As a graphic designer I'm always on the look out for creative inspiration and reasons to quit having a bad attitude. Most of the time the inspiration comes visually, like this package design for a box of golfballs or this graphic from Sunday Night Football.





But other times the inspiration comes in the form of music. For me, music is just as important to the design process as the visual inspiration. It's my secret weapon. It's what gets my creative juices flowing.  Below is my official "Design Jamz" (with a Z cause that's cool) Spotify Playlist. Chance are, if I designed your poster and it was awesome, I was listening to one of these songs… if it wasn't awesome, I was probably listening to NPR. Sorry about that. I'll be sure to listen to one of these songs next time. I promise. 



Being tasked to design the front and back of the Duke men's and women's basketball all in book covers isn't easy, but our team of designers always make the impossible, possible! 

These all in book covers include game day information and parking information with tickets and parking passes that are sent out to Duke's season ticket holders. It is a one-stop shop of information for Duke's men's and women's basketball games. 

Men's Basketball All In Book Cover (Front) 

Women's Basketball All In Book Cover (Front)

Template poster designs are a great way for schools to have consistent branding when creating posters for a large number of sports. When Duke decided to do a template design for their Olympic sport posters, Old Hat was ready to create something that was not only awesome, but that would work well when changing out the players and schedule information for each sport. Old Hat worked with Duke to come up with the main design concept for their Men's Soccer team. Once that was approved, we went on to update that design with new players and schedule information for Women's Soccer, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Cross Country and Swimming and Diving. As the winter and spring Olympic sports get ready for their seasons, we will continue to update this design for those sports as well. Additionally, we used this overall look for the fall sport schedule card and will be doing the same for the spring sport schedule card. Now that all of these sports have an awesome poster, there's nothing left for fans to do but cheer on the Blue Devils!

As a designer at Old Hat, I find myself asking that question every day and in the two short years, I have been here, my thoughts on the age-old question have evolved dramatically.

However, one guiding principal I read a couple years back still holds true today: 

"You are responsible for a visual moment in the life of that franchise and it is not to be taken lightly. If you can’t match the passion the fans have for their team this career is not right for you. "

-Chirs Modarelli, Art Director/Designer Cleveland Browns

I believe the answer lies somewhere in the intersection of artistic fundamentals and the artist's interpretation of fan's passion for their teams.

Ultimately a design's greatness is a subjective matter that means different things to different audiences based on their affinity to a given program. What works for one, may not necessarily work for the other.

With that being said, here are a couple of things that I feel are essential to a great design, regardless of one's feelings for a team. 

In high school shop, they teach us to measure twice so you only have to cut once. The same basic principle goes for planning your design: Develop a general concept and direction so you can establish an aesthetic that is attainable from start to finish. in doing so, you can define design elements (color, photography, logos, use of typography), how messaging and information are communicated and keep a consistent-brand association with your program. 

Mood boards are a great way to begin planning the look of your visual campaign, as well as giving the designer a jumping off point for your design.

I can't stress this enough. A great designer can take even the worst player photos and manipulate them into some semblance of awesomeness, but photos with great composition afford a designer the freedom to focus on telling a visual story rather than trying to make up for a shot's shortcomings. 


(Alabama Football Program Covers by Buddy Overstreet)

3. Affinity & Emotional Triggers
Every program has that special something that serves as a rallying factor for fans. A fight song, alma mater, historical moment, a battle cry. If you can incorporate a way to tug at the emotional heartstrings of your fans, your design is well on it's way to being awesome.


4. Make Art Not Ads 

When was the last time someone hung the weekly grocery shopper on their wall? As marketers and designers, we often get to caught up on selling tickets and not selling the experience. Give your fans the benefit of the doubt. Let your experience be your primary focus--they know where to look for the sponsors and calls to action.


(By UK Athletics)

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
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.)

Lots of upsets this weekend: Several Old Hatters' favorite school that wears purple and resides just one state north took it on the chin on Friday night. But they weren't alone. Not only did several BCS schools lose, but they had to pay those smaller schools big bank to come in for the home games. Double whammy!

