My first blog at Old Hat Creative will slightly resemble something from Geoff's recent entries. (Or Zac's.) A little bit of everything. That is a phrase I've repeated many times the past few months when asked how I felt about the new job, the wedding or marriage. It's been a wild ride for me this summer. A quick recap - got engaged and got a job offer from Old Hat on Memorial Day weekend. Quit my job(s) in Missouri, packed up and moved to Oklahoma two weeks later. Found an apartment in Norman. Started at Old Hat in mid-June. Got married in early August. Moved my wife Andrea into the apartment. Attempted to fit my stuff, her stuff, and wedding stuff into the tiny apartment. Adjusted to married life after being single for a long time. All in all, lots of big changes for a guy who previously didn't like a lot of change. I had lived in Missouri my entire life, up until about 2 1/2 months ago. Saying goodbye to family and friends and everything familiar to me was and is hard. But it's also exciting at the same time to dive into these new chapters in my life.
Since this is Labor Day, I want to take a moment to acknowledge all the hard work that goes on here. From a newbie's perspective, it really is amazing to see the sheer amount of quality projects that come out of this place. Just watching college football this weekend, many times I would catch myself saying "they're one of our clients." In fact, there were several matchups where both teams were clients - Texas Tech at SMU, Rice at Texas A&M, Central Michigan at Michigan, UNC at South Carolina, etc. to name a few. Being a print guy, I see the great projects that our designers turn out. It's also great to get to view the awesome stuff from other departments, such as intro videos, websites or photography. There are lots of incredibly talented individuals I have the privilege of working alongside of here at Old Hat.
Random thoughts to close this one out: I participated in several fantasy football drafts this weekend. Fantasy sports and football specifically are a multi-billion industry. (Click image to see a larger version) Fantasy Football Real Money [INFOGRAPHIC] via H&R Block
(Side note: While we didn't produce this infographic, we can do them just as good or better for your school or business.)
Can you feel it? Can you feel the optimism and anticipation that fans all over the country are feeling leading up to this weekend? No one has lost a game and everyone thinks or hopes his or her team will stay that way all season. That wont happen to most, a few teams… maybe. Possibly, none. But at this point in the year every one can be optimistic.
So while fans are figuring out what time to start tailgating, what the main course will be or what beer they want to drink this weekend, at Old Hat Creative, things are a bit different. This time of year we are crazy busy trying to finalize everything that needs to be done by kick off. Wait, not kick off, the day before or weeks before or at least when the team enters the field…
Check out what we will be doing this last week leading up to kickoff…
17 intro videos
25 Schedule cards
13 ticket designs
I wanted to end this with a line asking everyone to think about all that goes into these games for fans entertainment but I am not going to do that. In fact, I am going to do the opposite. Do not think about any of this stuff!
Old Hat Creative is here to amplify the sports experience, you just enjoy the game!
We are just mere weeks away from the start of sports season. I know, I know, baseball has been going on all summer…..woo. The real sports season begin, I mean.
This weekend the English Premier League kicks off with the Community Shield. The annual worthless game that is the official start of the season. The reigning league champions face off against the cup winners from the previous season. This year it is Manchester United vs Wigan. This will be the first official game for Man United with out their legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson. Yea, he was a knight. The actual season kicks off the following week so I am just a few days away from having something to do every Saturday morning again.
Three weeks away is college football season. I was really excited about this year but, the off season has been an annoyance. Will Johnathon Manziel play? Who knows? Well… actually I do. He will play and win the Heisman, again. But not as who you think. He will suit up as Victor Chandler. Yep…. This guy….
No, he is not Johnny Manziel, obviously. Victor Chandler is #2, a mobile quarterback, plays for Texas A&M, and is freakishly good. Sure fooled me EA Sports.
In all seriousness, with the season only a few weeks away, we are busy at Old Hat Creative. Posters, videos, schedule cards, and websites all have to be done in the next few weeks. Check out some of the work we have done so far….
The time has come where I have finally have a place of my own! Over the past seven years that I've lived away from home, I've either been in a dorm or a student living apartment complex. I am anxious for this change because I have a space to decorate and make my own! But there is one problem, I have NO furniture yet. I only have a bed, and my couch should be arriving today.
