SafeCo Field Sign ·
In the fall of 1998, I was asked to help visualize a major sign for
SafeCo field, a new baseball stadium in Seattle. It was late in the project
schedule, so both the building design and signage identity packages were
already approved. In fact, fabrication for most of the signs had begun.
However, the architectural design called for one of the signs to sit over
a major entrance of the stadium, which was a circular drum. This was not
The sign designer was trying to reconcile the approved signage with
the curve of the building, neither of which could be changed at that stage.
But they weren't entirely compatible, as the dimensionality of the sign
made it unreadable when curved. Introducing the curve meant that the logo
had to be treated very differently in order for it to up here to match
the brand identity in all the other signs. There was also a lighting challenge:
Not only did it have to read well from all angles, it also had to work
well in bright daylight as well as at night when it would be illuminated.
So we had four different and opposing requirements that had to be met
-Remain similar to the brand established by the existing signage.
-Bend around an exact curve while remaining readable.
-Look good during daytime
-Illuminate well at night
A change to satisfy any one could compromise the other three. This left
a very slim range of design. In order to find that range, we needed to
adjust the different aspects of the sign while seeing the result immediately.
I set up a parametric stack so that we could make changes easily in
an unbent 2D version very quickly, and then immediately see those results
translated onto the curve form. As you can see the first configurations
or not very effective. The letters garble as the sign curves away. This
allowed us to explore the sign qualitatively, and then measure the dimensions
from what worked. We could provide the exact dimensions in the fabrication
Anyway turned out very nicely I think. It reads at night as well as
during the day and strong sunlight and, when its overcast of course, and
not only does it to high-end to the other signage but it's also unique
in its own way. Because of the high cost and prominent visibility of this
type of building element, a small investment in visualization can really
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