Tag Archives: sports

Redesigning the College Snuggie

Let’s face it. There’s been a lot of talk about Snuggies in pop culture this year. “The blanket with sleeves” came out of nowhere and gripped the nation. From themed bar tours to the Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest, you’re never far from Snuggie’s influence.

And if that weren’t enough, the brains that brought you the outstanding three-color collection have upped their game and expanded their product line to include… collegiate licensed Snuggies!

If you haven’t seen them in their full glory, take a gander:


Picture Source: Blanket Wars (Even better, this picture is from a blog post entitled “OU Will Choke Versus Texas.”)

How does one make an eyesore like the Snuggie even more hideous? Make it look like it was made from the contents of the clearance rack at the fabric store. That fabric ain’t just for pajamas anymore!

Though I’m not (yet) a member of the cult of the Snuggie, I understand why people would buy them. Who doesn’t like being warm? And being able to eat whilst wearing a blanket? Or the ability to change channels without exposing bare arms to the draft of a room?

I also understand why people would want collegiate Snuggies in particular. Every sports fan relishes the opportunity to show off a little team spirit. I mean, if I got a Snuggie, you’d be darn sure I’d get a college team one. (Looks like I’d have to get Texas though, because the makers of Snuggie don’t offer a UVA one. Good research on that one, I must admit. They know their audience, and UVA alums likely wouldn’t bother with a Snuggie: it would clash with their ties or pearls.)

Well, instead of continuing to mock Snuggie, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and offer a design suggestion: K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid.) Good design should be minimalist, simple and straightforward. Not cluttered.

How should Snuggie go about this? Pretend to make team sweatshirts, just with tons more fabric. Like this:

Or this:
Yes, UVA can have its own Snuggie after all!
Texas should prominently display the Longhorn logo on burnt orange. Carolina the interlocking NC on its signature Carolina blue hue. Virginia Tech would use the interconnected VT. Florida: the Gator. The Jayhawk for Kansas. You get the picture. Make it simple. Make the primary team color the star, not the blinding repetition of several logos.

How would you redesign the collegiate Snuggie? Would you make them like replica jerseys with the ability to personalize a name and number on the back? Add a belt in a contrasting color? Build in a foam finger at the end of one sleeve? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Final two pictures edited from this image.

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Filed under ACC, college basketball, college football, commercials, fashion, graphic design, marketing, mascots, sports, Texas, UVA

When was the last time a magazine changed your life?

Back in June I was sitting at Reagan Airport waiting for an 8:00 a.m. flight to Houston for work. As is my custom when I’m in an airport, I decided to pick up a magazine to amuse myself for my day’s flights. Out of the blue I decided to pick up the July issue of Wired. Little did I know this $4.99 decision would change my life, or at the very least, my next few months.

wired coverPicture Source: Wired

To this point, I had never read Wired, or at least the print version. I had occasionally read articles on the Web site when people tweeted about them or passed them along by email. But the magazine drew me in: two people clad in sleek workout clothes donned the cover. Around the picture there were quite a few headlines that drew me in, being the information-seeking/somewhat media-savvy person that I am (emphasis on somewhat):

  • “Battle for the Web: Facebook vs. Google” (“Oooh, I use those!)
  • “United States of Data: Obama’s New CIO” (“Kinda cool… government and new media and information collide in the great unknown.)
  • The Nike+Apple Experiment: 1 Million Runners and Counting (“I’ve been hearing about this a lot lately. Time to find out what the fuss is about.”)

This was definitely going to be worth the $5 and then some.

I plunged right in to The Nike+ Experiment. It ensnared me from the opening paragraph. Even though I ran cross country in high school close to a decade ago, I found myself relating to the woman introduced right away: a once-225 pound mother who with the help of Nike+ found a love for running (through her love of gadgets and data), lost 80 pounds and was now training for a half marathon. “I can do that [train for a half marathon],” I thought to myself. “Maybe I just need the gadget.”

Now I’m not exactly 225 pounds (or have I been close for that matter… I cautiously add “yet”), but I’m not exactly a runner these days either. I’d say at the time I read this article I worked out something like once or twice a week. Geez I hope none of my high school sports coaches ever read this…

The article was fresh in my mind for a week after I read it. I kept thinking in the back of my mind, I need to get myself Nike+. I even read it again. And again about a month later. Finally, about a month ago, I decided it was time for me to bite the bullet and get the Nike+ system for myself.

