Parents, you know that feeling you get when your child grows up and leaves the safety of home to lead their own life? Imagine being me, a designer, and going through this process every day.
In the morning, we open Photoshop. That's where poster babies come from. We select "New" and create our bundle of joy. Do we want an RGB or CMYK? What dpi? Inches or pixels? I guess that input comes from you, the client, which means you're also like the other parent and ...
... Before that metaphor runs away any further, let me explain. Designers at Old Hat create a lot of files each day. The little PDFs leave the nest to go be printed and we usually never see them again. I think, of all the work I've done at Old Hat, I've seen about 2 percent of my work in real life. And by real life I mean driving by a billboard or reading a newspaper ad. Of course it isn't possible to see it all; it's geography, Holmes. If I could be everywhere at once, I would, but I can't, so after I hit "Export" it's goodbye.
This weekend, I got to see my and other Old Hat designers' creations in real life. Which is sometimes weird when you think about how it looked on a computer screen and now what it looks like "in the flesh."
The University of Utah celebrated Ute Day at the local farmers' market. They set up a booth in the middle of the park with a lot of collateral to give away. There were scarves, posters, schedules, Utah taffy, coupons and plenty more. Most importantly there were lots of happy fans. The farmers' market attracts thousands every weekend, so what better spot to hang out with locals and promote your events?
Geoff's Utah Women's Basketball poster was a big hit along with flyers for the upcoming football promotion, "Stripe the Stadium."
Football schedules, volleyball coupons and Jared's volleyball poster, fall sports schedule cards were also popular. Visitors also couldn't get enough of the Gymnastics poster we made this year.
So, I suppose that was a send-off for some of our babies. Now they're in someone's home, hanging on a wall, or in someone's wallet reminding them of game times. I guess I get a little sentimental when I think about Utah 2013-2014 Fall Sports Schedule Card. He was a good one.
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….
In this day and age of celebrating anything and everything, there are few things truly worthy of all the attention we give them. But there are exceptions. Some holidays, dates and events still deserve the pomp and circumstance, and one of those is celebrating 100 years. One hundred years of doing anything is impressive, whether it's a company that has struggled through a century of ups and downs, the long life of a man that has weathered the peaks and valleys of his existence, or a university's endurance through the highs and lows that 100 years of football can bring.
And that's exactly what the University of North Texas is celebrating this fall- 100 years of football. One hundred years of coaches like Hayden Fry and Odus Mitchell, and players like "Mean" Joe Greene, Abner Haynes and Patrick Cobbs. So what do you do to bring all those memories to life for the people that want it most? Obviously there aren't enough pictures or words to describe the program over an entire century, but UNT tasked Old Hat with putting an All Century Team poster together to reflect the top 25 players and coaches from the past century. Whittling down an entire century of football players to just 25 is no easy task, but with the help of UNT's knowledgeable staff and participation by voters everywhere, they were able to put together a solid All Century Team.
And that's where Old Hat stepped in. About as easy as picking out the top 25 players is trying to get them all to fit on a poster and make it look good. But our designer Jared did a great job. Not only did he get the athletes and coach in the poster and make them look great together, but he also had room to include tradional elements like the Green Machine (model A) and Boomer the Victory Cannon, plus the new Apogee Stadium. He tied everything together with just a hint of green*, and the bow on top was the 100 Years logo, also created by Jared.
The poster was printed as a limited edition giveaway for fans that got in early on ordering season tickets. The first poster off the press was recently sold at a Sotheby's auction for nearly $2.7 million**.
After any big game, fans and players often want commemorative t-shirts. To meet the demand and to cash in on the 'We're #1" euphoria there are often two sets of shirts designed declaring each team the Champs…you know, just in case.
I've been a designer a while now and over the years I have designed a lot of these championship t-shirts. I've alway been curious as to what happens to the losing teams shirts, jackets and hats. I mean that’s a lot of misprinted items that can’t hit store shelves.
Well, recently I found out about a group called World Vision. These guys save the items from certain doom by sending them overseas to people living in disaster areas and impoverished, third world nations which is great. Of course, there are people right here in America who could desperately use a fresh, clean t-shirt or jacket. I'd actually prefer that these items be donated to local charities. However, overseas distribution is part of an agreement between the pro leagues and World Vision. The I guess the leagues want to avoid any donated items popping up on eBay or appearing on TV.
From a branding/marketing stand point I guess I can understand that decision. But it does make me wonder if the leagues are really interested in helping people in third world countries or if they're more concerned with not offending losing players and heartbroken fans…
One of the most critical elements for any print project are the photos. Whether they are action shots, posed shots, facility pictures, or something else, the pictures are always the focus of the design. Our clients do a great job of giving our designers photos to build awesome designs around.
I had the opportunity to go over to Duke yesterday for their photo shoot for the football poster that we’re getting ready to design. When doing staged shots, it takes a lot of time, planning and prep work to get the set up just how it needs to be. The Duke Photography crew did a great job of setting up the area with the lighting they wanted and positioning the players and coach in just the right way.
They took a lot of pictures and will then narrow those down to their top choices for our designer to look at. From there, we will select the one we feel will work best for the poster design and create an amazing poster from there! I’m already excited to see how this poster will turn out and am glad I was able to be there for the photo shoot process. I think I did a pretty good job of blending in!
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!