- Get stakeholders interested and excited about the new Athletics rebrand
- Tap into The University of Akron’s history and create a compelling narrative
- Reveal the new Athletics “A” logo and branding through video and mock-ups
- Include all sports teams at the university in the video
- Deliver a high-end brand piece that would resonate not only with supports of UA Athletics, but the University community and region as a whole
- Create mockups of the new logo on uniforms to showcase how the brand would look moving forward
- Use animation to highlight the “Z” hidden in the logo
To understand the client's needs, our production team engaged in a meeting with the Athletics leadership at the university. During this meeting, everyone participated in a productive brainstorming session to outline the initial plan for the video and discuss the other deliverables that were needed for the launch.
The client's primary objectives were clear: to reintroduce a logo featuring the letter A into the branding, tell the story of Akron’s athletics history, and feature footage from all the sports teams.
The team also consulted with Joe Bosack, the new brand’s designer, to gather further information and insights about the overall vision and expectations. Joe's contributions helped shape the direction of the project, offering a comprehensive perspective on the brand's visual elements.
From the start, the team knew that a large amount of archival footage would be needed, along with present-day content that would be provided, to craft the desired narrative. Requests were put in as quickly as possible with The UA Archives and Special Collections to retrieve historical sports footage for our team to review and begin using.
Scripting and Storyboarding
This piece was going to be heavily driven by the narrative voiceover accompanying the visuals. The script was a crucial component in the pre-production process. It was important that this piece of the puzzle was in a good place and approved before the bulk of the video edit began. Our team worked closely with The University of Akron Athletics Department to build the right story for the initial script and our copywriter put the finishing touches on it to give it the perfect tone and polish.
The storyboarding phase posed a unique challenge for the project. Our team needed to solidify a vision for the overall look piece, but some of the final visual elements in the branding were still being completed, and our team’s creation of uniform mockups and sourcing of historical footage was being handled simultaneously. Because of this, we wanted to leave some flexibility in the creative process as we continued to gather all final assets.
Finding Historical Assets
The team worked with new brand elements that were created to design the full storyboards for the end of the video logo reveal animation. However, the challenge lay in coordinating the elements that depended on historical assets, which would be acquired post-approval of the storyboards.
The collaboration between the production team and The University of Akron was instrumental in sourcing the required historical content. The university provided footage of present-day teams, while The UA Archives and Special Collections was invaluable in helping locate historical footage of UA sports teams, which created a strong foundation for the video.
Due to the secretive nature and timing of the announcement of the new brand, this project had a relatively quick turnaround time for our team. To maximize time, our team split up specific roles during the production phase. This division of resources helped streamline the process and maintain efficiency.
Responsibilities included tasks like photoshopping new jersey designs onto player photos, curating historical athletic footage, developing motion graphics, and creating audio and sound design components. This multifaceted approach allowed for our team members to have individual ownership over certain sections of the project, and ensured that areas were all thoroughly looked at and proper time was taken to make sure the video met the high standards set for this landmark project.
One of the primary challenges was the acquisition and curation of decades worth of historical footage and photo assets. Deciding which moments to include was a delicate balance, as a video of this length could still only barely scratch the surface of The University of Akron's athletic heritage. Our team had to go through and meticulously select and refine the most memorable highlights of key moments that could be sourced to create a powerful narrative.
Another goal was ensuring that all of Akron's athletic teams were represented. The rebrand encompassed all sports teams across the entire department. Achieving this required a team effort to verify that each sport was showcased in some capacity, ensuring that all departments and teams were included in this transformative moment.
Uniforms and Social Graphics
Along with the video, the university asked for a representation of what the brand would look like on modern day uniforms and social assets for many of the sports.
Our team swapped six University of Akron Athletics team uniforms to show how the new "A" branding would look.
We chose from high-resolution photos were sent over to represent six different sports - football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, volleyball and swimming and diving. We then went to work replacing the current logos and imagery with new brand elements. These images were created to be as realistic as possible to our vision of how the new branding would translate to these uniforms so viewers could get excited about what was to come.
Social media assets such as headers and profile pictures were also created for each of the 13 sports so they were ready for the changeover as soon as the release happened. Creating these elements helped ensure a consistent and clean digital transition for everyone involved.
The feedback on this piece was exceptionally positive. The client, including representatives from Athletics and the university, expressed their delight and satisfaction with the final product, and how it helped bring their vision of the new brand to life.
The video also garnered accolades from fans and supporters, as it sparked a multitude of positive reactions on social media and online communities. The video clearly resonated with a broad audience, and fulfilled its goal of promoting Akron Athletics and showcasing the new brand with engaging storytelling. It even won a Silver ADDY Award at the 2023 Akron American Advertising Awards in the category of Branded Content & Entertainment Non-Broadcast.
The video was not only well-received but also represented a unique, once-in-a-lifetime project. Having several University of Akron alumni on staff added a layer of personal significance to the project, making it even more rewarding for many of those who worked on it.
This project brought together the past, present and future with highly-focused, narrative storytelling to showcase the launch of an exciting new brand for Akron Athletics.