In the meantime, I've been playing a little golf...
... and spending a lot of time online at Overstock, Wayfair, Crate and Barrel (Chicago store pictured above), Pottery Barn and Target with multiple trips to Super Target in Norman. I see a lot of things that I like, but I can't tell if it will go with my new space. It always looks perfect in the ad, but I start to wonder, will I like this couch?
The article instructs you to, "Simply place the catalog in the spot where you're considering adding a new piece of furniture, scan the catalog with the augmented reality app on your mobile device and select the desired item." The app then projects the item by layering it over a real-time view of your room that is captured by your devices's camera.
Unforunately, I am not waiting until 2014 to decorate my space. I've decided to purcahse the bigger pieces (a bed and a couch) and design out. What do you think of this new feature? How do you think augmented reality could play a role in the sports industry?
While I wait for my furniture to be shipped, I'll be trying to improve my golf game!
I've been thinking about this topic for about a week now. On July 2, Twitter updated some of its display requirements for tweets. (These can be found here - https://dev.twitter.com/terms/display-requirements). The main idea behind this is to allow for a more fluid user experience between Twitter and other sites using their API. That's not a bad idea, right? Well yes and no.
If you are going to make requirements for the displaying of your tweets, I believe you should be responsible for providing the information for those tweets. For instance, one of the guidelines is to make every hash tag and username in a Tweet clickable. Not tough, Twitter does this for you right. Nope. Not when using their API. They return a string (message) with no html to you. No links, no method for converting the links, nothing, nada. They expect the developers using their API to do all of this processing on their own. In other words, here's some more work for you to do if you want to use our product. I'm sorry but that is pretty lame. You already have the programming set up in your system. Just return the string with the links already provided! It's not like I'm asking for anything difficult here!
Another requirement is to have the intents (favorite, retweet, follow, reply) links available. They don't have to be shown immediately, but must be available to the user upon some action (hover, click, etc). Cool. Great idea. NOT! Again more programming that they don't provide and what if I don't want people to reply from my site. What if I'm using my Twitter account more as a news feed for my site, such as when this is done:
Well basically this is a no go. It breaks the guidelines because it has no intents and links in its has tags, and user profile name or picture linked to the account. Say what?! I also have to have my Twitter profile pictures and account name on there! And there are restrictions on where and how I can place these items too! But what if I'm only displaying tweets from my account. This is absurd. If I want people to get to my Twitter account, I will link them to it with the little bird.
This brings me to my next point on the guidelines. No changing the color of the bird. I really don't have a huge beef with this one as it is their logo and you are not supposed to change logos, but the unintended effect will be ugly Twitter icons that do not match your site design.
Yes a white bird would have technically worked in this feed, but it would not have been near as eye pleasing as one that blends flawlessly into the design.
And finally there is the whole date issue. They have specific ways they want you to display the times. That's great, but please provide a way to do so! Don't make the people who are making you the platform to go to, do more work. On top of that, it increases the chance that people may display them improperly.
I rate these changes right up there with how I feel about Facebook changes. And that's not too high. I understand wanting a more fluid experience but sometimes not squishing people back into the box is the best way to make your product the number one item in your industry. If you want everyone in a nice neat box, provide the packaging matterial to do so. Don't make me go out and build the box that I am supposed to be shoved into. If you are going to provide me with an API to get info from your site, let me do what I please with the info. If not, don't give me access.
Twitter, do you feel these changes are really going to help your product? I feel you are just hurting the people that helped you build your empire. Are you really going to try to enforce these policies you are making? If not, call them recommendations, not requirements. And if you do enforce them... well expect to see a lot feeds disappearing from sites.
So to recap, say goodbye to feeds like these and say goodbye to creativity:
I just wanted to let you all see what the new stands look like when all the tweets come from the same account.
