Behind the “Buzz”

The Buzz is back in the Queen City! Since moving to Charlotte, I have had the chance to take in a few Bobcats games, but nothing could match the energy after the announcement of the Hornets name returning the Charlotte.  Like many kids, I had my share of purple and teal Starter jogging suits and Hornets gear. I just wish I could still wear them:-) The return sparked so many feelings of nostalgia for so many people and demonstrated the power and cultural influence a team can have for its fan base. While it has sparked old memories, it has also brought an updated brand and identity. The official rebrand was handled by Jordan Brand and an agency down in Hattiesburg, Mississippi called Rare Designs. The agency did a great job revamping the brand, while maintaining some of the original elements – especially the colors. Below is a great interview with Rodney Richardson, Creative Director of Rare Designs from the Makers of Sport podcast.

The rebrand, and all the excitement it has generate, was a perfect starting point for my thesis research. Last quarter, for my thesis development course, I began researching topics and decided to focus on sports branding and design. As part of the course I document research and ideas on my SCAD blog (will be merging content to this blog soon). I did some preliminary research on the in-house designs after checking out the work at Rare. I then came across the portfolio of Steve Hardican. I had been working on a list of several sports- based designers I wanted to reach out to for interviews. Steve and I share a mutual friend and before I knew it, I had a behind the scenes tour of all the awesome work Steve and the Hornets design team worked on. Steve’s work is all over the arena – elevators, walls, signage, in the team store and even vehicle wraps! I was able to see a few of the mockup rendering before installation, but seeing them in person was even better! The style not only captures the energy of basketball and the Hornets, but has a lot of details and Charlotte landmarks. Not only is Steve super talented, but very passionate about the work he is doing. He  After the tour and got to hang out with him and some of the other Hornets and Arena staff to ride down to Greenville, SC for a preseason game. Who knew thesis research could be so much fun!

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