Wheels up on an innovative digital magazine
SWAPA had a union publication to communicate union business, but with Southwest Airlines issuing iPads for use in the cockpit, they leapt at an opportunity to communicate more. Southwest pilots have disparate personalities and interests, so building a publication with content that targeted their careers, their industry, and their unique lifestyles, was a unifying initiative. With an idea and a delivery vehicle, our small team developed the concept for Range, a lifestyle and trade publication to serve commercial airline pilots.
Getting off the tarmac
With very few resources and a budget less than $5,000, we needed a platform to build and deliver our magazine. Solutions from Adobe and WoodWing were expensive and little more than interactive PDFs, though magazine publishers were doing little else. Wanting to deliver a true interactive experience, we found and partnered with a new developer, MagPlus. The design and development process of issue one was a protracted process in early versions of their publishing system, but our interactions and experimentation helped push development of the tool. Range was a first for commercial pilots, but it recorded many other firsts as a digital magazine.
- DSVC Dallas Show
Best in Show - Digital
- DSVC Dallas Show
Silver - Illustration
- Print Magazine
Regional Design Award - Digital
- WPA Maggie Awards
Best Development for Tablet/Trade & Consumer
The team pulled content from pilots, industry experts, and academics, filling an editorial calendar from themes in service, weather, military, travel, industry, health and gear. While commissioning illustrators for the cover and primary feature, art for the rest of the issue had to be shot, acquired, or illustrated in-house. Working with Creative Director Troy Myatt, we both designed sections of the magazine before coming together to build a unified overall look.
The First Officer
My role was art director, developer, videographer, and photographer for the inaugural two issues of Range. Researching and initially working with MagPlus, I helped develop the custom application, organized the verticals in the system, and submitted the publication through iTunes. I also shot custom photography for stories as well as shot and edited video for a profile of Herb Kelleher.
Our run lasted only two issues, but our work helped break the mold in digital publications, garnering industry acclaim and awards. After building a strong foundational platform to publish through, surely Range would continue to deliver compelling content and communication to pilots in an ad-supported format.
…and don’t call me Shirley.