2013 Giants Opening Day —

2 04 2013

The World Champion San Francisco Giants opened up their 2013 season with a 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. I hate the Dodgers. Anyways, AT&T Park opened its gates for those of us willing to play hookie on Monday and come watch the game on the jumbotron. I went. It was awesome. A reported 15,000 people were there — it’s a number I don’t totally believe. But still, it was great to be out at the ballpark.

But before all that could be done, there was the San Francisco Giants 2013 Opening Day guide to stress over. And boy, did I stress. Mostly, because, it was very-much a last minute deal. And the savior in all this was my friend, April Vallero. Here, check out the cover (click for a larger view):

Opening Day Cover

I had discussed with April about helping me with the section this year after seeing some of her sketches on Facebook. I really liked the style — it’s simple, but done with great style. And it’s definitely not anything we’ve done with the Daily Journal Sports section before. I don’t think she’ll mind me showing you some of her other awesome work.

April Vallero

I called her on Thursday afternoon and gave her this idea, something to the degree of, “it’s the Giants against the big, bad, money feeding monster that is the Dodgers.”

To say that April and I were on the same page visually would be an understatement. Shortly after our chat, she sent over some sketches … and I knew we had something cooking for sure. All smiles. I swear it.


After seeing how much ass the cover would kick, I got to saving space for Monday’s edition of the Journal, and figuring out what I could build to complement what would be a kick ass cover. I always think and say I’m the kind of page designer that likes to challenge myself to try different things and build better infographics. But, the truth is, TIME is a bitch. It kills a lot of great ideas because the details in these things take TIME. And TIME we did not have. We literally worked around the clock and come out with this (click for a larger view):

Opening Day double

First, the size. It’s a 10 column (20 inches) by 10 inch graphic that I didn’t want to build as a full-on double truck for the sakes of extra work from having to move advertisements around. In the Daily Journal, this graphic split right down the middle — and it was built as two separate pages. It just turns out that, when combined, it looks pretty cool as one solid piece.

Second, some of these elements are recycled from previous guides. The calendars are a must. Readers love those. The jerseys are from last year’s guide, only with an off-white color to them this year to switch things up a bit. The cutout of AT&T Park returns.

But, third(ly), I did a handful of new things. I brought the field out for the Giants portion of the graphic. Once I did that, I added the “rankings •••••” bar under the mug shots. I thought it was an interesting way of saying a lot about a player without a single word. I stayed with that ••••• theme for the teams in both the NL and AL Wests. And then I took it a step further with “Defending World Series” bit. Being that it was pretty much my first time trying to do that, I liked the outcome.


25 03 2013

The dust has settled and we’re officially in our Spring attire at the San Mateo Daily Journal.

We couldn’t shut the door and turn the page on the Winter though, without first looking at our coverage area’s best athletes … and as it is the case every year for the four, we’re looking at another graphic series by yours truly. This one in particular, turned out to be the most consistent I’ve done, I think. Good concept. Good execution.

I give you the 2012-13 SMDJ Ticket Series (as always, click for a larger view):

Daily Journal ticket series

We can go through the process of selecting the Athletes of the Season some other time … and a couple of races were actually very, very close. But for now, the process of building the tickets and then the presentations for each athlete was a fun challenge.

I had been fresh out of themes for a while now. We had done cereal, money, video games, the list goes on and on. Last Winter, we just went full on graphics, full page monsters, no real illustration artwork — just picture and type. The one big thing was the addition of the All-Daily Journal Teams … and those actually wound up being the coolest parts of the graphic.

But this year, I got an idea while walking through my hometown mall — in a sports specialty shop, I saw the T-shirt below and thought “hey, why not? We haven’t tried that.” I snapped a picture of it with my phone and started looking up ideas.