[A brief aside: if I had known at the time that all you needed to get Nike+ was $29 and an iPod Nano*, which I already had, there’s no way I would have waited so long to make this purchase. I also later discovered you don’t even have to wear Nike or Nike+ enabled running shoes to use Nike+. You can attach the sensor to any shoelaces using this handy little sensor holder. The holder is only $5 or $6! I needed new running shoes though and as it turned out the ones I bought, despite being Adidas, had a built-in Nike+ sensor-sized indentation in the left shoe’s sole anyway, so I could just insert it the same way I would if I had Nike+ enabled running shoes. Special thanks to the staff at Pacers in Arlington for giving me the heads up!]

One thing I remembered from the article was “Nike has discovered that once a user uploads five runs to its Web site, they’ve gotten hooked on what their data tells them about themselves.” Sure enough, they were right. I’d say it took me less than five runs to get hooked, but it also took me two or three to understand how to dizzily operate the buttons on my Nano after running a few miles in the D.C. area summer humidity. Regardless, it didn’t take long to get into the data collection. As a lazy person who has failed numerous times at keeping fitness logs by hand, I must admit, this is the way to go. It does all the data collecting for you: tells you your pace per mile, measures distance, updates you on your progress while your running and should you set a personal record (PR) on your run, uses celebrities like Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong to congratulate you on your accomplishments. It even graphs your progress on the Nike+ site and lets you add comments, routes, weather and “how I felt” feedback with ease.

Another point in the article that resonated with me was the Hawthorne effect. According to Wired, “[t]he gist of the idea is that people change their behavior — often for the better — when they are being observed.” I for one, know I’m quite susceptible to the Hawthorne effect. One of the benefits of using the Nike+ Web site is the ability for a user to create his or her own goals. When I set the goal to run 25 miles in the next two weeks, I know it’s watching. And you know what? It makes me go out and pound the pavement, especially when I know a deadline is close to elapsing. Thanks to these goals I find myself on the treadmill at 10:30 p.m. so that I don’t fail to achieve a goal I set on the site. I haven’t failed yet, but I fear the (likely quite innocuous) consequences that will result when and if I fall short of a goal I set.

So in summary, the Wired article left me with two cravings — a desire for Nike+ and, as you may imagine, more Wired. Needless to say, I sent in my subscription postcard right away and am now getting a year’s worth for $10! Solid.

Bonus: on a somewhat unrelated note, the Somali Piracy article in the same issue was the coolest magazine layout design I may have ever seen (Check it out! And trust me, it’s worth the PDF download. The Web version of the article does it no justice). I can’t wait to see what gadget-y/social media-y/design-y excitement Wired’ll come up with next.

Stay tuned for more thoughts my own Nike+ experiment in the future. So far I’ve run 16 times for a total of around 44 miles in the month I’ve used Nike+. A drop in the bucket for most, but a start for me nonetheless. Later this month I’ll be competing in my first 5K in close to a decade. And with any stroke of luck, my first 10K race will soon be on the horizon. ‘Til then, happy trails!

* You don’t have to have a Nano, it’s just what I happened to already own (and as far as I know, all generations of the Nano work). The iPhone/iPod touch also works with Nike+, but if you have neither, you can also opt for the wristband instead.

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Orange or Big Red for Paulus?

After weeks of deliberation, Duke basketball alum Greg Paulus will unveil his plans for his college football future at a press conference today at 10 a.m. EST.  He’s announced that he will definitely be playing football, but where?  Nebraska or Syracuse?

According to ESPN, Paulus is expected to choose the ‘Cuse.  It would appear that he wouldn’t be getting the starting quarterback job at either destination though, as junior Zac Lee should lead the Huskers and redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib, the Orange, this fall.

But with a 3-9 record a year ago, Syracuse can probably use all the help they can get.  And though Nebraska finished 9-4 last season, it has an inexperienced quarterback staff.  Both could certainly benefit from having a high school All-American’s arm on their team.

If ESPN’s predictions are right, it looks like Paulus’ll be headed back home to the blustery cold northeast to continue his athletics career. At least the home games would be indoors, which would be a welcome reprieve from the multiple-feet-tall snowdrifts he’d undoubtedly trudge through to get to class.  But hey, he still has 6 ½ hours to change his mind.

UPDATE: It’s confirmed. Paulus is heading home to play for the Orange.

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Hoops-la in Durham

Though the basketballers in Carolina blue won the 2009 NCAA crown, it appears their royal blue foes are getting all the off-season attention.

A few weeks ago, the big news was that Stephen Curry’s little brother, Seth, was transferring from Liberty to Duke. The younger Curry averaged 20.3 points per game for the Flames, pacing freshman throughout the country.

