We've been working on football materials for a couple months here at Old Hat. It's always nice to get a head start on football materials before busy season comes along and we start producing materials for other fall sports. As projects come in, I always look forward to seeing what direction the client wants to take the campaign, how our designers interpret it, and then come up with incredible work. Football is most schools top revenue generating sport, so there is a lot of thought and time coming up with the message each school wants to deliver each season. This year I have noticed that a lot of schools are focusing on their fans and the experience they have when they attend a game.
Not only are schools focusing on their fans and the experience of going to games, but there are more and more shows, apps and websites coming out focusing on the user's experience and how they can be a part of something without leaving their house. While watching my guilty pleasure The Bachelorette on Monday night, there was a sneak peak of ABC's show, Rising Star. The basis of the show is to have aspiring musicians perform while the public votes on them using an app. The results are live and if the performer receives 70% of the vote, they move on to the next round. There are not coaches or judges, but there are 3 celebrities "experts"* who will give feedback and their vote holds more of a percentage then the general public.
As I was thinking about this show and the experience schools want to sell their fans on, I see one thing in common. We, as people, are looking for a good experience and to feel connected to other people. With social media being such a huge player now of days, you can really live your life in your basement, but feel connected with the outside world…because of shows like Rising Star, getting likes on Facebook, etc. However, there is still something missing, and thats being around other people. So, schools are trying to get fans to come to games, get to know other fans, and have a good experience, enjoy the community that comes with attending games and being a season ticket holder.
I quit Facebook almost a year ago, and I won't go back. There is something so special about talking to people face to face, face time, even on the phone, not just following their lives on Facebook. You get to really know how they are doing, hear them tell stories about their vacation instead of just looking at their pictures and feeling like you know what their life is like.
I moved to Norman knowing 2 people in Oklahoma. I've been here almost 3 years and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. A big part of that is because of the people i've met here. The community around me; I have great people that I work with, and great friends outside of work. They make the experience and my life here so much better then I could ever portray on social media.
As schools focus on their fans, getting them to games, creating a "family" atmosphere, I'm glad I can help schools achieve that, even if it is just managing the people who are doing the designing. Even the most introverted person needs a couple good friends and community around them, and if they find those people at a football game that we did the poster for, then that makes me happy. So, as fall comes around and you have an option of going to a game, or any event where you'll be around people, do it. Get out of your comfort zone and go out and find that community around you. Or, next time you are on Facebook looking at a cute baby, call your friend and ask them how they are. It will make a big difference in your life, and theirs.
*One of the experts is KeSha…so i'll be watching-cause OBVI.
Several of us at Old Hat are fans of logo and uniform design. There have certainly been some unique ones that teams have debuted recently. Minor league teams, especially baseball and hockey, are not afraid to take chances and try new things, in effort to sell tickets and create buzz. Movie themes, pop culture, historical, patriotic - really anything seems to be within the realm of possibilities. Many use them as part of a theme-night with special promotions and guests during the evening.
A few teams seem to lead the way, for example, the Lehigh Iron Pigs, Brooklyn Cyclones and Memphis Redbirds. The Iron Pigs even have a website dedicated to selling their bacon-themed merchandise and once had a 'Couple Married on the Mound Night'. The Cyclones went out of their way to show off their 'authentic' Star Wars jerseys. The Redbirds have modeled Eqyptian jerseys as well as Organ Donor Night jerseys.
Here are just some of the wildest ones I've come across.
Santa Claus / Christmas
Just completely random...
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The Price is Right
Don Cherry Night
and finally ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE NIGHT!
Thanks to Sportslogos.net for several of the images.
That doesn't even include all the bad camo jerseys in various sports or ugly soccer jerseys through the years. What have you seen? Tweet us the craziest ones you've come across.
It's my final day in the office before we depart (Sunday) for Orlando for what will be our 10th NACMA. The photo above is from our first ever NACMA when I was the only employee at Old Hat and we only had about 4 clients. I always get nostalgiac around NACMA time because I think back to where we started and how far we've come. That first booth was a pop-up that took about 10 minutes to assemble. It was made of carpet and I velcroed just about every decent project I had ever designed to it. I had to ask a friend of mine to come with me to Orlando to help out as I had no employees. I didn't even pay him, I don't think. Just offered him a free trip to Orlando. Thanks Cory! Now, we more than 25 employees and every year I have to decide who gets to/has to go.
