I'm bad at directions. This past week, I've been vacationing at a condo in Siesta Keys where the friends I'm with became familiar with the area after the first day. They jump in the car and easily find the grocery store, restaurants and the airport when I would have to get out my phone to figure it out. I know the reason I'm not good at this is because I don't always pay attention to the details. When they drive they make note of things they passed, remember the street names, etc. while I just enjoy all of the fun things that are happening around me.
There are always fun things going on in our daily lives, so imagine trying to sell someone like me a ticket to a sporting event. How do you get my attention long enough to give me the details I need to make a purchase? Giving me a long, detailed brochure is great, but then I need you to break it down for me too. I want to be able to reference that brochure when I have questions, but if you want to actually sell me something, I need it presented in small, digestible chunks.
And sadly, I'm not the only person like this. Give me a visual or tell me a story and I can spit back that information perfectly, so that's why I love infographics. If you're trying to tell a story that people will remember, they are amazing. Even if the story isn't flashy, you can make it look fun. For example, last year when I was working from the Miami campus, I found out that one of the most confusing processes for the fans was printing their tickets at home, so together we made this infographic:
When you're running a new contest with the goal of collecting fan data to make a sale, an infographic can show people why it's worth giving their contact info and they can easily share this contest with friends and family across the social media platforms. The reach is much bigger when you create something your fans want to tell their circles about.
We saw the power of the people in Pulaski, Tennessee in 2011 when we created a social media campaign for James Justice to win the fan vote into the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest. He's 5'9 attending a school of less than 800 students in a town of less than 8,000 people and yet, his story spread across the state to beat out guys at schools ten times the size of his.
When he won the fan vote, Athletic Director, Jeff Bain, then came to us and said, "well, now we need to raise the money to actually send him to New Orleans!" Using the t-shirt we designed, we continued the campaign to turn these voters into donors, which we did. The best part of the story is that with this opportunity he went there and won the dunk contest! It still gives me chills to think about it. I've never met James Justice, but getting to know him through this campaign is by far one of the best experiences I've had working in college athletics. How can you not love this guy?
So if you're wondering if infographics can help tell your story to generate national brand recognition, as well as generate revenue for your programs, the answer is yes.
Without them, I have to rely on other people to get me where I'm going.
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.
We are gearing up for busy season here at Old Hat. We are adjusting to Luke being in Utah, and have welcomed a new designer to our crew. With a new designer comes new questions, ways to look at things differently, and new ideas to how we operate and use our resources. One question Justin asked yesterday was "How many of the print pieces you guys create, do you get to see in print?"
I had to sadly answer "probably about 10%, if that!"Every time the UPS/Fed Ex/Mail Man comes into the office caring a Big Tube, all the the print department waits to see if it is for us. Getting our stuff printed in our hands is rare, so when we get to see how the final piece printed out, we all get excited. Aaron brought some printed pieces back from NACMA and we were all gathered around the desk excited to see them.
When we get to do unique posters with spot color, or die cuts, we always hope we get to see the final product, but a lot of times we don't. Designing on the computer is one thing, but seeing how the piece looks in real life can change how the designer works on the next project for that client. No printer is the same, and the results can vary from how it looks when we send it off. Sometimes the blue's come back darker, or the red's brighter, or an effect comes out looking a lot more dynamic then we could have thought.
Getting printed materials also helps us when we are doing the same project the following year. Seeing how the ticket book is put together helps us make design adjustments that we might not think about when designing on a computer.
Just think how excited you are when you get your big stack of posters from your printer with your new football poster?! Well imagine if you spent 10 hours working on that poster, how much more exciting it would be?! We have all these empty frames waiting to be filled and hung around the new office--so hopefully we get some 2013 posters sent to Old Hat Headquarters this year!
Almost a year ago, I started at Old Hat Creative. My second week on the job I attended NACMA in Dallas and at about that same time, the University of Utah came on as a retainer client. This meant great things for Old Hat Creative! We would be their marketing agency, designing anything and everything one can think of in the sports marketing world. Intro videos, posters, banners, calendars, logos, commercials, web and newspaper ads, social media graphics, brochures, postcards, etc. The list goes on and on.