But somehow creating more intrigue, graduating Duke point guard Greg Paulus is examining his future, in football. After starting in his first three years for the Blue Devils, the senior saw more action as a role player this season.  The Blue Devils, a No. 2 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament, fell in the Sweet 16 to eventual Final Four contender, No. 3 Villanova.

Prior to his Duke career, Paulus was heavily recruited to play both college basketball and football.  As the four-year starting quarterback for Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y., Paulus led his team to a 42-3 record and a state title.  He also passed for 11,763 yards and 152 touchdowns — no small feat for any athlete, let alone one that can start for 3.5 years for Duke’s not-too-shabby hoops squad.

Paulus’ name splashed all over the media outlets a few weeks ago, when he worked out with the Green Bay Packers and followed it up with a trip to Ann Arbor to discuss his possible future with Coach Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines.  He even was interviewed on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption in a segment called “Five Good Minutes”:

After all the initial excitement, Paulus is no longer in the headlines, but still appears to be shopping around for a college football opportunity.  Where has he expressed interest in playing lately?  Nebraska and his hometown Syracuse.

A source says he’s 95 percent sure Paulus will join the Orange’s roster for next season.  If that’s the case, Paulus would enroll in a master’s program in communications at Syracuse’s highly touted S.I. Newhouse School of Communications while competing for the Orange.  When he toured Nebraska’s campus in Lincoln last week, Paulus looked at the broadcast journalism master’s program there as well.  (For the record, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s communications programs aren’t too shabby either.)

So how will Paulus suit up in the coming months?  In maize and blue?  As a Cornhusker?  Will he bask again in hometown glory, this time in orange?  Or will he continue his basketball career overseas?  And perhaps more importantly, when will we know?

The double-sport threat will receive his bachelor’s in political science from Duke on May 10.  His high school coach, Joe Casamento, believes Paulus will finalize his decision within the next two weeks.

‘Til then, let the speculation continue!

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Toothier Lions and upside-down Bull heads

In the past two days there’s been much fuss in the logo design world about two professional sports teams: the NFL’s Detroit Lions and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

While the laughingstock of the NFL has had a minor logo renovation, yesterday the Chicago Tribune pointed out something about the Bulls logo that had skirted unnoticed by sports fans: upside down, the Chicago Bull is in fact a robot reading the Bible on a park bench.

Don’t believe me? Take a look.  I would even argue that the robot is a very sad distant cousin of Bender:

bulls-head

Photo credit: The Chicago Tribune

But that isn’t all I learned from the Tribune about well-known logos.  I mentioned a few weeks ago about the arrow within the FedEx logo, but did y’all know about the 31 within the Baskin Robbins logo?  I certainly didn’t.  The 31 of course refers to Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors of ice cream.

So how did the Detroit Lions change their logo?  Now the team’s lion has sharper, scarier teeth and is accompanied by a flashier, more modern font:

lions-logo

Photo credit: Sports Pros(e) blog on Chicago Sun-Times

Roar!  Quite menacing, don’t ya think?  The “new Lions logo ought to solve everything,” a Chicago Sun-Times blog post facetiously said.  That’d be quite a feat for the design world, as the abysmal Lions tallied an 0-16 record last season.

As one of my favorite people on Twitter pointed out yesterday, “The Lions new logo probably won’t solve their problems on offense. But it might sell some more merchandise!”

Only time will tell if the rebranding effort will rescue the team from a repeat of last year’s misfortunes.

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Roy and Coach K rocking out… together?

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, what comes across the screen?

Wow. Coach K jamming on guitar? In his undies?  Really?  And with Roy Williams (and Bob Knight and Rick Pitino) sans pants, no less.

I thought Michael Phelps rocking with A-Rod, Tony Hawk and Kobe was the peak of ridiculousness this campaign could hit:

Wrong!

What stomachache-inducing combo will DDB (and H.S.I. Productions) come up with next?

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Sweet 16 notes

Big East continues domination

In an otherwise unexciting tournament, one storyline has emerged: the Big East has been unstoppable.  Five of the Sweet 16 teams were Big East squads: No. 3 Villanova, No. 3 Syracuse, and a trio of No. 1 seeds: Louisville, Pitt and UConn.  Now only 12 teams remain (six of the eight games have been played, Kansas-Michigan State and UNC-Gonzaga are playing now).  The Big East will have four teams representing the conference in the Elite 8, as only Syracuse was eliminated this round.

In other news seeds 1-3 in every region advanced to the Sweet 16.  Yawn.  The only two “exciting” seeds, No. 5 Purdue (is that even exciting?) and No. 12 Arizona, were dismissed last night and tonight respectively.  If Gonzaga falls to UNC, the Elite Eight will be populated only by 1, 2 and 3 seeds.

