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Tribe Pole Banners
Today, it’s hard to imagine any sporting event — NBA Playoffs, Super Bowl, World Cup or Olympics — that isn’t accompanied by huge colorful banners stretched from poles, around vehicles, or across building façades. Yet it is only the growth and predominance of lower cost digital color printing over the last several decades that has made such splashy sports statements feasible (and so plentiful).
In the sign and graphics trade, such visual elements are known both as ‘out-of-home’ (meaning outdoors and not limited to a particular business’ premises) and ‘large format’ (meaning typically produced on large or super-large flatbed printers). Most of us, though, encounter them as simple pole banners: streamers of multi-colored vinyl or fabric tethered to streetlight or utility poles.
Pictured above is one of the first street pole banner designs we at ZZ Design created for The Tribe: The Cleveland Indians, to mark their first appearance at The World Series in over 40 years (in 1995). This design actually consisted of 26 different designs, for we created 13 different matched pairs of images, one each for every player on the 25-man World Series roster, plus one for the team manager at the time, Mike Hargrove. These paired images always appeared together, straddling a street pole, in consecutive sequences along the Tribe’s parade route through the city of Cleveland. Pole Banners ranged from Jacobs Fields to Public Square and to Playhouse Square, as we spread the Indians brand throughout downtown.
The 1995 World Series banners turned out to be so popular (some were even auctioned off for charity), that for the following Tribe season, we had to try to outdo ourselves. So, as the image above illustrates, we got up close and personal, using very large fashion-style monochrome head shots of each player, identifying them on a first-name basis. Once again, we produced 26 designs in 13 matched pairs — though, this time, the team mascot Slider stood in for manager Hargrove.
Once again, these pole banners not only ringed the ballpark, but also extended outward through other areas of the city’s core.
As the 1997 baseball season approached, we were asked to commemorate both the team’s Division and League Championships. As roster changes were continuing, and a definite player roster could therefore not be established, we instead elected to use only copy, choosing a bold color scheme and strong, legible type style for maximum clarity and readability. The above banner designs were the result.
Pictured above are the pole banners we designed for the ball club once they had clinched the 1995 American League title. Here we attempted to convey the action and dynamism of a game in progress, punctuated by ever-present pennants.
Jacobs Field’s Upper Deck access is unique in baseball — a sweeping semi-circular concourse elevated more than 80 feet above the surrounding city below, with broad vistas across the skyline and the Cuyahoga River Valley to the west and south. The distinctive ‘toothbrush’ light towers of the ballpark rise majestically in file around the cylindrical drum of the upper deck seating. To mark these light towers for the 1997 All-Star Game, we chose to fly our nation’s flag: we created a trompe l’oeil (or ‘fool-the-eye’) graphic that made it appear that flat red-white-and-blue pennants were furling in the steady Cleveland breeze.In the process, we created a festive and patriotic testament to America’s sport and our hometown team.
See the latest banners of the Tribe, ringing Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field), and of the Cavaliers, gracing nearby Quicken Loans Arena.
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