Wow! The Pop-up Book of Sports was born out of our fascination with pop-up combined with the fact that we had Sports Illustrated’s collection of amazing sports photography at our fingertips. We decided a pop-up book of real photographs was a truly unique way to showcase the one-of-a-kind action shots. (You’ll see a lot of the original photographs we used for the pop-ups in the embedded video to the right.)
The book was more technically challenging than anything SI Kids has done before. From the onset, creative director Beth Bugler took a hands-on approach, cutting and pasting images to create several homemade pop-ups to test the concept. Once it seemed like something we could pull off, she got in touch with several paper engineers (experts in the pop-up world who figure out how the images pop, fold and move).
Several of the engineers were skeptical about using photography, and not convinced that it would work. But not Bruce Foster, who had already created cool books like Christmas Around the World and Halloween at the Zoo. He was enthusiastic and up to the challenge. After brainstorming great moments in sports history, we came up with a list, and director of photography Marguerite Schropp-Lucarelli and photo editor Gina Houseman set off to find the images, in every possible angle. Pop-up images require several photos pieced together in order to recreate the moment in 3-D. We would not only need a high-quality file of the main image, but enough supporting photos from SI’s photo collection to allow for all the digital retouching that would be needed.
As we compiled the photos, we’d pass them along to Bruce, who would help evaluate how well they’d work. Bruce would then send us sketches of the pop-up in action — as you’ll see in the video — and we’d continually tweak the photos and the way the image would pop.
Once the trial dummies were approved and we knew what sort of space was available in the background, Beth began designing pages to include editorial content. The images may be the star of pop-up, but we found equally fun ways to tell the story with our text.
After everything was written, edited and placed into the layout and our Imaging department had worked its magic on the image files, we shipped everything to a printer in China. They produced huge reams with random pieces of images to be cut and assembled into a pop-up by hand.
All told, the book took about a year to complete. The project was full of challenges and we had our share of hiccups, but we had a blast creating it. We hope it achieves our goal of making you say Wow.