Ticket insp

I loved the 3-dimensional feel of the Pablo Sandoval ticket — that was my mind objective when putting together my own. As I scoped through the various season ticket packages by various teams (which are actually harder to find than you may think), the one I thought would be simplest to duplicate, and therefore more efficient for the 5-day run, was Stanford’s. I loved so many things about Cincinnati’s and Atlanta’s — but there is a lot more photography work done with those. And, as we’ve discussed here before, our resources can be very hit or miss with photos. Once we selected our Athletes, our photo well looked like this:

Picture 5

All five of those photos work well for daily sports coverage — but not so much for graphical illustrations. But as a page designer, thou shalt not whine. Just work. The Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year is Michael Smith, a baller from El Camino High School in South San Francisco. And of the five photos, his was by far the toughest to work with. But we made it work and wound up with this:

Michael Smith basketball El Camino

OK, some of the more immediate issues: • The Size: In wanting the presentation to be dynamic, I went four columns across (8 inches) and a whole 13.25 inches high … • The All-Daily Journal Teams: needed to fit in this schematic. So, originally, I was going to fit the team in that space you seen at the bottom of the page … much like what we did last year. But, with the adage of the other tickets (mostly used to filled the vertical space), the actual story copy would have needed to fit in a really awkward shape to the right of the illustration. After giving up on that, I went with the All-DJ on the side … and to my complete happiness, it fit perfectly. So, Michael’s is above … Drew Edelman’s is here:


So, you can see what I meant by four columns — meaning, we left one on the right for other coverage. Those were days 1 and 2 … soccer was a bit of a challenge for days 3 and 4. One, the soccer field, it’s not one solid color — green, lots of blacks, so the copy on the bottom had to be bolded and a green background took a lot away from the futbol pitch feel. But, the tickets looked great.

Segre Player of the Year

Did I mention I wrote three of these stories too? Yeah. I did. My favorite was Gianna Rosati’s. I’m a big fan of hers. Girl’s got skills. Click below, it’ll take you the story.

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OK. I’m tired. But this was fun. Always is. But, I need a vacation.


5 03 2013

So the entire city of Burlingame was buzzing over the Weekend and well into Monday. Usually, on my trip to Starbucks in the morning (down on Ave and Primose), I’ll pick up a paper just to make sure I didn’t make any stupid errors the day before. But on Monday, the rack was empty and there were a lot more people reading the sports page — including the actual Central Coast Section Champions themselves apparently. I spoke to coach Pete Harames for a story we’re running on Tuesday and he sent me this. I thought it was cool.


That looks like Tyler Paratte reading the Sports page — or pretending to. Oh, the embarrassment. But anyways, that is legitimately Connor Haupt holding the Division III championship. Congratulations to them and to the girls’ basketball team who also won on Saturday. Burlingame, the high school, has always been good to me in my writing career. It’s nice to see the Panthers get their day. We featured the Panthers on the front page of Sports on occasion — actually more so the girls than boys — for no particular reason.

Picture 4

And I will say, I liked how the stories turned out. I don’t say that often. But I did. Click on the image below and be taken to the all-powerful Daily Journal website.

Picture 5

49ERS FAITHFUL V. 2013 — 

4 02 2013

This comes courtesy of my boys from One Time Inc.

More specifically, my boy Mark Penacerrada who is straight legit mad kray with design. He’s my boy. He’s more than legit. And he puts together super awesome stuff like this — so much so that KNBR picks up on it and make it their Facebook cover. I feel like a proud brother.

And no, I don’t want to talk about the game. I want to look forward to next season. Thank you. Stay Faithful.

49ers Super Bowl Facebook Cover

Ah, and by the way, this is blog post No. 300. Damn. I write a lot.


2 02 2013

O.K boys and girls. I’m going to try and get us through this very long blog post as effortlessly as possible. But, there is a lot, so bear with me. Yes yes yes, the San Francisco 49ers are in the 2012-2013 Super Bowl where they’ll be playing the Baltimore Ravens. You already knew that. So, first thing’s first, the San Mateo Daily Journal cover page commemorating the game.

015 0202 sat

The cover runs as part of a 4-page pull-out section we put together at the Daily Journal. It’s something I’ve been planning since the Atlanta NFC title game. As soon as the Niners locked up that game, I went to work on conceptualizing a plan for the Daily Journal. I guess as a designer, you shoot big hoping that enough people love your idea and that it sticks. My publisher emailed the sports team saying, “let’s talk pull-out section” and here’s what I presented everyone not too long after that email. First, the 8-page section plan.

