Boston College Athletics 2009 Annual Report

The Boston College Media Relations Department reached out to 3thought shortly after getting our start earlier this spring and requested a bid on the design of their Athletics Annual Report. The crew at BC is great to work with, so we jumped at the chance and, happily, we were selected for the project. An annual report project always has unique challenges. With dual goals of providing both statistical data with context and serving as a positive promotion for the programs, it is an inherent balancing act.

We began the project with a quick trip to the Heights, to meet face to face with the team in charge of producing the report and to discuss their vision for this year’s piece. The theme statement for the ’09 report was to be “Her Story, His Story, Making History.” Not only would the report feature your typical information, but it would also include personal stories from student athletes highlighting their experiences on and off the field at BC. We left armed with disks of copy and images, and began our brainstorming process.

The clean, modern layouts of the ’08 report were well received, so there was a desire to keep ties with that look. However, the theme was calling us in a different direction. The ideas of telling stories and that personal stories do become history, inspired our treatment for the cover. Shea developed a collage that layered the stories themselves with some of the inspiring players from the past year. The effect created was that of a dimensional journal. The dark parchment background added a rich, historical element. Matt then weaved that treatment through the interior as sidebars and introductions, balancing the weight with strongly gridded, white page layouts.

The first draft was delivered ahead of schedule, mostly do to the Media Relations Department’s organization of content (which reminds me of a previous post… If your business is trying to maximize your marketing dollars, here are a few tips from 3thought, on working cost-effectively with your graphic designer.). The project did go through several rounds of editing and it took some time to complete all the extensive PhotoShop work necessary for the “journal” treatments. We also had to create several custom charts and hand-drawn icons to complete the visuals.

We were quite pleased with the outcome, and when BC gave us their approval, we sent a press-ready file to the printer (George H. Dean), and they sent us back digital color Epsons for proofing color. Some minor adjustments were done to better balance the images in this 5-color job, and all was go for press time.

Printing began early on a Monday, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like the smell of a pressroom floor first thing in the morning. The color looked great, and with George Dean’s new Heidleberg Press running at 12,000 sheets per hour, it wasn’t long before we were back to approve a second batch. I find it amazing to see how far printing technology has come in my lifetime, but just as impressive for me that day, was seeing one of the companies owners on press with a loop checking color, and making sure the job ran smooth just like Shea and myself.

All and all, I’d say it was a job well done by all parties involved. We’re looking forward to working with Boston College and George H. Dean again soon.

If you have an annual report, brochure, magazine or any other type of visual communication material that needs to be produced, and you’re looking for creative team to help you out, please give 3thought a call at 508.317.8056, or email We’re currently booking work for fall 2009 and beyond, so drop us a line.

thanks, matt

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