In 2018 we're looking back at some of our favorite designs from the previous year and asking our artists "What were you thinking?" Your eyes might go directly to the players or the schedule, but there are so many subtleties that make a design come together.  

 

If you're thinking to yourself this year's Western Michigan Men's Basketball poster seems very systematic, hydromatic, and/or ultramatic you might be right. 

Here is our chat with Director of Branding and possible former greaser Jared Stanley about his creation.

 

What was the inspiration behind this design concept?
My inspiration for this, believe it or not, was the interior of an expensive car. I wanted it to look like it was made out of leather and have beveled gold inlays and fancy stitching.

What was your main goal / what were you trying to accomplish with this design?
My main goal with this project was to create a look that was clean, classic and simple. I also wanted to create a composition that mimicked the shape of a W (for the Western in Western Michigan).

What is your favorite design element of this project?
The leather texture and the stitching.

What was the biggest challenge of this design?
Figuring out how to include 10 guys in the shape of a W without it looking too crowded.

If you could change one thing about this project what would it be?
I would have liked to spend more time on the text effects. I really wanted those to have more of a shine to them. I wanted it to look like gold/metal with things like sense flares and light reflections.

Have you ever thought to yourself, "What was the artist thinking when they created this design?" Depending on your tone you either LOVED or HATED the design. If we happened to collaborate with your team on a project we always hope you love it. Cool looking designs are always the goal.

As we kick off 2018 we're going to take a look back at some of our favorite projects from the previous year and pick the brains of our very talented artists. You might be surprised to learn there is a rhyme and reason to even the simplest of designs.

Here is our chat with Art Director Caitlin Murphy about her work on the Florida International University Swimming and Diving poster. 

What was the inspiration behind this design concept?
FIU mentioned that they wanted the swimmers to look like they are coming out of the water and have the 3 championship trophies behind them. I wanted to make the athletes looks like they were in the water but also have the trophies stand out and glow in the background. My inspiration was sort of a fire/water element together.

What was your main goal / what were you trying to accomplish with this design?
My main goal was to make it look like the athletes were actually in the water. The pictures of the athletes we received from FIU were of them standing by a backdrop so trying to make water images/elements look realistic around them was what I was hoping to accomplish.

What is your favorite design element of this project?
The reflection of the athletes in the water and the water coming off their torsos. It was fun to play with the perspective of the swimmers and ripple effects to make it look more watery realistic instead of just their straight reflection.

What was the biggest challenge of this design?
My biggest challenge was trying to make the water/splashes look realistic. I have never worked with water elements before so it was more of a trial/error thing to see what worked/didn’t work as I went along. I went through many different splash elements that didn’t work until I finally found 2-3 that looked like they blended and worked well together.

If you could change one thing about this project what would it be?
I would have liked to incorporate the “ALL IN” header into the design a little more. The ALL IN header was a late addition so I had already envisioned the poster a certain way and laid out the design with all of the elements. So although I had thoughts of how I could have incorporated the ALL IN header more with the water/fire effects, it would have meant changing around the poster as a whole.

 

Growing up in Texas, snow days were rare. Even just a little ice or a little snow typically resulted in everything shutting down. My friends and I would spend the day running, sliding, and eventually falling on the ice. It may have only happened once or twice in my entire childhood, which made it all the more memorable.  

This last week it snowed in South Central Texas. Since I was in Oklahoma (where it did not snow), I received many photos, calls, and texts about the “crazy snow” that was happening in and around Austin: my nephews playing in it and building a snowman; my mom having to get a kitchen spatula to clean off her car windows to go to work; my friends telling me how hard it was to drive through all that snow.   

From what I can tell, there wasn’t more than an inch. Making a snowman was way more work than it should be since snow had to be gathered from four different yards.  Windshield wipers probably would have cleaned off the windows just fine, but that doesn’t matter to any of the people who experienced this event. The “blizzard of 2017” will be marked forever in their memories. I know my brother will be telling stories to his son about how much he hated snow the first time he was in it, that time it snowed in south Texas. Even a quick look at my “trends for you” section on Twitter shows what a big deal that little bit of snow was to the people watching it happen.

Why is this relevant to us as marketers? Events like these are rare, and while they may seem minuscule to some, the people who experience them will keep those memories for the rest of their lives. There’s a natural opportunity for you to connect with people in these moments and to become part of an indelible memory.

Whether the event that happens is a game, a freak weather event, or even just a spur of the moment gathering of people, there will be opportunities that you and your team can capitalize on. Here are a few things to think about if you ever find yourself experiencing a “snow in south Texas” type event.

1. Capture the moment. It seems obvious, but make sure you record it. Document the event as much as you can. Whether it’s snapping a few photos of the snow to use for holiday materials next year or making sure you capture the stories of people who experienced it, capture the moment and look for opportunities to share it again later on down the road.

2. Be timely. Timing can be everything. Just look at the impact Oreo made during the Super Bowl Blackout a few years ago. When unique moments happen, your ability to respond quickly can make or break your ability to connect with people. If you aren’t ready as the event is happening, don’t try to force it. Jumping on the bandwagon too late makes you seem less relevant .

3. Be genuine. This is a phrase that gets repeated in marketing conversations quite often, but with something like this you have to be genuine. A large part of that comes with being true to your brand. If the event does not fit or fall in line with who you are as a brand, let it pass. It is better to sit on the sidelines and watch things unfold than to put something out there simply because you felt it was required. 

4. Tie your brand to the event. During the recent snow, a lot of the Twitter activity I saw related to snow at Kyle Field. Opportunities for photos of an Aggie helmet covered in snow on the 50 yard line are few and far between, but by capturing the moment in that manner, fans will forever remember the time it snowed during Aggie football season. 

5. Embrace the moment. Often this type of event is unexpected and brings out a little bit of craziness. Embrace it. This is not something that is going to happen often and it might not ever happen again. As long as you’re reacting in a way that’s consistent with your brand, don’t be afraid to do something different to take advantage of a unique opportunity. 

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