Picture 2

And the 4-page idea

Picture 3

For a newspaper the size of the Daily Journal, an 8-page plan with a full double-truck treatment is pretty ambitious. We don’t necessarily have the time or the resources to pull this off. But heck, the last time the 49ERS where in THE SUPER BOWL, the Daily Journal wasn’t in existence. So attempt No. 1 should be BIG.

Picture 5Well, the idea stuck … with me, but not necessarily our advertisers and sales team. Listen, I don’t know enough about sales for me to talk, but I waited a week to really start plugging away to see if we’re going eight pages or four, and when there wasn’t as much I prepared for four and maybe even the idea of not building anything at all. Come Monday, I had no choice but to start planning and getting things together for the four pages. Bummer, yes. I had the idea of representing the Lombardi trophy that wasn’t quite San Francisco’s — and with a long history of success, getting back to the Super Bowl was like “filling a void” for the organization. I liked it, I stuck with it and dug up around for some Lombardi trophies. They’re to your left up there. After some tinkering with levels, curves, all that jazz, I was left with something like …

Picture 7

Boom, there’s your cover image. The “empty” Lombardi trophy image was born from a pen tool path, which, perfectly enough, was already done for me with the trophy image I used. Don’t ask me how. That looked a little something like this …

Picture 10

As you’ll notice, the original frame didn’t include the circumference-like dotted lines on top of the trophy AND the five Lombardis were staggered a lot differently. The concept and message was there though. I liked the added dimension given by those extra lines, so I kept them. Then, after an impromptu meeting of the minds with Erik, our page designer, we shrunk the trophies a bit and liked them up to add more depth of field to the images. From there, it was a matter of adding the text. I knew I wanted to include a locally-angled take on the Super Bowl and commissioned my editor, Nathan, to take of that. I thought there was good spacing throughout the cover page.

Now, the page 2’s infographic was a whole different beast. I found out on Tuesday we were sticking with the 10×12 original space of my plan. And really, when trying to go from a double-truck to a single-page infographic, well, it’s a unique challenge to cram as much as you can into the one page. So, we went forward searching to images to use — vertical ones. And as is all the rage in The City right now, we landed on Colin Kaepernick.

Picture 12

And then the fun part becomes putting together the puzzle and turning all of this …

Picture 4

Into this …

Picture 13

And ultimately … (Click for larger views)

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Wait, where’d the ads go? Oh well. The cover and the infographic were just half of the section. I, at the very last minute I may add, commissioned Sally Schilling, one of our best correspondents, to work on a locally angled, where to watch the game kind of story. She came through big time and her story was featured on Page 3 along with a sidebar of some places to watch the Super bowl locally. Page 4 was the jump page for Nathan’s story on Coach Matteucci and some other agate-type goodness. Click for larger views.

017 0202 sat FORJULY

We’re not done just yet. You’ll notice we pulled off a couple of great little fillers on page 3. I liked the synopsis for the Super Bowls. That came last minute. We had to go out of order because I wanted to one for Super Bowl XXIII as a side bar for the local story since it’s mentioned in it.

TimeLineCut 49ers Super Bowl

There was still the little thing known as A1. As with most of these 49ers treatments in sports, I got asked for design something to the front page of the newspaper — which I did. I stayed with the stadium theme we’ve had going the last couple of weeks — starting with Candlestick, then the Georgia Dome and ultimate the Mercedes Benz Superdome.


I had to explain to my nephew today who No. 8 was. I said simply the best quarterback of all time. Steve Young. Love that guy. Anyways, there you have it, Waaaaaaayyy more than you’ve ever wanted to know about the 2012-2013 Daily Journal Super Bowl section. I’m tired. It was a lot of fun, but a ton of work. I’m just looking forward to being a nervous-wreck during the game. I don’t do predictions, especially when it comes to my teams. I just want ring No. 6.


22 01 2013

The last bit of that, is me, very excited. For a couple of reasons.

One, I’m a fan. A big huge fan. I’ve loved the 49er since I was a kid (Steve Young, where you at?!) and I’m more than a little ecstatic about the Niners back in the upper echelon of sports franchises. It’s where they belong.

