Michigan Hockey Redesign

Blog

Who doesn’t love a good logo redesign?

My freelance gig with Michigan Hockey came with the challenge of redesigning the logo, magazine and website for the publication. It wasn’t like I had to pitch ideas to a group of bigwigs — I was on my own. And I fully embraced the challenge.

The square typeface combined with an outdated purple color scheme made the old Michigan Hockey logo look like something straight out of the ’90s. I chose a modern (and overwhelmingly popular) typeface — Gotham for the redesign. I also selected richer and darker blues to give the logo a little bit more of an edge and to evoke a frozen feeling.

It was also crucial to maintain the most important part of the former identity — the hockey player that carved out the “O” in “Hockey.”


The website was very dark and quite clunky. It had been built using Dreamweaver, so it was nearly impossible to quickly add content and update stories. Using a content management system like WordPress was the best option for the needs of the editor. I chose a theme that was very pliable and allowed me to design the site to my specifications. I also used my knowledge of PHP and CSS to embed banner ads that were targeted for specific pages on the site.

I was most excited about getting my hands dirty with the magazine redesign. There were a myriad of fonts that were used in the publication and the color palette more closely resembled a rainbow than anything else. There was very little consistency throughout the publication. The first step was to stick with Gotham as the primary typeface for the stories, headlines and every other piece of copy. The blues used in the logo were carried over to the magazine and were incorporated with other cooler, complimentary colors.

It was a tremendous opportunity for me to brainstorm, develop and execute this redesign all on my own — especially as a freelancer for this publication. To see more clips from my Michigan Hockey experience, click here.

Barcelona Travel Book

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Whenever I swap European travel stories with friends or acquaintances, I have to imagine that I sound like a broken record when discussing the five weeks I spent in Spain during the summer of 2010. “It was greatest five weeks of my life!” “Barcelona was incredible!” and “Seriously, why did I even bother coming home?” are common declarations lumped into my tales of the Catalonian city on the coast of Spain.

The art, architecture and culture also served as fantastic inspiration for a travel book assignment in a graphic design class I completed at MSU. The guidelines of the project were such: Pick a place, any place in the world in which to create a travel book highlighting unique and interesting characteristics of said place. It was to be a six page book with the following pages:

  • A cover, front and back, complete with spine
  • A table of contents
  • One page with primarily text
  • One page combining text and images
  • One page with primarily images
  • A unique information page

Since I was still in a hazy state of wanderlust from my study abroad adventure three months before, I naturally chose Barcelona. It also helped that I took boatloads of pictures on my trip so I had plenty of colorful and vibrant art to pick from.

The Barcelona travel book still ranks up there with the most enjoyable design projects that I’ve ever cranked out.

News design

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Print journalism isn’t dead; it’s just changing. Will newspapers ever be as booming or as profitable as they were decades ago? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that they still can’t serve as a compelling, visually-driven form of story telling — something that online news can’t always offer.

Working as a designer for the Louisville Gannett Design Studio had me in the thick of a fast-paced, interactive environment that places a heavy emphasis on high-impact news design. Having only a few hours to turn around a front page graphic or special section cover while also electronically dealing with numerous newsrooms and working on advance projects morphed me into a master multi-tasker.

Despite my youth, I was thrown into the fire for some of the biggest sporting events on the calendar. I designed the look and feel of the March Madness special sections for the Lansing State Journal by creating logos, banners and flags during Michigan State’s Big Ten Championship run and into the national tournament. The opportunity was given to me to create a special section poster page previewing the 138th Kentucky Derby — the biggest day of the year in the blue grass state. Gannett shipped me out to Indianapolis Star for three days to assist in the special section coverage for the Indianapolis 500. While on loan in Indy, I designed another special section preview front, this time for the big race at the Brickyard.

The opportunities — travel, professional experience, working under daily deadline pressure, being in a design-centered environment — have been endless, and I embraced the adventure of living in a new state on my own.

 

 

News design

Portfolio

Print journalism isn’t dead; it’s just changing. Will newspapers ever be as booming or as profitable as they were decades ago? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that they still can’t serve as a compelling, visually-driven form of story telling — something that online news can’t always offer.

Working as a designer for the Louisville Gannett Design Studio had me in the thick of a fast-paced, interactive environment that places a heavy emphasis on high-impact news design. Having only a few hours to turn around a front page graphic or special section cover while also electronically dealing with numerous newsrooms and working on advance projects morphed me into a master multi-tasker.

Despite my youth, I was thrown into the fire for some of the biggest sporting events on the calendar. I designed the look and feel of the March Madness special sections for the Lansing State Journal by creating logos, banners and flags during Michigan State’s Big Ten Championship run and into the national tournament. The opportunity was given to me to create a special section poster page previewing the 138th Kentucky Derby — the biggest day of the year in the blue grass state. Gannett shipped me out to Indianapolis Star for three days to assist in the special section coverage for the Indianapolis 500. While on loan in Indy, I designed another special section preview front, this time for the big race at the Brickyard.

The opportunities — travel, professional experience, working under daily deadline pressure, being in a design-centered environment — have been endless, and I embraced the adventure of living in a new state on my own.

