Evoking the Past to Build the Future

00000662 Sometime ago, I posted about my thesis topic surrounding sports branding. So far the research and writing process has gone very well! In addition to securing an amazing review committee – one of the committee members is Todd Radom – I have been able to interview and connect with some big sources. Last week, via my freelance client All In PR, I was able to get a quote from Muggsy Bogues, I have interviewed a lead designer at Nike and the Senior Design for the Charlotte Hornets.  This week I was also introduced to Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and will be setting up a time to discuss the project proposal for my visual thesis. Things are really moving! May will be here before I know it.

How did all this begin? Rewind back to my elementary school days. When I was about 8, my mom took my younger brother and I to a lecture about the Negro League at Winston-Salem State University that featured a panel of players. They shared their experience and even stayed after to autograph a poster for me. I still have the poster almost 20 years later. I loved the design and appreciated the history it represented.  I have always been interested in history and design. As I got older I really started to appreciated and enjoy sports – especially in college. My thesis combines those 3 elements to examine the use of nostalgia and sports branding​ from a historical and visual perspective. For my visual thesis, I am planning a commemorative campaign that celebrates the 1924 Colored World Series. The campaign is set in 2024, commemorating the 100th anniversary. I would love to treat this project as an actual exhibit proposal to ensure the design and logistics are where they need to be to make this a successful project. I will be working with the museum, so it could really happen! I plan to share highlights from the process over the next few months.

In addition to my thesis, I have 2 electives remaining to complete my degree requirements. This quarter, I am taking a web design class. We just wrapped up our midterm project, which was to design a site around an exhibit or artist. I chose the Burdick Baseball Card Collection on display at the Met. It was fun researching and designing, but I still have a lot to learn in order to attend to the functional details of coding. You can check it out here:  https://studentpages.scad.edu/~bdavis35/. Next quarter I plan to enroll in a poster design class and hopefully have a chance to work on the designs for my thesis. Burdick-mockup

Written Thesis

Title The Nostalgia Effect: Evoking the Past to Honor Authenticity in Contemporary Sports-Based Design

Thesis By analyzing team branding, sports heritage and the use of historic references in sports facilities, one may see nostalgia as more than a visual trend, but a pathway to connect present and future generations of sport fans.

Abstract Nostalgia in graphic design is more than the application of sepia tones, faded images and vintage type – it can extract from the past to create authentic visual and emotional experiences for present-day audiences. Steven Heller describes nostalgia as “a good indicator of what excites new generations”. Designers need to know how to apply the elements of the past in order to create the most effective and authentic visual experiences. Nostalgia is linked to personal memories and emotions and the arena of sports thrives on fans’ emotional connection to particular teams and franchises. For designers and studios tackling this niche, there is a need to not only understand the history of the team, but also be receptive to the connection that team has with the fan. In sports-based design, nostalgia not only prompts the embedded memories of the audience, it renews the essence of the sport experience. By analyzing team branding, sports heritage and the use of historic references in sports facilities, one may see nostalgia as more than a visual trend, but a pathway to connect present and future generations of sport fans. This thesis serves as a process framework for the effective use of nostalgic components, which sports-based designers can use to create visual experiences that suit the present-day audience while honoring and preserving the past histories they embody. The thesis will explore various sports design campaigns that use reminiscence and history as the foundation of the creative process to examine the cultural, social and historical relevance surrounding athletic franchises.

Keywords: Nostalgia, sports branding, sports design, stadium design, sports heritage, authenticity, vintage design, preservation

Visual Thesis Proposal

The visual thesis will be a commemorative campaign, set in 2024, that celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the 1924 Colored World Series. At the core of the campaign will be a traveling exhibit in partnership with the MLB, Negro League Baseball Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The visual component will use the written thesis to guide the design process and research to understand how to design a rich, authentic and visually appealing campaign that is almost 10 years into the future.

“First colored world series, opening game Oct. 11, 1924, Kansas City, Mo. / photo by J.E. Mille[r], K.C. “

10 games, 2 teams (Kansas City Monarchs of the NNL and the Hilldale Club of the ECL), 4 cities (Philadelphia, Baltimore, Kansas City, Chicago), 1 amazing moment in history.


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