It's been one year now and Old Hat Creative and the University of Utah Athletics are happy to announce a new opportunity! Starting this July, our graphic designer, Luke Atkinson, is moving to Salt Lake City, Utah to work side-by-side with the Utah Marketing department as a member of Old Hat Creative. You can read Luke's story by reading his latest blog entry.
This may be old news to you by now, but last week we Old Hatters buried a time capsule full of items we hope don't get eaten by worms in 10 years. It was a momentous occasion where people looked at us funny as we took turns seeing if we could disappear in the hole in the ground. Oh, and, yeah, we buried the box thing.
In the box I wrote a reminder on a sticky note to check if people still use sticky notes in the future. "Haha, classic Luke," they all said, but I was serious. Will we?
The obvious answer is yes, of course we will. Are you kidding me? Yellow squares that stick to surfaces and tell me to do things I can't remember?
But in a reading-between-the-lines kind of way, think about it: Where are we heading in the future?
Well, I'm going to look into my crystal ball and make some predictions here. I accurately predicted Little Caesar's would make a deep dish pizza. Deliciously accurate, you might say.
I'm going out on a very hefty and sturdy limb here and say something about 3D printing: It has loads of potential and in 10 years, I have a feeling it will have found a niche in most markets. Even collegiate sports.
Let's say in 10 years the 3D printer has an average consumer model. It will be the inkjet printer you have in your home office (but hopefully its ink won't cost more than human blood). There will be a designer (like me) who creates in Adobe Photoshop 15 (my future toolbox) a blueprint for your printer.
What will you make available for fans? A printable bust of your head coach? A printable decorative helmet? Before you laugh, take a look at these items. It seems the only limit to 3D printing is the human typing in the commands.
Side note: If you do consider 3D printing in the future, please send credit and royalties to me. I may have just stumbled upon a genius marketing plan for everyone.
OK, back on track. 3D printing is great and looks promising, so what other bold prediction can we make? Well, I have a feeling you'll see more print artwork display with lenticular lenses. Here at OH HQ, Geoff has been experimenting with this look, but I wonder if it will come standard with most marketing pieces.
One specific example of lenses floated around the Internet a few days ago. Check this out.
Some sites have claimed it's trick photography. In some ways that's sort of true. The effect you're looking at comes from a combination of lenses printed along with your poster that reflects light in different ways. The example above bends the light to reflect an image visible to people above and below a certain height. I could go way more in-depth but I'll let this video explain.
Imagine what you could do with that: Print a poster that can capture different audiences based on the location at which they are viewing your piece. You could display different messages, show multiple images or (the most common use today) generate a feeling of 3D and depth in your printed pieces. Brilliant!
So when we dig up the time capsule and pull out my (probably) crusty and withered sticky note, do you think we'll awe in the presence of an antique? Or will we still embrace the grand Post-It?
I'm hoping for the former or else I'll be disappointed the community hasn't adapted these practices to continue to pursue excellence within the capacity of new technology.
I'm holding you to it, readers. I'll learn 3D printing design and you'll order a bust of Bobby Bowden, alright? Alright.
As a guy who designs posters for a living, I can't help but notice them everywhere I go. I see them in restaurants, on the street corner and even my kid's school (comic sans anyone?). Most of the time I hardly pay any attention to them because they all look like this.
But when I go to the movies, I always make a point to stand outside the theater and look at all the posters for the movies showing inside. In the past, movie posters were vibrant, unique pieces of art. Each one had the potential to become as memorable as the movie itself. Posters designed by Saul Bass (Vertigo) and Greg and Tim Hilderbrandt (Star Wars) are now considered classics of cinema.
However, these days the folks that design movie posters have gotten lazy. Instead of creating an imaginative, engaging poster to advertise the movie, these designers re-hash the same old poster over and over again. For every type of movie there is, it gets the standard Hollywood poster design to go along with it.
What's that? You need a poster for a super hero movie? Ok, how about the hero standing on a ledge? Maybe over looking the city he's sworn to protect? Not moody enough for you? Ok, how about rain? Yeah! Lots of rain!