Oh, and the song behind the title...


“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” they said.  

“It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you,” they said.

Those two statements could not ring more true in the story of how Presbyterian College, one of the smallest NCAA Division I universities, became one of the biggest new clients at Old Hat Creative.

Having heard of Old Hat from former coworkers, Simon Whitaker contacted us to help PC celebrate 100 years of football and basketball this season.  This included developing a website to honor the past and present, a commemorative logo, a historical and intro video, and various print pieces.  We did print pieces for Presbyterian’s other fall sports as well.  

We started with the 100 years logo.  Our designer, Brian, found a way to celebrate both football and basketball in one logo. 

From that point, our designer, Geoff, created an amazing football poster that featured the logo front and center and captured the historical essence of football through photos in the background. (top photo of this blog)

With the print work completed, we were able to design a website with the same design elements.  The goal of is to highlight the great moments throughout the 100 years of football and basketball at PC.  

The website is broken down into ten decades.  Each decade features stories, photos, and videos to share the story.  

One feature of the site that will catch your attention right away is the historical video.  Again, with the logo prominent, this video captures memorable moments in time through the 100 years of football at PC. 

The website is structured to be continually be updated throughout the season.  As basketball season approaches, the content can become more concentrated towards basketball, while still featuring football.

I have had a wonderful time over the last few months working with Simon to complete all of these projects.  He has been AMAZING at communicating what he wanted to see and providing us the content we needed to produce these pieces.  

PC now has a consistent brand across all platforms to promote and celebrate the history of their athletic programs.   

Who knows what would have happened if Simon never had that conversation about Old Hat from his former coworkers.  

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

4 websites

30 Posters

25 Schedule cards

13 ticket designs

6 Programs


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!

This fall will be unlike any other for Charlotte, NC. On August 31, UNC Charlotte will kick off its inaugural football season when the team takes the field for their first game ever in the brand new Jerry Richardson Stadium. This moment has been years in the making, and Old Hat is excited to have been part of the marketing and branding process for the new football program. To commemorate this historic season, Old Hat worked with Charlotte to create logos for both Jerry Richardson Stadium and the Inaugural Season. 


In addition to the logos, Old Hat also created the season tickets, poster, fan guides and media guide covers. 




We're ready to cheer on the 49ers on August 31 when they take on Campbell at Noon and have no doubt that Jerry Richardson Stadium will be packed with Charlotte fans enjoying this historical event.


We all like to be recognized for our hard work. It's always nice to hear that you’ve done a good job on something especially when you give it your all. However, what’s more important to me is not the praise itself but whom I hear it from.

For example, last week some of my work (along with several other Old Hatters) was featured on The Bleacher Report's Top 50 College Football Posters of 2013. The posters were ranked on a variety of criteria, from team spirit and photo quality to all-around creativity and general awesomeness. Everything seemed to be taken into consideration when being ranked. However, once you begin reading the rational for the ranking of each poster it becomes clear that those doing the ranking aren’t designers. It’s obvious they’re completely unaware of what all goes into designing a successful college football poster. 

They have no way of knowing which elements were the designer’s ideas and which were the school’s. They don’t know about the conversations designers have with their clients or what resources the designers had to work with. Nor do they know about the time and design constraints put upon them by University athletic departments. But you know who does? Yep, other designers. They know all about what goes into making a successful college football poster. They know it can be a difficult task to give the client what they want and at the same time give them what they need.

So even though my work showed up on this list (one piece making it into the top 5) it’s not the praise from Bleacher Report that matters to me. I take that with a grain of salt. What really matters to me is what my peers think. If I’m able to impress them with the work I’ve done then I feel like I’ve created a successful poster.

#46 Michigan's 3D poster designed by Geoff

#43 Texas Tech designed by Jared

#37 Virginia designed by Geoff

#32 Rice designed by Geoff

#28 Syracuse designed by Geoff

#24 Bethune-Cookman designed by Jared

#23 Appalachian State designed by Geoff

#16 South Carolina designed by Aaron

#3 Florida State designed by Jared 


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