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Product Concept: Notre Dame 2012 Football Season Calendar

How about something new?

When I was vacationing this summer up on the coast of Washington state, I spent some of my time sketching ideas for new design projects. My goal was to beef up my portfolio with design/illustration projects that tied into my love of sports. With the Olympics kicking off at that same time, I was in sport overload. I wanted to create work that might catch the eye of the likes of Nike, who dominate the world of sports and cutting edge design and illustration. (Shamless employment plug)

The first idea to really come together once I returned home was the concept for a sport calendar. Specifically, a calendar that highlighted "American style"(for my international readers) football. With dreams of college football kick off running through my head, I settled on my #1 college team, Notre Dame. I grew up in Indiana playing football and hearing about the glory of Notre Dame. I figured they would be the perfect team to help illustrate my concept of a fan centric season calendar. With a long tradition of football glory (and thankfully a return to that glory recently with their current 4-0 run), I had plenty of iconic images to pull from to help get the ideas flowing.

The Concept:

Simply, my idea was to combine design and custom, fan centric artwork with a calendar that highlighted every major football fan's passion, Game Day. So, it would function not just as a piece of artwork, but also a way to track your favorite team through their season.

The calendar would only consist of the months within the regular football season. In the case of college football that meant September, October, and November. The top portion of the calendar would be dedicated to a custom illustration and the bottom would be a traditional calendar, but with a slight twist. I centered the layout of the days on the calendar around Game Day which I placed smack-dab in the center. For Notre Dame's schedule, that meant that Saturday of each month through November became the center of the week.

Also in this space I gave specific information about where the team was playing (home or away), when, and against which team. I also wanted it to be a little interactive and fun by designing a space to place a sticker indicating whether they had (W)on or (L)ost as well as an area to record the games final score. At the end of the season you could either cut out the calendar dates and keep the illustration as a piece of artwork or keep the whole calendar as a memento of the entire season. (Something I will definetly be doing if Notre Dame goes undefeated the rest of the season) I left enough room on the rest of the days of the week so that you could still write in events or appointments. To really hit home the idea of a quality designed product and to complete the overall experience of receiving the calendar, I created a cover to round out the design. I am really pleased with the final product. 

The Final Product:

In case my previous paragraphs made no sense, I figure a picture is worth a thousand words:

My overall design theme was to capture a little bit of a vintage feel in each layout. Since Notre Dame is celebrating 125 seasons this year, I thought using retro design ques and throwing in a little bit of Notre Dame history would be a nice touch.Detail from the calendar coverSome of the retro design details on the artwork section of November

The artwork for September is a different take on the iconic "Play Like A Champion Today" sign that resides in the Notre Dame locker room. Each player touches it on the way out to field for games.October's artwork is a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop work to create the number 125 and make it look like Notre Dame's blue game jerseys. The effect ended up looking almost 3-dimensionalNovember is meant to be a little slice of Notre Dame history. In a previous project, I had really been inspired by vintage football card wrappers with those off-registration illustrations. I rekindled that interest and made it Notre Dame themed.The calendar portion of the layout is pretty traditional other then Saturday becoming the center of the week. I gave Game Day a little more room to accomadate a score keeping section that you can write in using a pen. I also created clear labels that have 12 W's for a Win and 12 L's for a Loss. Here is hoping you never have to use the L's.Thinking ahead, I thought it would be interesting to create a 4th calendar month if your team makes it to a bowl game in either December or January. The artwork would highlight the bowl's theme and may have an extra large illustration since the calendar date portion would only be the bowl's date. 

For teams that don't play on the same day of the week, like maybe the occasional Thursday game, I would keep the Game Day still in the center column but adjust the calendar around it. I also like that this concept is scalable to not just college football, but high school and even the NFL. 

I had a lot of fun planning this project out and seeing it go from a sketch I made on the beach to a finished concept. What the future holds for this idea you never know, but the key is the quality presentation, strong design elements, and the commenorative aspect of the calendar.

I have a few more projects in the works that relate back to sports and will be sharing more as they turn into final concepts.

Cheers, Ben.

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