I don't have a ton of memories from spending time with my father growing up. He was in a car accident when I was 6 that nearly killed him and for a couple of years, he was incapable of doing much in the way of the typical father-son things. And even after he had fully recovered, he was never the type of father to sit down on the floor with me and play a game. He worked hard all week and then on the weekends he worked harder (I grew up on a farm). This is not to say that my father failed in any way. I think he still spent more time with me and my siblings than a lot of fathers do. And he was a great dad. I'm just saying that due there wasn't just a ton of one-on-one time. Therefore, the memories I do have of time with my father are held very precious to me. Three to four times per year, he would drive me the hour-long trek from Guthrie, OK to Norman to see the Sooners play football. It was the Switzer era and there was no bigger fan of Brian Bosworth than I was. I was equally as excited to go to the 2-3 OU men's hoops games each season. Wayman Tisdale, Mookie Blaylock, Tim McAlester... All my heroes. But I don't think anything was better than when he'd take me to Stillwater to see OU play Oklahoma State in basketball. Gallagher-Iba Arena held all of about 37 people back then and there were typically 4 OU fans in the entire crowd. I was one of them for about 8 years in a row. I'll never forget those times and because of those moments, I have passed that along to my own sons. I want them to have those same memories I have.
Years after I started Old Hat, I finally decided to sit down and figure out our mission. What is our purpose? Why do we do what we do? I had pondered that many, many times and for some reason it was never obvious to me. But all at once it became very clear why we are here and why I started Old Hat to begin with. Almost every person I speak to, whether they are sports fans or not, have some memory of a sporting event that they will never forget. Whether it's just driving to track meets with their dad, attending the World Series or simply playing little league, I've never met a person that didn't have a great sports memory that nearly brings tears to their eyes thinking about. And those people ALWAYS remember exactly who they were with.
Sports brings people together. It provides opportunities for fathers to create lifelong memories with their sons. It allows people to share great moments with their brothers, sisters, mothers, friends, etc. And we get so wrapped up in it that the emotion often turns into embraces and tears of joy. And all of the stresses of life are temporarily invisible.
THAT is why we do what we do. At Old Hat we have the opportunity to be a part of that. We can amplify that experience for people. Whether it's helping get people in the seats to begin with or making they experience better once they arrive, we are a part of creating memories for literally millions of people every year. I take great satisfaction in that.
Like a lot of people in this country, I have spent the last couple nights watching the Spurs vs. Heat in the NBA finals.I am not a huge basketball fan but I grew up near San Antonio and watch the Spurs as much as I can.
About midway through the first half, there seemed to be a rather random offensive foul call on Tim Duncan. Before you jump ship and assume this is going to be a blog complaining about the officials from a Spurs fan who had to watch his team get smashed last night, stay with me. What grabbed my attention about this is the way the ABC/ESPN handled the situation. The announcer immediately made a comment about Bosh needing to write a check for flopping to the NBA and they went to commercial. After the commercial they come back and are interviewing a former official about the play. He quickly declared it was a great call and there was no need to question it. Not surprisingly, the announcer made a quick comment about wanting to rebuttal and then they went too commercial. The announcer was never allowed a rebuttal.
Throughout the rest of the night they went back to the retired official to justify calls made by the other officials against both teams. A soft foul on Wade had to be replayed and discussed by the retired official so the fans believed in the call. It became quite comical and it is something they have continued to do throughout the playoffs.
Why am I rambling on about this? Questioning the officiating of the NBA is nothing new but this attempt to involve the sideline crew and announcers came off as insincere. How does this relate to Old Hat? It made me think of all of the marketing plans that come through our office every year. They come in all shapes and sizes, with teams trying figure out what they can do to get the attention of their fans. More often than not it is the marketing plans that are laid out with the fans in mind. The plans that genuinely take the interest of their fans to heart are the ones that are the most successful. Marketing is not about trying to convince your fans that you are thinking correctly or that you care about the fans experience. Marketing is about actually caring about your fans experience. Wanting to make sure they have the best time and want to come back because they enjoyed their day with your organization.
