Just one year ago, on baseball’s opening day, graphic designer Jacob Heberlie launched a new business called Stadium Graph. A huge baseball fan, his idea was to create objects that honor the memories we make at the ballparks we attend. His posters of stadiums are graphic masterpieces, packed with information about each particular ballpark—and fans so far love them. Initially funded on Kickstarter, his laser cut wood Ballpark Diamonds are assembled by him and his family—all of whom love baseball. Jacob and his wife run the operation from top-to-bottom in their St. Louis home, where computers, sawdust, and kids are the norm. I was able to track Jacob down for a few questions about his new business, and here’s what he had to say.
John Foster: Jacob, tell me something about yourself that people can’t find on the website.
Jacob Heberlie: I’m a designer, dad, and I guess technically now I’m a third-generation woodworker; and I really just love the game of baseball. I’ve been working in digital for the last decade, so focusing on the design of a physical object was a really fun change of pace.
JF: How did you get such detailed information on all the stadium parks?
JH: We look at a lot of different reference images, most you can get for free: satellite imagery, seating charts, reference photos. For the diamonds we take all of those into consideration and make our own interpretation of how to split the stadium into levels, or simplify the design for aesthetics. So we aren’t really going for a replica, more of a minimal geometric interpretation. The posters follow a similar process and evolve from really loose sketches into the final illustrated pieces, with lots of rework to get all of the statistics in there.
JF: What other baseball stadium posters are in the works?
JH: Well, our focus has been on the sculptures lately, but we will certainly get around to doing more poster products very soon. The next one will probably be a diptych of Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead. They were both built at the same time and I think it’s just a really interesting project that people from Kansas City will love. And we HAVE to do something for Yankee’s fans. There’s so much history. It’s going make a really intense and fun research process. I can't wait to dive into that.
JF: Do you make the wooden stadium boards yourself or do you outsource that?
JH: Yes, we design and build each diamond ourselves! We’ve brought in some part time help to handle swells in orders. Right now my wife Cate runs most of the day-to-day, and I’m around to run the saw occasionally. It can get pretty crazy, but we aren’t ready to turn it over just yet. We are busy building out our new workshop! Our last house had sawdust, packing supplies, and wood scraps in just about every room. Our new shop will still be accessible from home, but everything will be in one spot.
DO: Here’s a baseball question for you Jacob. Left-handed power hitter walks up to the plate. Which ballpark out there favors him for a homerun?
JH: If you are a lefty, most people would say Fenway is your park; but on a rare occasion that the Chicago wind is working in your favor, it could help you get past the ivy with very little effort.