That first booth and all our materials fit into two plastic cases on rollers. Cory and I checked them on our flight and rolled them through the airports, onto the car rental shuttle and into the exhibit hall to set them up. The booth space was 10' by 10' which was more than enough room to showcase our company. Today, our booth is 20' by 20' and it takes a U-Haul to get it there. It will take us a few hours to assemble it all and we spent months in preparation for it.
In year one, Old Hat Design Company was a print design shop. We did posters, brochures, schedule cards... And I designed ever single thing we produced. Today we have six divisions that will be marketed at NACMA. Print Design, Interactive, Productions, Consulting, Branding and Capture. And I don't design anything that any of those divisions produce.
NACMA is always a reminder of what we have accomplished in the past ten years and it's quite humbling to think about. To say that I couldn't have done it alone is the understatement of the century. The people, both internally and externally, that got us to where we are are too numerous to count. But they know who they are and I offer a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you.
Please stop by and say hello at the booth next week. And take a mental picture of what it looks like. If we do as well the next 10 years as we did in the first 10, we might be occupying the entire exhibit hall.
While I'm aware these blogs tend to function best when we write about things related to "the business" I often find it difficult to find things to write about that fall within that category. I quite honestly don't know much about it. I mean, I was hired as a designer, an artist. My only job is to create images that convey certain feelings and emotions. Outside of that I'm not sure what my blogs can offer as far as an insight into the business.
With that in mind, I just decided to take this opportunity to share some of my non-sports related art with you. When I'm not designing your football poster or a logo for your stadium, I like to do...
Portraits of friends and family...
Pieces inspired by a quote I read or lyrics from a song I heard.
Sometime I just feel like playing around with shapes and colors.
Sometimes a friend will ask me to design something for their radio show or motorcycle rally.
Other times they're just pieces I feel like doing for fun.
Sometimes a family member will ask me to fix and colorize an old family photo like this one. Other times I feel like doing something outside the computer.
Then there are times I don't feel like making or doing anything which is when I end up making things like this...
Well, there you have it. I'm not sure what purpose this blog serves other than giving you an insight into the mind of a guy who sits in a corner all day listening to music making neat pictures...
I love awards shows. So, I was very excited to watch the Billbaord Music Awards on Sunday night. I didn't catch all of it (No DVR at my house!) but what I did see I was shocked. They brought back Michael Jackson from the dead! I will admit, I thought it was kinda creepy. He was up there dancing, and I couldn't figure out who was real and who wasn't. It made me think that technology is amazing, right? The fact that he looked that life like kinda blows my mind.
If you were a hologram..where would you want to be? And what would you be doing? I think I would want to appear random places, like in the middle of a basketball game, or on the football field, just dancing.
I don't know. Are we going to have football games in the future where we bring back past stars to create some kind of game before the actual game starts?
Would you pay to see that?
If they make a hologram of Bill Snyder coaching on the sidelines after he leaves this world, I think I'd pay to see it.
This blog will touch on several things which seems to be the way to go with blogs these days.
Today is the first round of the NFL Draft. I'll watch some of the first round (and much less of the following rounds). I'm just ready for the draft speculations, projections, mock drafts, etc. to be over. Five months of hype is way too long and now they would like to move it back even further.
Luke's blog last week about Netflix for sports got me thinking. That is the way sports and content are headed. The NFL Now is set to launch this summer. Each sport has their own networks plus their game packages (NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice) and streaming services bundled together. Individual teams offer on-demand media through their local TV partners. College conferences already do this with their networks (SEC, Pac-12, Big 10) and subsequent online offerings. Many leagues are keeping a close eye on new services like the WWE Network and UFC Fight Pass, with exclusive live events and a regular schedule of online programming in addition to a vast library of on-demand content. How soon will we see a day when all live playoff games are available exclusively online or through the league network, and not on free TV or basic cable? Now if we could just do away with the archaic blackout rules for pro sports…
Did you happen to catch the OKC Thunder's Kevin Durant and his emotional MVP speech? Check it out here, along with graphics designed by Old Hat's @HostetlerGraphx and @iBeGeoD. I think most of us would agree that our moms are the real MVPs.
Finally, check out the Super Fan 5K website. The event takes place Saturday, May 31 to support the Mary Abbott Children's House and the Norman Public School Foundation.
My wife's car has been in the shop for the past few days. A few weeks ago the entire suspension system had to be replaced. That was awesome. Problem is, the computer component that regulates said suspension system was bad and that's what was causing the suspension problems to begin with. So a month later, it had to be replaced again. Under warranty... no big deal. BUT, that computer component had to be replaced as well so that was another sum of money I hadn't really planned on forking over. Anyway, the fella at the auto shop told me that the dealership had to reprogram the thing. They installed it and were to take it over to the dealership first thing Monday for reprogramming. I'd have it back by end of day Monday.
