Beginning August 26, Target shoppers can buy NFL travel mugs, totes, clocks, doormats, and wall art featuring a funky remix of each team’s branding that was developed by FIT students. The NFL’s shop also carries a variety of apparel and accessories with the new branding.
The designs came out of a groundbreaking collaboration that began in 2016. Hoping to cater to a younger, more diverse fan base, the National Football League teamed up with FIT to develop new concepts for fashion-forward merchandise for all 32 football teams in the league. The collaboration was open to students in the Creative Technology minor, an innovative curriculum that equips students from a range of majors with skills in media design, digital culture, and cutting-edge technologies.
“We didn’t want this to be just a contest,” says C.J. Yeh, professor and assistant chair of Communication Design and coordinator of the Creative Technology minor. “It’s not about winning the prize; it’s an opportunity for guided experiential learning.”
Throughout the 2016–17 academic year, Yeh and Christie Shin, assistant professor of Communication Design and assistant coordinator of the Creative Technology minor, taught the 24 participants best practices in research methodology, visual branding techniques, and presentation skills.
The students, from varied design majors—Advertising Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, and more—were divided into six interdisciplinary teams. They researched the sport and the market extensively, crafted a flexible design concept, and applied it to each NFL team. At each stage, they presented their work.
The winning team, announced in April 2017, was Quicksnap, which deconstructed and reconstructed the logos to emphasize their colors and organic shapes.
“I anticipated we’d see some cool and different graphics,” says Rhiannon Madden, Advertising and Marketing Communications ’99, vice president of consumer products for the NFL. “I never could have anticipated how professional and creative and forward-thinking the students were going to be. My committee was just blown away.”
An earlier version of this story ran on FIT Newsroom in January 2018.