Fanatics

Apparel Design

ROLE —

Creative Direction

Apparel Design

DELIVERABLES —

Apparel

Branding

Design Systems

Presentation Decks

TIMELINE —

Oct 2016 — Mar 2022

OVERVIEW —

For 7 years, I worked alongside and led a team of designers to create unique and locally-targeted apparel for every fan base across all major sports leagues. Fanatics 'Hometown Collection' attempts to speak directly to the most diehard fans of every team — whether it be with team specific chants and slogans, famous locales and landmarks, or an array of other inspired imagery, the goal is to always come off as authentically as possible. For fans, by fans.

PROBLEM —

Most apparel that attempts to do this hyper-local approach is unlicensed and doesn't have official team marks and names, or is bootleg and can only be purchased while tailgating at the game. Lots of fans happen to be displaced and are not local but still want the option to purchase this type of apparel that lets them rep their favorite teams loudly and proudly.

GOAL —

Do the research necessary to give any fan of any team the option to sport graphic tees that show off their teams colors while feeling as authentic as the merch they'd be able to buy at the stadium.
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Discovery

— 01/04

The Hometown Collection intends to cater to the ultra fans, so it was of utmost importance that we came off as genuine fans. Research included reading through team histories, checking out how fans interacted with the teams on social media and what hashtags they were using, and even traveling to the stadiums, attending games, talking to fans, and shopping at local retailers to see what authentic and bootleg merchandise fans were buying. Even though I may not be a fan of a certain team, it was important I did enough research to represent those fanbases.
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Creation

— 02/04

After I've done enough research to have a grasp on the fan base and the traditions of the team, it's time to start throwing ideas at the wall and see what sticks. This is the blue sky period where nothing is out of bounds and I'm free to take wild creative decisions. After I come up with about a dozen or so concepts, usually I will start to develop some of the best ideas and get those into Illustrator to start mocking up. Once everything starts to come together, anything with a slogan or possible trademark needs to be cleared with legal. Some teams have slogans or local imagery that are off limits (the Space Needle in Seattle and the Statue of Liberty for example), so it's important to get these checked before development gets too far.
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Deliverables

— 03/04

Usually I will present 4-6 concepts per team, and 2-3 will be selected for production for that season. These are then set up and color separated for print.
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Reflection

— 04/04

When working on a project like this where you are bouncing around from league to league, team to team, it can be hard to parse all the minute details of every team. But when you actually visit these stadiums, talk to fans, meet with deans of colleges, research their histories, learn their fight songs, and revel in their traditions, it becomes more clear that every team is truly unique and special, and all of those little details are what unites the fans around their favorite teams. It's important to nail all of those little details in these designs because all of this does matter to the fans, and it really can be the difference between being authentic or being just another bootleg.

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