Naismith POY finalists announced

Midway through the first half of tonight’s early games, CBS announced the four finalists for men’s college basketball’s Naismith Player of the Year.  The candidates?  Three forwards and a center: Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Tyler Hansbrough (UNC), DeJuan Blair (Pitt) and Hasheem Thabeet (UConn).  While I don’t debate the talent of these players, there is one very noticable finalist that made me think, why is he in there?

Though undoubtedly a gifted player, I disagree with Tyler Hansbrough place among those considered for this year’s award.  Though he picked up just about every player of the year award offered last year, I don’t think that warrants his inclusion among this year’s finalists.  In my opinion, he’s not even the best player at North Carolina this year (his teammate Ty Lawson picked up ACC Player of the Year honors).  Was Hansbrough the ACC POY runner-up?  No, actually Florida State’s Toney Douglas was.

I’m not arguing that Hansbrough isn’t among the 10 top college players in the country.  I just don’t think he’s #1, this year.

As a Texas alum it pains me to say this, but I think the Naismith Award should go to Blake Griffin.  Averaging 21.9 points and 14.3 rebounds per game, Griffin is a beast under the basket.  He doesn’t just get double-doubles, he averages double-doubles.  And playing in this year’s tough Big 12, no less.

I’d be OK with Blair or Thabeet winning the award as well, but I think Griffin has been the most consistent all season.  Seven-foot-three center Thabeet had an impressive year, but was lackluster in his team’s two losses to Pitt, arguably the most important two games of UConn’s regular season.  Blair had a great season as well, but was streaky.  He really hit his stride towards the season’s end.  Blair dominated his first regular season matchup against Thabeet, but in Pitt’s second win against UConn, Sam Young (Blair’s teammate that averages 18.9 points of his own) was the one who took care of business.
Tourney’s ugliest unis unveiled

For those who hadn’t had the opportunity to see much Big 12 action this year, last night’s Missouri-Memphis game was a rude awakening.  What was the unwelcome disturbance?  Mizzou’s jerseys.

How bad can they be, you ask?  Bad enough to harken comparisons to Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard.  A “lovely” hue, I tell ya.

I’ll let you decide for yourself:

mizzou-unis1“Do you like your mustard spicy?”
“Ohhhhh yeah!”

Photo credit: The Charlotte Observer

Sadly, since Missouri is a No. 3 seed, it’s very likely they’ll be wearing these jerseys the rest of the way.  Who’s up next for the Tigers of Columbia?  No. 1 UConn.  With any luck Mizzou’ll be sent packing after tomorrow night’s next matchup.  I’m not necessarily rooting for UConn, I’m just rooting for my eyes to stop burning.
Why does that guy on Oklahoma wear long sleeves under his jersey?  Isn’t he burning up?

Well I know in my basketball playing days (I played, I never said I played well), I usually was a sweaty, disgusting mess.  Maybe I didn’t lose 10 lbs. every time I played like I hear that Shaq and other NBA players do, but let’s just say if I played, my jersey wasn’t dry at the end of the game.

I’ll stop with those gross details now.

Well all tournament I’ve been wondering, why does Oklahoma’s #5 (I’ve since found out his name is Tony Crocker), wear long sleeves under his jersey?  As an ex-player I could never envision any circumstance when I’d want to have more clothes on while playing an indoor basketball game.

Well it turns out Crocker has “a condition that slows his ability to stay warm,” according to the Tulsa World. Check out more commentary on it here (just be sure to ignore Anonymous’ ignorant comments).

tony-crocker-sleeves1Photo credit: Tulsa World

Coach K versus Obama

As you may or may not have heard last week, Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski was less than pleased to hear that President Obama wasted valuable time to fill out a bracket.  Who was in his Final Four?  Not Duke.  And even worse, he had Carolina winning it all.

Really Coach K, is that why you’re mad?  Because to me it just seems you’re upset that the President didn’t pick your team, and even worse, chose your archnemesis to win it all.

Some argue that Coach K was just joking, but it didn’t seem that way to me.  I’m pretty sure his “really the economy is something he should focus on” jab seemed more out of disgust than a light-hearted jab at an old pal.

Well, as it turns out, it was a pretty wise decision on Obama’s part not to pick Duke for his Final Four.  He actually had them going out in the Elite Eight round, one round further than they actually did.  Villanova blew out Duke last night, 77-54.

coach-kThe face of a coach that should spend more time getting his team to the Final Four instead of judging political officials who fill out brackets. Zing.

Photo credit: The Boston Globe

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