VISUAL SYSTEM DESIGN CONTEST

The National Football League (NFL) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) partnered more than eight months ago to challenge students minoring in Creative Technology to reimagine all of the NFL team identities, including artwork and graphics inspired by the teams’ logos and fan cultures. The new graphic elements and branding treatments will be used on NFL merchandise.

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Interdisciplinary collaboration, guided experiential learning, and an iterative design process are the core pedagogy for this educational design contest. Through a series of weekly meetings, lectures, and workshops led by the faculty advisors, students learned a wide range of essential skills, including visual system design principles, research methodologies, and presentation skills. These workshops and lectures not only helped each team complete their final project, but also instilled in the students valuable professional knowledge that they will be able to use in their careers.

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THE DESIGN TEAMS

Through a rigorous portfolio review process, 24 students from FIT's Creative Technology Minor were chosen to participate in this design contest. These participants formed 6 creative teams, and three awards are given to the winning teams at the conclusion of the contest: Grand Prize ($15,000), Second Place ($5,000), and People’s Choice ($5,000). The award winning designs will be applied to a wide range of NFL branded merchandise and made available for NFL fans globally.

THE NFLxFIT EXPERIENCE

“We entered into 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. The passion and dedication from the students far exceeded our expectations and the work resulted in exceptional, inspired, and innovative approaches to the NFL marks. We are so excited to see what our licensees do with the students’ designs.”

Rhiannon E. Madden
Vice President, Consumer Products, NFL
FIT Alumna

FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a State University of New York (SUNY) college of art, design, business, and technology, has been at the crossroads of commerce and creativity for over 70 years. With programs that blend hands-on practice, a strong grounding in theory, and a broad-based liberal arts foundation, FIT offers career education in nearly 50 areas, and grants associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

C. J. YEH

Faculty Advisor

C.J. Yeh is a creative director, artist, educator, and author. Yeh has published seven books, several of which have been adopted by universities in Taiwan as textbooks. Yeh has won multiple teaching awards, including the FIT President’s Award for Faculty Excellence, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Adobe Educators’ Choice Awards. Yeh’s research interests include the practices, theories, and history of digital art.

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Yeh is the founder of Cynda Media Lab, an award-winning interdisciplinary design studio. Cynda Media Lab’s list of clients includes Google, legendary composer Alan Menken, and GUND. As an expert in digital branding and visual identity system design, Yeh has been awarded the Communication Arts Typography Award, the HOW International Design Award, and the iF Design Award. Yeh’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including Starting Your Career as a Graphic Designer, written by Michael Fleishman and published by Allworth Press.

Yeh has had solo exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art, The Museum at FIT, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. He has also lectured extensively around the world, speaking at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Cornell University, the United Nations, and TEDxFultonStreet.

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CHRISTIE SHIN

Faculty Advisor

Christie Shin has more than 20 years of professional experience as an educator, creative consultant, and graphic designer specializing in branding, typography, and digital media, which includes digital publishing and mobile app design. Before joining FIT, she taught digital design and new media courses at the Graduate School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute and at Hofstra University.

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In 2013, Shin joined Cynda Media Lab as partner and design director. Her clients include Hearst, UNESCO APCEIU, Kaplan, Inc., Sony, and GUND. Her design work has won numerous international awards from The Type Directors Club, Communication Arts, Print Regional Design Annual, and HOW Magazine.

Shin has lectured and presented her creative work and research internationally, most recently at some of the world’s most prestigious art schools, including the Rhode Island School of Design, Cornell University, the National Taiwan University of Arts, and Hongik University in South Korea.

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THE CONTEST

The NFLxFIT Visual System Design Contest provided a unique and exciting educational opportunity. Through an experiential learning process designed by the contest’s faculty advisors, C.J. Yeh and Christie Shin, student participants learned from top industry professionals, including FIT faculty members from the School of Art and Design and brand management experts from the NFL.

The contest asked students to reimagine the NFL's 32 professional clubs and design new graphic elements and treatments that distinctly represent each football club. The primary objective of the contest was to create a new visual system for the NFL merchandise that appeals to fans between the ages of 18 and 24.

THE EXHIBITION

The students’ work, including the winning designs, will be on display in The Museum at FIT located on Seventh Avenue and 27 Street in New York City, from April 14 through 29. Admission is free. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday, noon–8 pm; Saturday, 10 am–5 pm. Closed Sunday, Monday, and legal holidays.

CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN AT FIT

FIT is a pioneer in creating specialized academic programs in the field of creative technology. When FIT’s Creative Technology minor launched in 2013, it was the first of its kind in the world.

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In addition to the Creative Technology minor, FIT’s Creative Technology and Design Discipline also offers required courses to five majors in the School of Art and Design, as well as several elective courses that are open to all FIT students. Taking full advantage of FIT's unique combination of design, business, and technology offerings is at the core of Communication Design’s pedagogical vision. This interdisciplinary foundation differentiates it from creative technology programs at other schools, which tend to focus solely on technological innovation.

In alignment with FIT’s mission, Creative Technology and Design Discipline’s educational goal is to provide students with a flexible curriculum and an empowering transdisciplinary learning environment. The educational goal is to elevate students’ command and understanding of cutting-edge design concepts and technology to perfect the execution of each student’s creative vision.

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