Range Magazine

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association
Dallas, TX

Involvement

Art Direction/Development/Video/Photo

Credits

  • Jacob North, Publisher
  • Neal Hanks, Executive Editor
  • Troy Myatt, Design Director
  • Steven Lyons, Art Director, Developer, Video/Photo
  • Brett Affrunti, Illustrator
  • Chase Stone, Illustrator
  • Ann Spencer, Editor

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.

The covers of the inaugural two issues of Range Magazine. The first issue, on the left, was illustrated by Brett Affrunti, showing the concept of diversity and growth in the airline industry. The second issue, on the right and illustrated by Chase Stone, was representative of all the pilots’ stories of flying fallen heroes to their homes.

Awards

  • 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

Now Boarding

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.

The inaugural issue of Range focused on the growth and diversity of the airline industry and how each employee group interpreted it differently. Other features detailed the anatomy of a thunderstorm, what it meant to be on a critical response team during tragedies, and a pilot group on a motorcycle safari through South Africa. Gear guides, travel escapes, and tips on health and taxes made up the rest of the issue.
The front of book Gear Up section featured health devices like the Jawbone UP, watches, and outdoor travel gear. The overnights section was unique as we featured on places to eat and things to do within a specific radius of the overnight hotel for a particular city. We bundled places together in the interface based on how much time it would take depeneding on their schedule. Pilot Safari was a feature about a yearly motorcycle trip in South Africa. Included many photo features and a trip map.
In the second issue we streamlined and focused the content while adding animation and content details. The primary theme was focused on the issues pilots faced in service of flying fallen military personnel home. Showcasing SWA founder, Herb Kelleher in an in-depth interview was unique and touched on a broad range of subjects.
The lead-in image to Herb's feature interview was shot in-house and included a neat title reveal under the smoke. A feature on the new domicile in Denver and features on hurricane storm hunters and the science of hurricanes brought exclusive content to the magazine.