Here at Old hat, we are basically an Apple company. You can look across the office and see a managerie of Apple products. Some iMacs here, Mac pros there. Kevin watching soccer on an iPad. I can't even count how many iPhones are. So, needless to say, a lot of us get pretty excited when we get to learn about the new stuff coming out of Cupertino. This week was the annual Apple WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) in San Francisco. Maybe someday, Zac will let Tanner and me go so that we can get in on the action. Anyway, as expected, Mr. Cook and his cohorts delivered a plethora of new Apple hardware and software solutions. I am going to touch on a couple of the annoucements that have really caught my attention.
Now, as an app developer, the annoucement of the new mobile OS is a little annoying because I have to back to the drawing board on some app architecture. But as an end user, I am very excited. First, the astheics. To me, it looks very pretty, and very intuitive. I like the migration from glassy and glossy to the more flat look. The addition of the parallax (a technique that I am quite a fan of, as seen here) to the home screen, actually adds more depth to the device than the glossy Web 2.0 icons could ever deliver. Some people are complaining about the design of the new native app icons. Personally, I like the simplicity and to me, looks really good. Some features that I am looking forward to:
Slide anywhere to unlock
True multitasking with app preview
Control Center (A simple swipe up brings loads settings)
OS X Mavericks
First, I was a little dissappointed to learn that Apple wasn't sticking with the big cat theme. I am sure that there are at least a few more ferocious felines to be used, but I guess "Mavericks" will do. The design itself has pretty much stayed the same. The new independent multidispalys look pretty sweet. This means I can switch spaces on my dsplays independent of each other. Also, going full screen on one display will not affect the other dispaly. The new Finder feature seem pretty awesome as well. Tabs in Finder allows you to just need one Finder window. Very useful when needing to migrate files from one place to another. Tags looks to be pretty useful as well. This will allow you to "categorize" your files without the need to group them physically. Also really nice when tryin to find a file using spotlight. However, the features that I am most excited to see are the new power conservation features. Now, I am not enough of an electrical engineer to explain how all of that stuff is going to work, but if it will extend my battery life, and reduce wear and tear on my MacBook, I am all for it!
The new MacBook Airs are all small and cute and whatnot, but the new Mac Pro is one sexy beast.
Small. Shiny. Cylindrical. Black. Powerful. Somewhat breaking away from Appl'e usual design asthetic, this thing looks awesome. People keep likening it to a trash can or a coffee grinder, but to that, I say "Bah!". Really though, I think the day of big, bulky desktop computers is over, and this is machine that will help put an end to the beige box. Some people will complain about the lack of expandibility, but the beast has 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports. Expand it externally. The I/O is fast enough these days. Remember, it's 2013, not 2003. Maybe after we develop our next killer app, Zac will break down and get Tanner and me one of these.
Well, you'll probably be hearing from me later this fall when the new iPhone is anounced.
About six months ago Old Hat Creative was approached by the team at Operation Hat Trick for a little help with their website. I had heard of the organization before but did not really have any idea of what they did. It is a great organization and you can find out more about it here.
In the past, Old Hat has done Mayham, Humayliation, and this year our Super Fan 5k to help raise money for good causes. Since I have been here we have not had an opportunity like this and it was something I was excited to play my part. The request was simple enough, help us redesign our website and make it look professional.
When we started, the site looked like this….
There are a couple of issues with the look, but all in all, it really just needed a face-lift. Our interactive team jumped on a conference call with everyone involved. When we first look at a site, it is easy to tell what can be changed and what should be fixed. However, it is not until you talk to the people involved that you really get an idea of what needs to be done. Amber Lilyestrom was great to work with on this project. She has a passion for her work and this organization that you feel when talking to her. Once we heard what she had to say, it was a lot easier to come up with the changes. Here are a couple of looks at the changes.
It is always a process doing a project like this because we were not going to develop the site.Normally, our designers work hand in hand with our programmers to make sure the site design will function properly, and more importantly can actually be coded.The programmer for this site is someone I have only met through email and that leads to even more emails.
Relaying the functionality of the design, as well as the specific items that the client needs, requires a lot of emails and discussion but in the end, it came out right. The site looks great, the programmer did a great job of making our design come alive, and the client is happy with the work.
Operation Hat Trick is a great organization and one I would encourage you to support.