So Monday comes and I hear nothing from them. End of day Monday comes and I finally call to see what's up. No one answers. So I literally run to the place from work (as I have no automobile) to try to get there before they close. I arrive and find the guy leaving the place. I flag him down and give him some version of, "WTF, mate?" He says, "Oh, man... I totally forgot to call the dealership." Too late to get the car by this point, I'm another day without the car. I've already been without it for 5 days and have made due. But based on his promise that I'd have it back Monday, I made plans for Tuesday that required me AND my wife to have our own automobiles. And all those plans were shot because dude "forgot" to call the dealership. It's not like he just couldn't get the job done or that a new problem came up and the project was delayed. He forgot.
And that made me mad.
Old Hat has many core principles and a brand promise that I've blogged about. But man... none of that matters if you don't follow the one rule that should be common sense. Do what you say you're going to do. And if for some reason you can't, do anything you can do to make it right. And that's another area that my auto shop failed. He didn't do what he promised. And made no attempt to make it right.
I run into so many businesses that stay afloat despite their inability to follow this rule. They might not be Fortune 500 companies but they've been in business for many years. But time and time again, they don't do what they say they're going to do. And it boggles my mind that they are still around. But what that tells me is that if these people can stay in business, think about how successful they could be if they just did what they said they'd do.
This blog seems like more than a rant than anything offering any real direction. But I guess what I'm saying is that if you own a business... if you work in a business... if you want to be succesful in whatever it is you're doing... Do what you say you're going to do and your path to success will be a lot smoother.
At Old Hat, we post a lot of videos of us doing stupid things around the office. It's an expression of our personality. We're stupid... or at least we like to do stupid things. The funny thing though is that because of this outward display, people get the impression that the offices of Old Hat are a laugh-a-minute. And as much as I'd like for us all to get paid to do stupid things all day, I haven't figured out a way to monetize our stupidity. But I think people get the impression that when they come to work at Old Hat or come to visit us, it's going to be like a scene from Animal House. When they actually see us at work though, the comment I get over and over is, "It's like a library in here! I'm afraid to speak!" That's because for the vast majority of every day, our staff is hard at work coming up with the most amazing creative in the sports marketing realm. In order to do this, they have to CONCENTRATE. So they put their headphones in, tune out the world and work.
Don't get me wrong. We have fun here. We have donuts and play a game every Monday morning. The beer flows from the taps in our office bar every Friday at 4p. We take breaks mid-day to take silly photos or shoot a video. But for about 7.5 hours out of every day, it's like a library in here. Our product... the thing we sell... is our time. And we can only sell our time if that time is spent sitting at a computer editing, programming, animating, designing, etc. But it would be really boring if we posted photos or videos of that. To prove my point, here's a sample video of what we do most of the time:
Old Hat is a really fun place to work. And we hope you'll come visit us sometime. Just please don't make any noise if you do.
Today is opening day for Minor League Baseball. When I think of Minor League Baseball, I think of a fun, family atmosphere. I've been fortunate to have gone to several different Minor League ballparks, including games for the Midland RockHounds, Fort Worth Cats. Oklahoma City RedHawks and Greensboro Grasshoppers. It's always an entertaining experience and I love seeing the creative promotions each team comes up with. That's why I was so excited when Old Hat got the opportunity to work with the MiLB Front Office on a few projects for this season. These projects included creating a 32 page information guide, a media guide cover and template page, and the 2014 Minor League Baseball Cap poster featuring the official home caps of all 160 clubs. We started the process by creating the front side of the cap poster so that this design could carry over to the information guide and media guide covers as well. From there, we worked to design the interior pages of the information guide and the back side of the cap poster. You can check out the complete information guide here:
We had a great time working on these projects and hopefully I can add some new Minor League Baseball team games to my list in 2014.
We've started concepts for the 2014 Football season for a number of clients. A lot of times, the first project we complete for every season are tickets. Tickets are probably the trickiest project the print department does, because every school seems to have a different template. They take a lot of focus and attention to make sure you have enough area for the barcode, the seat number and other important information that helps your fans get to their seats!
A lot of schools also add foil to their tickets. Foil is that bonus shiny area on some of the tickets you've probably seen. There are ticket books, ticket sheets and ticket brochures. So many options for tickets these days! We've been working hard on tickets for a number of clients, and it starts to get me excited for football season. We have some great campaigns in the works, and I'm excited to get football stuff out there for the world to see in the next couple months!
Here are some of my favorite tickets from the past couple of years!