A dream that made dreams come true
"I want to design in sports."
Hockey, baseball or football if I had my choice. It was as simple as that. I poured myself into research and turned my focus into an obsession with the creation of the Rockland Claws.
Due to the brief warm weather season, the Rockland Claws are a single-A short season baseball team that doesn't actually exist in Rockland, Maine. Commemorating the town's annual lobster festival, the Claws extend the festivities into the ballpark.
Obsessed is an understatement. Everything from standard identity materials like logos, jerseys and stationery to a full-blown seasonal promotion schedule, I explored a new take on ticket delivery, merchandise and branded concession packaging which was completed with a 8x10 foot display.
This passion of mine that has driven my career, beginning immediately as a graphic designer for the Chicago Wolves hockey team, to relaunching the Hammer Strength and Life Fitness brands to my current position, managing the UX design team for digital product across Life Fitness brands that athletes and exercisers alike experience around the world.
THE ROCKLAND CLAWS, EST. 2008
ORIGINAL ARTIST STATEMENT, 2008
Design encompasses both elements of passion and drive. Accordingly, I’ve chosen to create my own baseball team to capture these emotions within the athletic environment. Through my design, I demonstrate this captivating athletic atmosphere in which passion and competition are the driving forces.
The thunder of a crowd’s roar is an indescribable sensation for bystanders and players alike. Thousands of screaming fans are unified by the passion they feel in seeing their team’s logo; a symbol that exudes fan loyalty. Team logos are as compelling and powerful as the use and interpretation of religious symbols throughout the world, which bring about an instant connection (good, bad or otherwise) between two strangers, or unite thousands. Regardless, these logos create a sense of harmony during the heat of competition and elicit qualities of strength and passion.
Recently, major and minor affiliates have begun to extend a team’s logo into a brand that is seen beyond uniforms. For instance, the newly established Lake Erie Monsters hockey franchise located in Cleveland, Ohio, or the Casper Ghosts minor league baseball team in Casper, Wyoming, both have taken advantage of the legends that coincide with the town the team inhabits. Aside from connecting a city to an athletic team, franchises are extending their identities to create an atmosphere within the playing arena for spectators. Raymond James stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, features Buccaneer Cove complete with a pirate ship extravaganza in which stadium concessions are built into the façade. This merging of a town’s environment to that of a team is also applicable to the fictitious Rockland Claws baseball franchise situated in Rockland, Maine, home of the annual lobster festival.
What I challenge in this realm of competition is to continue to extend the athletic atmosphere into a branding experience of its own. The team logo and franchise already create a sense of unity found few and far between in the modern word. I have expanded the commercialization of athletics to embody an entire environment beginning with the logo and team uniforms, and extending into the stadium structure and appearance of concessions. The complete package will not only generate a stronger brand, but it will invite the community to become involved by connecting people from all walks of life. Consequently, in my presentation, the casual spectator, as well as the loyal fanatic, has the opportunity to experience a complete atmosphere that enhances the environment so athletes and fans may share their passions collectively.
PASSION INSPIRES. COMPETITION DRIVES.
PUT IT TO PRACTICE
In 2011, the Chicago Wolves were forced to find a new NHL Affiliate when the Atlanta Thrashers organization moved to Winnipeg. How do you market without a team? No players? No problem. Neither did the Rockland Claws.
Concept: Rely on the heritage and what we know is NOT changing – the beloved sweater. The idea became even stronger when it was announced that we would be aligning with the Vancouver Canucks, a new Chicagoland rival. Rest assured Wolves fans, we are not running from the burgundy and gold.
THE JOURNEY DIDN'T END THERE: THE PILGRIMAGE
Eight years later in October 2015, the journey to Rockland was complete with a pilgrimage right to the very spot of the stadium that doesn't exist, on Penobscot Bay.