Redesigning The NFL Experience

Redesigning The NFL Experience

A discussion with designer Michael Cina explores the grid system of the Fox Sports graphics, experimenting with color and the skinny on everyone's favorite footballing robot, Cleatus.

Daniel Edmundson
  • 27 may 2010

There is a rare form of sports fan, a few fellow PSFK’ers included, that have an equal appreciation for athletics as they do for aesthetics. And American football usually comes up first in conversation when the user experience is discusssed.

Still, it is the mainstream eye–the everyman–that we think makes up the majority of Sunday game watchers. So how difficult is it to present the illuminating excitement on the screen to both?

From Motionographer comes a fascinating interview with Michael Cina of Cina Associates on the redesign of the Fox Sports information graphics for television.

“Normally a client will say they want something generic or meaningless like cutting edge, sexy, fun, cool and I have to extract what they are really’ saying.  They were very specific about wanting something that would look good a decade later, something that would stand the test of time, a look totally different from what they had. Clean typography, easy to read, interesting, bold, etc. It was exciting to think of seeing some grid systems in use with clean sans, simple colors, etc when you watched sports.”

Cina first drew out grids to plot significant visual points and typographic positionings for the screen design, all while keeping “the common man” in mind and their appreciation for simplicity.


After first approaching the project with a simple Swiss type treatment, Cina would position different type layouts across a screen capture of a football field, struggling with the idea of traditional design being accept by a mainstream audience. He finally stripped down the look, using color and form to break apart data sections apart, while staying on the grid.

“It’s more than just showing the data, it’s how the information works as a system and how it animates. So let’s say there is a touchdown, how does the new data function in the layout? What if they want to feature a player or talk about another game going on at the same time? How do you show that with the info that you have designed? So it’s not as simple as it may seem. It’s a complex system and needs to work seamlessly.”


“One of the main things they wanted to achieve was ‘the bar test’ which is basically means you can see it across a smokey bar after you have had a couple of drinks. This is the main thing that always made me scratch my head because I would turn on the TV, stand back, and I could never see the stats because of all the noise around the information. Besides that, you have to fight for every pixel, so why not make it simple?”

Even as Cina’s design dominated the visual layout of broadcasts, the network introduced Cleatus, the Fox Sports robot in 2006, heading towards a 3D approach to graphics. Cina’s thoughts:

“What we did was galaxies away from what they had at the time and where they went that next season. It seems like they needed to see something like this to know they didn’t want to go down that route and wanted to make robots crash through TV’s.

I have a different vision than most people. Personally, I love to push graphic design and have my whole career. There is an insatiable hunger for aesthetics over content, even in the news, so how do you expect sports to be a beacon of light? People want FUN, not FACTS, so I think they went in the right direction.”

Motionographer | NFL on Fox Sports Redesign: Q+A with Michael Cina


Volvo's Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

Automotive Yesterday

Toyota Is Using Sewage To Power Its New Electric Car

A new hydrogen-fueled vehicle is driven by what we flush away

Culture Yesterday

Catch A Concert On This Small Floating Island

A man-made archipelago in Italy is hosting music and art performances


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Design & Architecture Yesterday

DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Woodenwidget says its detailed guides are suitable for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike

Design Yesterday

Crash-Friendly Drone Made From LEGOs Is Completely Rebuildable

The clever device offers games, education and the uniquely rewarding experience of destroying your high-flying airship

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Free Sneakers Given Out To Motivated Marathon Runners

Strava will give the shoes to athletes who run the second half of their race faster than the first

Culture Yesterday

Someone Invented A Robot Just To Serve Trays Of Beef Jerky

Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, in partnership with Chef's Cut Real Jerky, creates an automated snack delivery system


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Digital Design Expert: Mobile First Is Dead, Think Mobile Native

Brian Cooper, chief creative officer of OLIVER Group UK, explains how some brands are still playing catch-up to new technology

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Millennials Yesterday

Why A Social Networking Site Decided To Rebrand

Meetup, a platform that connects like-minded individuals, has taken steps to stay relevant amongst millennials

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The People-First Workplace Should Borrow From Tradition

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX underline the old-fashioned ideas that deserve a place in the Future of Work

Fashion Yesterday

Handbags Crafted From An Old NFL Stadium

People for Urban Progress is an up-cycling program that tackles the waste problem of big demolitions

Work Yesterday

Tech Job Site Created Just For Those Who Are Older Than 30

A new occupational job board presents a creative solution to age discrimination in the tech world

Europe Yesterday

Architect Turns A Giant Smile Into A Public Exhibition

The structure offers visitors a new perspective of London and creates an immersive environment that integrates structure, surface, space and light


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Children Yesterday

Norwegian Kids Are Using Their Phones To Log Unsafe Street Conditions

Travel Agent is an app that gamifies the reporting of hazardous conditions to improve the safety of children's commute to school

Travel Yesterday

Google Wants To Help You Plan Your Next Trip

A new app curates vacation itineraries and organizes reservation emails to take the work out of planning a getaway

Technology Yesterday

Small Handheld Analyzer Checks Oral Hygiene On The Go

The breath-detecting gadget gives people a quick and easy peek into their dental health

No search results found.