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June 16, 2008

Love or Hate Sky Boxes, They Are Here to Stay

Sam Berlow, General Manager

I recently took my 12 and 15 year old to see the Celtics, and the only tickets left were in a sky box. The view was great, the seats were comfortable, we had a private bathroom, and food was good (for a sports arena). During the game we had this feeling of being disconnected. Sky boxes are set away from the crowd. We were in the crowd but not in the crowd, we could hear the cheering, but couldn’t feel the noise, we could see the action but couldn’t smell anything but the recycled air in the box.

We were connected and disconnected at the same time. My boys thanked me after the game, but asked if we could sit in the usual seats in the crowd next time.

Several Do’s and Don’ts

Sky boxes have become a standard rather than the exception in newspapers today. With the reduced widths and popularity of front page advertising the battle for space is at a fever pitch. Typographic rules still apply to this new real estate. Here are my top sky box recommendations, which have been gathered from conversations with designers from all over the world.

1. Stay true to your typographic palette. Do not introduce new fonts into the sky box, as it will look like advertising and not editorial. Keep the connection.

2. Avoid bold headline type which would otherwise be used to announce a new president, catastrophe, or World Series Champions. The cleaner the better.

3. Size matters. Don’t trump your flag by having the size of the sky box type dwarf your brand name.

4. Give space. Don’t crowd your flag, but allow for leading between the sky box and flag. White space is your friend.

5. Don’t clash. Contrast or compliment the flag and the main headline. If your main headline below the flag is a bold serif display typeface, use a complimentary light serif weight from the same family, or a contrasting sans typeface from your existing type palette.

6. Don’t track. If the text type does not fit the line length, use a condensed or compressed version of the typeface family.

8. Respect the image. When using photos and type together, avoid the type interfering or crossing the photo.

9. Stay balanced. Position the sky box so it is visually centered on the page, and it doesn’t seem tilted to one side or the another.

10. Too much type is confusing, not enough can be cryptic. Say only what needs to be said.


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