine were occurring simultaneously. We knew many of the images were going to get to us at the last minute, including these crucial shots of the roof. Opening day for major league baseball 2020 was quickly approaching, which meant our deadline for press was approaching even faster. The goal was to hand out the magazines at the Rangers home opener, and we had to allow time for printing, including the hand labor to create this pull-out page, and shipping. As a result, we were unable to get a photo of the finished roof and stadium in time for use in the publication.
Little did we know what 2020 would have in store. Covid-19 did not delay our print production, but it did delay the start of MLB and the public reveal of the brand-new stadium. Had the timing been a little different, maybe we could have gotten those finished project photos of the roof!
In the end, we were very excited to see this come to life. We couldn’t have done it without Manhattan Construction Group’s team, the Rangers and Welch Printing Company being so cooperative and wonderful to work with. All around, this project was an impressive display of TEAMWORK.
Globe Life Field would go on to win Associated General Contractor of America’s Build America award. As construction manager for the project, Manhattan Construction Company received the 2021 Construction Risk Partners Build America Award for Construction Management New or Renovation ($100 million or more). TEAMWORK would go on to win two 2020 Maggie Awards for Best Overall Trade Publication and Best Annual, Semi, Three-time, Quarterly/Trade Winner. View the publication here.
Catherine Meany is the design manager at Innovative Publishing. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org