Airpark, bluemedia's Signs Create Field of Dreams

architectural signage, digital graphics create atmosphere at AZ's Salt River Fields

Located on the ground of the Talking Stick Resort, which is jointly owned by the Pima and Maricopa Native American tribes, Salt River Fields (named after the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community jointly controlled by the tribes) serves as the spring-training facility for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies (the D-backs also use it as a year-round instructional facility).
The tribes’ general contractor, Mortensen Construction, hired Airpark Signage & Graphics (Tempe, AZ) to develop the architectural graphics after Airpark’s successful execution of signage for the Community’s Two Waters administration complex. Gretchen Cherrill, the company’s owner, said architectural signage comprises 80% of the 29-year-old company’s work. FocusEGD, a Dallas-based, architectural-graphics firm, designed the program. The firm incorporated mountain and snake icons to reflect Talking Stick’s desert environs, which also incorporate the D-backs’ fiery-red and Rockies’ dark-purple signature colors throughout the facility’s graphics.
“Athletic facilities take a lot of abuse from big crowds of fans,” she said. “That’s especially true at Salt River Fields, where concerts, food fairs and other types of events are scheduled year-round. So, durability and resistance to vandalism and corrosion are very important.”
Airpark fabricated Salt River Fields’ exterior wayfinding from ½-in.-thick, painted-aluminum panels painted with Matthews acrylic polyurethane-paint and finished with digital graphics printed on 3M Controltac repositionable media with an HP L25500 latex-ink printer. 3M’s 8520 matte-finish topcoat will protect the directional signs from Arizona’s withering climate.
Other key, architectural-sign elements include:
• Near the stadium’s main entrance, Airpark sandblasted environmental graphics – and painted them with the blasting mask still in place – into walls of Arizona granite that both serve as a main-ID monument and describe the owning tribes’ mission and philosophy.
• For both teams’ locker-room entrances, the shop fabricated flat-cut-out, aluminum letters with stencil-painted graphics, and framed them with stone backgrounds built from rock native to each team’s home state.
• Airpark decorated concession-stand structures on the stadium concourses with Native American-themed displays with proverbs from Talking Stick’s affiliated tribes. Digitally printed graphics were installed on fabricated-aluminum cabinets.
• Airpark also fabricated signage for the concession stands. The most distinctive example, for the 101 Cattle Co., a burger bar, was built from an aluminum pan face, which was mounted to solid-aluminum bars, with reverse-pan, unlit channel letters.
Bluemedia, also of Tempe, contributed several digital graphics to the facility’s signage complement. One key example was a dramatic entry element that features the fiery D-back logo banner installed in front of two backdrop banners that display a close-up view of the team’s 2001 World Series trophy. They comprise 4-oz., 86-in.-wide chintz material, with pole pockets and hemmed edges sewn in to accommodate the hardware. The pieces were dye-sublimation printed on a Mimaki JV-5 printer at 1,080 dpi in four-color mode. The shop also digitally printed life-size player images.