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A Banner Season

(February 2009) posted on Sun Feb 15, 2009

A look at diverse soft-sign graphics


By Steve Aust

click an image below to view slideshow

Centuries ago, banners held tremendous significance. They were a central part of church’s liturgical proceedings, and identified warring nations, clans or tribes as they charged headlong into battle.

Although hand-rendered banners are still used for religious purposes, and recreational groups like the Society for Creative Anachronism raise them during their medieval reenactments, banners now make their most profound statements commercially (and, they’re printed via inkjet or screenprinting processes instead of being rendered in vegetable dyes, milk or ox blood, as in olden times).

Although soft-sided signs have always been valued as an inexpensive advertising tool, the following projects underscore banners’ evolution from routine storefront signage that promotes a sale or new product into dramatic backdrops and prominent architectural statements.

Take Me Out to the…Rink?

For the second consecutive year, the National Hockey League (NHL) has celebrated the sport’s roots in playing outdoors, by holding the Winter Classic, a New Year’s Day tilt played al fresco between the Chicago Blackhawks against the Detroit Red Wings. The NHL staged the game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, legendary home of the Cubs.



Berkeley, CA-based Flying Colors reprised its role as designer and fabricator for the Winter Classic’s banner graphics. David Kerchman, Flying Colors’ president, Kerchman quickly decided on the design for in-stadium graphics; although Wrigley’s famed red-brick wall might have been snow-covered and its cover of ivy dormant at face-off, he brought these images into mid-spring splendor. He and his team visited Wrigley during baseball season to gain a better sense of the genuine article, and created the likeness using Adobe® Photoshop® and Illustrator® software.

“[Wrigley’s] red brick and ivy are registered landmarks with the Illinois Historical Register, and baseball fans the world over know them as icons of one of the game’s legendary park,” Kerchman said. “This event focuses as much on the venue as the game itself, and I couldn’t think of a better way to pay homage to the stadium.”

However, he noted that Wrigley offered several logistical hurdles.

“The ballpark’s almost 100 years old, and doesn’t have concourses that you associate with more modern stadia,” he said. “Also, because it’s not normally used in winter, the water pipes were turned off to prevent freezing, and there was no heat to be found.”


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