The Nostalgia Effect: Evoking the Past to Honor Authenticity in Contemporary Sports-Based Design
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.
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
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.10 games, 4 cities (Philadelphia, Baltimore, Kansas City, Chicago), 1 amazing moment in history.