FIT’S FIRST DOWN: In keeping with its reputation for scouting young talent before they turn pro, the National Football League has teamed with Fashion Institute of Technology students in a design contest that could give them the chance to reinvent NFL branding.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard will sport the winning look at Tuesday night’s event for the NFLxFIT Visual System Design contest and exhibition at The Museum at FIT. In what is a first for the NFL, FIT students across various majors have been brainstorming to reinvent NFL branding, knowing select winning designs will be featured on certain NFL merchandise when the new season gets rolling. Along with the students’ athletic creations, guests will get to check out NFL memorabilia and the Vincent Lombardi trophy. New York Giants and New York Jets fans will find a few of those teams’ players at the event. The more fashion-conscious attendees may gravitate toward stylist June Ambrose.
Once the FIT and NFL judges have their final say after reviewing the six student teams’ work, the winning team of students will pocket a $15,000 grand prize. There will also be a second place prize of $10,000 and a People’s Choice award of $5,000. The initiative is a first for the NFL and one that reinforces the league’s strategy to reach more Millennials. FIT students minoring in creative technology were asked to reimagine visual interpretations that represent all 32 NFL teams’ identities including artwork and graphics inspired by the teams’ existing logos and fan bases. The participating 25 students hailed from 11 different majors including Advertising Design, Communication Design, and Illustration and Graphic Design. The winning students won’t receive any royalty on their design.
The NFL challenged students with real-world design projects. Interdisciplinary collaboration, guided experiential learning and the iterative design process were at the contest’s core. Students knew the end result was meant to target younger audiences. The FIT students’ winning NFL-inspired designs will be on display in The Museum at FIT’s Gallery April 14 through 29.
“We entered this project with FIT with the hopes of exploring new ways to reach and engage with the NFL’s growing fan base by incorporating a fresh look into the products they already love,” said Rhiannon E. Madden, NFL’s vice president of consumer products. “The passion and dedication from the students far exceeded our expectations and the work resulted in exceptional, inspired and innovative approaches to complement the NFL marks.”
“At FIT, we are always looking for the best opportunities to help prepare our students for the future. FIT’s assistant chair for Communication Design C.J. Yeh, who led the project with Christie Shin, said, “This partnership with the NFL presented a set of very unique and interesting design challenges, which leads to engaging learning experiences that will result in long-lasting skills that our students can leverage in their careers.”