… From The Plan—To The Fans’ Hands
By Lynn Keel
When you go through a CenturyLink Field turnstile, heading to your seat at a Seahawks game, the first thing you’re likely to hear is, “Get your program, Seahawks program here…”
But you probably have no idea of the complexity—and hair-breadth deadlines—involved in producing that colorful and changing booklet for every Seahawks home game.
Planning for the GAMEDAY program begins early in the Summer. Lane Gammel, the Seahawks media manager, and Sam West, senior sales executive at ColorGraphics (CG), which prints the program, begin the process with discussions about timing and budget.
Janet Jensen, the graphic artist based in Edmonds, who has been designing the program since 1996, designs the 64 static pages (those that will remain the same until a reprint in mid-season).
She usually gets the input for the covers from the Seahawks about five days before it goes to press. The cover art for each program is determined by the ticket designs, which are created by the Seahawks in-house staff.
Janet (above) then sends the art to Glenn Padgett, Seahawks program production manager at CG (at right), who explained the process this way:
“I’m the wizard behind the curtain. It’s my responsibility to orchestrate the steps required for success. As a plaque that hangs on my office wall says, ‘Nobody knows what I do until I don’t do it.’
“As with football, success is in large part determined by preparedness. We begin by having stock ordered and layouts made early. We receive the files for the 64 static pages in advance of those for the 48 that will change, and these are printed on our web press in Los Angeles and held at Puget Bindery for use in each ensuing issue.
“By the time the remaining 48 pages arrive from the designer, layouts are made and the job is ready for prepress to take the field. They output proofs overnight for approval the next day by the Seahawks.
“Any corrections are made and, once approved, printing begins that night on our perfecting press. Folded signatures are sent to the bindery for a one-day turnaround and delivery to CenturyLink Field the next day. Total turn time—four days!”
This was the production schedule for the GAMEDAY program for the August 18 pre-season opener versus the Minnesota Vikings, shown on the cover:
Aug. 7: Art received by email at CG for the 64 static pages.
Aug. 8: Proofs sent to Seahawks. Any corrections made.
Aug. 9: Print static pages.
Aug. 11: Art received by email for cover and 48 changing pages.
Now, two pivotal and pressure-packed days…
Aug. 14, Morning: Proofs of changing pages to Seahawks.
Aug. 14, Afternoon: Any changes made and PDF proofs emailed back to Seahawks.
Aug. 14, Evening: Print all changing pages and cover.
Aug. 15, Early Morning: Fold printed signatures.
Aug. 15, Morning: Deliver to Puget Bindery for perfect binding.
Aug. 15, Evening and 16: Perfect bind 13,200 copies.
Aug. 17: Deliver to CenturyLink Field.
Unlike the Seahawks, the GAMEDAY production crew—most of whom have been involved in the process for more than a decade—must have a perfect record every game and every year! And, fortunately, we have so far.
The comments of the leading players in the process that accompany this article are testimony to the uncommon pressures—and pride—involved.
Kudos to all!
Lynn Keel is the sales-production coordinator at ColorGraphics, where she’s worked for the past 23 years (through all of its iterations), and she’s been in the printing industry for 43 years. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.