Face Up: Fleet Owner
By Dylan Stableford
Issue: August 2005
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Mele
Senior Art Director: Dan Zeis
Mission: “The trucking industry’s information source.”
Concept: For readers of Stamford, Connecticut-based Fleet Owner, roads are rarely less traveled, and when they are, they are often ravaged with potholes, cracks and other pavement-related vices that make for a bumpy ride. When it came time to conceptualize an image for its August 2005 cover story;”Roads to Hell: America’s Broken Highways”;senior art director Dan Zeis did just that: Hit the road. “Dan actually went out on the local roads here in Stamford and took pictures of potholes,” says FO editor Jim Mele. “The cigarette butts and bottle caps;they were from Dan digging them up, putting them in potholes and manipulating them.” Zeis used Photoshop to transform the individual shots into a single pothole in the shape of America, a process he says took about two and a half weeks. He then printed the paper-shredded cover lines, crumbled them, photographed and manipulated them, too.
Production: Fleet Owner normally uses a photo illustrator, but all the work here was done in-house. “When it’s a really good topic, I get kind of control-freakish and don’t necessarily want too much help,” says Zeis. “It’s a pretty somber topic for us,” says Mele. “We wanted a kind of ominous image, yet one that people would think was kind of fun.” It wasn’t somber for long. For part two in its next issue, the pothole had been patched.
Our design panel says: “I appreciate an old, trusted title becoming edgyﾅGreat image, I’m into the conceptﾅRansom-note treatment is appealing and the American map is well-executed. But why are potholes so sinister?ﾅMore info is needed. Why are broken highways roads to hell? Hell on suspension? Hell on hemorrhoids? A subhead would helpﾅphoto needs more contrast and saturation, and I don’t understand the shredded newspaper treatment.”
The Panel: Charles Brucaliere, Forbes; Steve Traynor, CSO; Daniel Stark, Stark Design; Criswell Lappin, Creative Director, Metropolis