 

Logos and branding

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I got my first real break (and actually my first real attempt) at logo design while I was interning with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State during my junior year. The School of Journalism was gearing up to celebrate its centennial in the fall of 2010 and was in need of a logo for postcards that were being mailed out to alumni.

My boss at the time asked me to come up with a logo, and what I created was what the school ended up using over the next year to promote the celebration. It showed up on letters, signs, magazines, coffe cups, tote bags and even teddy bears. You know you’ve made it big when your logo is emblazoned on the furry stomach of a stuffed bear.

Since then, I have redesigned a publication’s brand and identity (Michigan Hockey Magazine), draw up logos for freelance projects and created banners and logos for newspaper special sections — most notably for March Madness in the Lansing State Journal.

One of my proudest student works, an expressive wordmark for “Argyle,” was selected as a student piece to be shown in AIGA Detroit’s Design Re:View in May 2011. To have my work, as a journalism major, acknowledged amongst hundreds of pieces created by graphic design students was a tremendous honor.

Web design

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Unlike my computer engineering friends, I’m not primarily a coder. But that doesn’t mean that the sight of PHP or HTML forces me to curl up in the corner, full-on fetal position. Code doesn’t scare me. In fact, I’m trying to learn as much about web design as I possibly can.

My first web design project was to revamp Michigan Hockey Online, a niche publication that centered on youth hockey in the state of Michigan. The older site was built using Dreamweaver and didn’t allow for daily updates nor an article archive. To help create a site that could be current, topical and easily brought up to speed, the client and I decided to use WordPress.

I settled on a WordPress template and incorporated my knowledge of CSS/HTML and PHP to mold the site to our specifications. Everything from the color scheme and front page layout to the rotating banners and site navigation were designed to give the site visitor an interactive and informative experience.

Go ahead and check it out in action, MiHockeyNow.com, and to read more about the Michigan Hockey redesign, click here.

Another web design project that I developed was for an IT company based in Toronto. They came to me wanting to use WordPress to create a simple, easy to navigate web site to help their customers and potential clients find their contact information and services.

The company sent over examples of sites they liked, and then I went out and found a WordPress theme that could be easily manipulated to their specifications. I highlighted their services on the homepage slider by playing off of their fun and quirky logo.

The ZeroPing website can be found at ZeroPing.ca

Full disclosure, this isn’t a working, live web site — it’s just a conceptual idea for a site that focuses on reducing cafeteria food waste.

The assignment was completed in my interactive web design class (which ironically, didn’t involve too much actual web design) at Michigan State. We had to choose a destructive behavior and then create a web site that aimed at dissuading others from participating in the act. After holding a meal plan for three years during my time as an undergrad, I came to see the horrors of wasteful activities that took place in college cafeterias.

Being a journalism student in a graphic design class, I took the time to do my due diligence and research the issue at hand instead of just using dummy copy on my slides (I’m actually really humble, I swear). I again focused on how the site visitor would interact with the information on each slide and developed an effective route for them to travel the site.

If a client ever comes to me in need of a web site aimed at reducing cafeteria food waste, I’ll have these blueprints in my back pocket.

Barcelona Travel Book

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Whenever I swap European travel stories with friends or acquaintances, I have to imagine that I sound like a broken record when discussing the five weeks I spent in Spain during the summer of 2010. “It was greatest five weeks of my life!” “Barcelona was incredible!” and “Seriously, why did I even bother coming home?” are common declarations lumped into my tales of the Catalonian city on the coast of Spain.

The art, architecture and culture also served as fantastic inspiration for a travel book assignment in a graphic design class I completed at MSU. The guidelines of the project were such: Pick a place, any place in the world in which to create a travel book highlighting unique and interesting characteristics of said place. It was to be a six page book with the following pages:

  • A cover, front and back, complete with spine
  • A table of contents
  • One page with primarily text
  • One page combining text and images
  • One page with primarily images
  • A unique information page

Since I was still in a hazy state of wanderlust from my study abroad adventure three months before, I naturally chose Barcelona. It also helped that I took boatloads of pictures on my trip so I had plenty of colorful and vibrant art to pick from.

The Barcelona travel book still ranks up there with the most enjoyable design projects that I’ve ever cranked out.

 

 

 

 

 

Michigan Hockey Magazine

Portfolio

Lakes in Michigan have two very different functions, depending on the season and time of year. In the summer, they’re the epicenter of recreation and relaxation for beachgoers and boaters alike. But it’s during the winter, when the waters glass over amidst the barrage of lake effect snow, where they reveal their true purpose for me: Pond hockey.

After more than a decade spent playing the sport while growing up in Michigan, I jumped at the freelance opportunity to help turn around a niche publication: Michigan Hockey Magazine. I would be responsible for rebranding the identity of the magazine and creating a new website in the process.

I served as the web developer/content manager/graphic designer/page designer/art director/photographer and even a copy editor for the publication. For a small magazine such as this one, it was necessary to get my hands involved in all aspects of the operation. To read more about my experience redesigning Michigan Hockey, click here.