Oh, your movie is a "buddy comedy"? Ok, how about the stars standing back-to-back with goofy looks on their faces? Because nothing screams "We're in this together" like that!
Hmm. You’re making a quirky, independent movie? Ok, that's easy. Those are supposed to be yellow.
I know how hard it can be to design a memorable poster. It's not as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of creativity, talent and work. Movie posters today seem to lack even the slightest bit of creativity. They're boring and unimaginative and rely too heavily on cliché design motifs and templates. However, there is a small movement among artist and graphic designers to re-imagine the movie poster, to give them new life. The folks over atAlternative Movie Posters http://www.alternativemovieposters.com/ are artist in the true sense of the word (not just some dufus playing around in Photoshop, like me and probably most of the movie poster designers). These artists are able to distill the essence of a movie into just a few iconic images. They're fun, creative and interesting to look at. It's a far cry from the same poster you've seen over and over again at your local movie theater.
It's always fun to see the end results of our projects. This was the case with our recent Appalachian State football campaign for the upcoming season, which so far has included a poster, schedule card, ticket info card, billboards and truck wraps. That's why I was really excited to get copies of the poster, schedule card and ticket card in the mail from them (for some reason the billboards and truck wraps must have been too bulky to mail).
The campaign design concept grew out of some ideas from Appalachian State and some collaborative brainstorming with Old Hat. The first project of the campaign was the poster. Once that design was finalized, we started to work on the other elements of the campaign. To keep the campaign branding consistent, we worked to keep the same design look and feel across each project.
Since our designers are located in the Norman, OK office, I wanted to mail them some copies of the Appalachian State finished products as well. Last week I placed everything securely in the mailing tube, drove to the post office and sent it off to the Old Hat crew in OK. Fast forward to yesterday when Robert IMs me to inform me that the good news is my mailing tube made it to the office, however, the bad news is that the tube was empty. Since Robert has been known to joke on occassion, I assumed he was kidding. Unfortunately, it turns out that he wasn't joking and that all of the items are now somewhere between NC and OK. Somehow they must have fallen out or perhaps someone just had to have some of these awesome campaign pieces we did for Appalachian State!
Know what's difficult? Running a business. Raising children is tough, sure. But the results of your failures aren't quite as immediate. If you screw up in raising your kids, you probably won't realize it until they're meth addicts or shooting at people from a clock tower. Running a marathon is difficult. But it's difficult for 18 weeks leading up to it and then for 4 hours during (or if you're a complete stud like me, 3 hours and 35 minutes). Running a business is always difficult. It never gets easy. No matter how well things are going, there are always new challenges. Back me up here, Trip Durham! And if you screw up, people lose their jobs. If you screw up BIG, you lose everything.
One of those difficulties we face every year is how to be properly prepared for the onslaught of "busy season" for the upcoming year. Right now we're in our "dead season" which doesn't mean that we don't have lots to do. It just means that compared to August, September and October, the spring months are a breeze. But Old Hat has been around for 9 years and each year we have seen exponential growth in the amount of work that we have coming in. And it seems like each year we are understaffed through those busy months. What I am faced with each spring is making sure that we are properly staffed for that time period but not OVERstaffed. We don't want to be put in a position where we have to lay-off someone after the busy season ends because we don't have enough work. We also have to decide when to bring in new people in order to train them and have them ready for busy season. If we hire too soon, we're putting money toward an unnecessary payroll expense for someone that doesn't have anything to do. If we hire them too late, busy season comes and they aren't properly prepared. So every May/June, we have to decide who we're hiring, how many people we're hiring and when to bring them on. Hire too many and we spend too much on payroll and profits suffer. Hire too few and everyone is miserable all fall because they're working too much.
Growing is painful at times. And even though you can analyze past successes and failures, study your numbers, etc... it's all just a big guessing game. Sometimes I guess right and sometimes I guess wrong. I've gotten better at it over the years but last year we had the biggest jump in growth we'd ever had and there was no way to know it was coming. It seems to have just happened. Do I prepare this year for that level of growth? Or do I prepare for what we had typically done in prior years? Or is this the year where it all levels out and we hardly grow any?