Flashback – The NHL’s Presence at SuperShow

Posted by on Feb 18, 2011 in Backstory, Design, Events, Flashback, Identity, Journal | No Comments

First off, big thanks for all the nice comments about my new portfolio format. When I added a “Companies and Clients” section in the footer, I thought it may cause a stir. It did. People asked to know more. To be clear, those logos represent a partial list of either companies I worked for or clients I’ve had working freelance. I didn’t originally show work I did for all of those clients because I wanted to keep things current.

But they are high profile companies. And since people want to see work I designed while working at places like the NHL, I’m going to see what work I still have in archives and show and tell about it here in the Journal. I’m creating a category called, “Flashback” where I’ll take a look at projects from the past that had an interesting story around them. Look out for more Flashback posts in the future.

I’m starting with one of my first projects I worked on while at the National Hockey League.

Each year, NHL Enterprises shows off its merchandising wares at the annual SuperShow in Atlanta. They needed trade show booths designed for the event. The booths were to be informational. They would hold two people who would answer questions. They needed one booth for each NHL team plus one general NHL booth. And there were going to be two size booths. Three quarters of the teams would get the larger size booth.

So, the booths needed to be branded for each team. They had two structures they used each year that were 12 feet high. They needed me to create the graphics for the panels.

I proposed we create a posterized image for the background image of each booth. I thought that would look very cool from a distance and get more abstract as people got closer. I wanted the images to be show movement and action and preferably be close ups. The posterized shapes would reflect each teams’ color palette. I presented the image below at an internal meeting to sell the idea.

Wing-[Converted]They liked the idea. Initially, anyway. I was in the process of creating a few more when the word came down from the NHL’s Legal Department.

I had to stop production immediately. We could not use images that highlight one individual player. The lawyers were afraid of potential problem with the Players Union. The union may demand more money for the player featured on each booth. If I wanted to move forward with the posterized image idea, I had to adapt the images. I had to use two or more players on each panel. And, if possible, I should try to make the images as abstract as possible so it wasn’t quite clear who the players were. The image I presented had too much detail. It was clear who the player was.

So, I started over and created two examples and placed them in a quick 3D sketch of the two different sized booths that I created in Adobe Illustrator.



They got approved. I moved forward with creating large format images for each team that was posterized from NHL owned photography. A few examples are attached below.


I sent all the final artwork out to the vendor who created the large format panels. I forget the name of the company but they are out of Chicago and they are the same people who put graphics and ads on the boards at NHL arenas. I had actual photos of the booths at the SuperShow but I lost them at some point. But, they looked good. All the top execs were happy and personally told me so when they returned from SuperShow.


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