Week 3: Connecting the dots

In my post last week I mentioned two areas in which I would like to focus my thesis topic – history and sports-based design. As I began to research areas in each topic separately, I started to notice some connection between the topics. During the Free writing exercise last week I found a few more connections which are helping me connect the pieces of what I hope will be my topic. Over the course of the week I have been thinking about the topic separately. This week I found a small notebook to keep and collect my thoughts and ideas along with Evernote. I did a quick mind map on sports design to expand the topic and as I loosen up a bit found some ideas that have generated some very rough topics:

  • Advertising and Athletics
  • Visual responses to moments in sports history
  • Visual Representation/evolution of women in sports based design and advertising
  • Athletic aesthetic: shaping perspectives of the athlete through design
  • Evolution of Athletic Aesthetic – imagery and visuals used in sports design
  • Cultural perception and sports branding
  • Brand Association in sports design
  • Preserving sports brand and identity through nostalgia
  • The nostalgia effect: evoking the past to build the future of sports based design

The last one I am drawn to the most as it references history and design. With this topic I want to explore and breakdown the elements we sometimes refer to as “vintage” and “retro” and how they are used in present day design to connect the past with the present and future visual identity of sports design.  What is driving the visual appeal and popularity of past designs? What can designs today learn from the methods used to design logos in the past? One example I plan to research is the return of the Charlotte Hornets. They recently announced their new identity and the biggest concern for fans was the team colors. The energy and excitement on reveal night was amazing as Michael Jordan reveal the return of purple and Teal to the “Hive”.

I think there is something very powerful and special embedded in the designs of the past – the memories, the fan experience, the players on the team. So far the return and designs have been very received here in Charlotte as the new merchandise has nearly sold out at the team store. As the new identity makes it way into Charlotte, fans and stores have not let the old identity fade from memory. The vintage Hornets gear can still be purchased and is still very in demand.

I want to explore the impact, the styles that have been identified as vintage as well as the history embedded in the designs. I have found a nice amount of visuals and work to identify their origins (original designer, piecing the progression for the designs) and also looking more into the impacts, successful and less successful attempts and nostalgia based sports brands. I still have more refining and exploring to do but I do like the ideas so far.


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