An Exclusive Look at How We Pulled Off Our Latest Issue: The GP100

In a year like no other, product designers could have easily deferred, pushing new releases to 2021. They didn’t. Product innovation and refinement are alive and well, though they may have looked a little different this year. From hand sanitizer to face masks, many of the year’s best new products arrived refreshingly free of hype, solving problems without great fanfare. Then again, after years of waiting, we also received new flagship gaming systems, Rolexes, Land Rover Defenders and the fastest shoe to ever run a marathon.

Gear Patrol’s Issue 15, the GP100, is our annual list of the 100 best new releases of the year — capturing all the products that matter most in 2020. To produce it in the age of COVID was no easy feat. So we sat down with Joe Tornatzky, our Creative Director, for an inside scoop of how the cover photo was produced.

Hey Joe, so talk us through the issue. What inspired the cover?

For the past couple of years, we’ve been ramping up to having a physical “100” built out of raw materials to be better aligned with the idea that most of the products we cover are actual real things. Using raw materials adds permanence to the cover that establishes the issue as a timeless piece of journalism.

With a concept in mind, where did you start?

What came about this year is Sherry Wang (Senior Designer at Gear Patrol) and I started off exploring materials stories for the issue. We wanted to find a material that we could shoot across all categories from cars to watches. Also, we felt very strongly about creating unique pedestals and stands for each product in order to showcase each item in the best light.

One of the first products we focus on is the car because the location and set logistics are the most difficult for that product. This year we had a contact reach out about a modern home in Long Island that was recently built. The exterior was built with this beautiful black wood and metal, something that we could recreate in the studio with the smaller products. So we took that same texture of the house and built our set around that.

We worked with our set designer to craft these pedestals — similar to the feeling of elevating winners on a podium setting at the Olympics. We wanted to capture the notion that all these products were legendary.

The “100” itself was actually crafted and built by our set designer, who used our brand font to create these blocks. He sourced raw materials, crafted it, painted it — and then we brought them to the set and shot the whole cover.

And the result?

The result is a beautifully produced cover photo that really captures what the GP100 is — the round-up of the best products of the year. It drew from inspirations of physical tangible objects, celebrated the products that deserved a spotlight. The issue and the cover is really an accomplishment that speaks to the type of Product Journalism and the creativity that our team has.

Interested in the GP100? Check it out here on the Gear Patrol Store.

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