The NFL Is Tapping Into Creative Talent Of Young Designers
PSFK attended an event co-hosted by NFL and FIT, celebrating design creations by several students
An institute dedicated to fostering education should provide a space for its students to take risks without consequences. For some students at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), they were given the opportunity to re-imagine the visual identities of the current 32 NFL teams. The two organizations hosted a special event that announced the winning designs last Tuesday, as a way to celebrate the work of FIT students.
Through a portfolio review process, 25 students were selected and professors grouped them into interdisciplinary teams to ensure each group had a variety of strengths. They comprised students from 11 different majors, all with various backgrounds and interests. The project gave students a chance to come up with new, creative designs for NFL fans who are in their late teens to mid-twenties. The student teams came up with different visual aspects of NFL teams, inspired from existing designs and each team’s unique fan culture. The winners were announced and their new graphic elements and branding for NFL teams that will be implemented into actual NFL merchandise.
“Winning the grand prize is surreal and I feel so proud of each and every one of us. We all brought something unique to the table, with our different backgrounds and interests, and seeing the designs on NFL merchandise this fall will be unreal,” said Wing-Sze Ho, Team Captain of the winners.
This nearly eight-month project gave students the opportunity to work for a real client and also learn directly from seasoned professionals. Professor C.J. Yeh, professor and assistant chair of FIT’s Communication Design explains, “Checkpoints were setup for the students to get feedback and learn from the NFL panel, which consists of experts in visual design, brand management, consumer merchandise, quality assurance, and licensing. It was great for our students to interact and learn from the top industry professionals.”
As a bonus, the winning team also received $15,000 and New York Giant players Sterling Shepard and Romeo Okwara were present for the special ceremony.
Collaborations like these give students the opportunity to transfer what they learn in school to real life within a safe environment. With the competitive job market, companies can help students grow by providing these types of opportunities to test out their talents.
“Unlike all the other contests or competitions which focus on the end results, NFLxFIT is unique because we focus on the process. From the very beginning, everyone involved in the planning of the project understands education is the primary focus of this collaboration. Therefore, Prof. Shin and myself spent a lot of time designing lectures, workshops, as well as setting up milestones and checkpoints to maximize the learning and the creative outcomes. We called this approach “guided experiential learning,” which is an unique combination of teaching/learning activities and professional workflow,” said Yeh.
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