Two. I’m a designer. And having our home team in the Super Bowl opens up a lot of opportunities for the Daily Journal to do a lot of great things with our Super Bowl edition. We’ve run variations of it in the past — with mixed results, to be honest. Mostly because the space allotment is so erratic you don’t really know what you’re working with until the last minute. Rushing equals no bueno in my book. Anyways, we’re here for the buildup. Two games prior to the one on Feb. 3rd. Two cover-looking treatments for the 49ers. Here’s what ran for our readers against the Packers.


The Michael Crabtree-featured piece came after my editor caught wind of our SPORTS cover and asked if we’d be building something for A1. Yes, Of course we would. Here’s how it came out in A1 world.


Pretty-flippin-cool. Anyways, the main event of that whole week was the SPORTS cover. We pulled that one off using a variety of things. First though, here it is in  it’s splendor.


I’ll go over this briefly … well, I was, but I don’t know where the original file is anymore. July Fail. But you should know this one was one hell of  project considering the Mr. Clay Matthews back there was a stubborn bastard. How do you make that kind of shape fit accordingly without overwhelming the illustration? Well, we figured it out. The star of course is the silhouette of Candlestick Park. I’m a huge fan of how that turned out.   

Which leads to the NFC Title Game cover and a huge sob story that revolves around a very nasty, very unforgiving flu virus that took control of my body for more than a week and left even my creativity crippled. I went into the office (finally) on Friday and whippped this up. I played off the same “stadium” theme (that’s the Georgia Dome in Atlanta) … and let me tell you, domed stadiums suck for this kind of stuff. Just saying. The big thing right now in the Bay Area? Kaepernick-ing. No hyphen. Think I’m lying? Google it.


There you go. The library is getting pretty expansive with these 49er pages. And, it’s only getting bigger with the team’s pending trip to Super Bowl 47 (XXLVII for you purists).


5 01 2013

So, as I sit at Starbucks in Burlingame I find myself having a bit of an internal debate … and yes, without a doubt soccer has become my favorite sport to cover at the high school level. I guess I can go over my logic at a later date, but I tell ya, it felt great the last couple of days talking to coaches and trying to get a landscape of the PAL in 2013. And then, even cooler to be out yesterday afternoon at Aragon, bumping into friends and watching some quality soccer.

So here goes, our preview for the girls’ soccer in the PAL Bay Division ran in Friday’s edition. I put a little something together for the front of SPORTS. Here you go. It came out cool — it was just a stock image and then the placement of school logos over the soccer ball panels.

PAL  girls'

You can read the entire 1,200-word preview here.

But, briefly … I can’t wait to see Woodside play. Just jogging through their roster and talking to their head coach makes me think this will be a special year for them … oh, but only half as cool as NEXT year … talked to a San Mateo High School defender yesterday at Aragon, and she described at the team as “young” and gave me one those smiles that said, “we’re in for quite a year.” … Apparently, I haven’t been able to reach the San Mateo head coach because, he’s in Spain … Saw some familiar Aragon faces yesterday, too, which was reassuring … I think it’s a two-team race (Carlmont-Woodside) with Burlingame third, maybe 1-2 if they get healthy.

Anyways, boys’ soccer was published on Saturday. I decided two of the same visual treatment was overkill. But, I re-did the ball just for the heck of it. Here is it.

Picture PAL boys

You can read the entire 1,200-word preview here.

But, yes, like I said, I was out at Aragon vs. San Mateo on Friday. San Mateo is good. Aragon is going to be solid in the Ocean. If you want to read my story, here ya go.

Picture 4

I just realized I make a cameo in that photo, see me in the red BARCA hoodie (courtesy of my older sis!)? Handsome as ever I tell ya. Anyway, briefly … San Mateo is going to be good — their defense looks solid and they have Will Amaya who is a sensational keeper. … Took a lap around the Aragon track with Mrs. T — always awesome to catch up friends … This Mendoza kid is something else, he’s going to be fun to watch. … Speaking of fun to watch: Luke Petersen (Carlmont), Chava & Chavita (the Salvadors at Woodside), Jonah Synder (Burlingame), and while I didn’t write an Ocean preview, Aldo Severson and this kid Platino at Aragon (dude, what a pretty goal).