So my first full week of freelancing finished on a high as I was commissioned by BT Sport to product a promotional poster for their live football match on Saturday afternoon.
The game saw Liverpool take on Arsenal as the two sides reunited again, 25 years after a famous last minute goal saw Arsenal crowned as league champions, snatching the title away from Liverpool in the dying seconds of the game. Since then, there have been a number of epic matches between the two heavyweights, so to commemorate the past 25 years of action, I was asked to design a poster that acted as a simple overview to the history of this fixture.
The brief from BT Sport suggested that using the kits from each of the past 25 years would be a good starting point but as with all great clients, the rest was left open ended, giving me the opportunity to explore a range of creative solutions. With only 24 hours to complete the project, time was of the essence so it was important that any proposed design could be feasibly completed within the timescales. After working through a number of quick sketches and gaining some valuable feedback from the client we decided to create a dressing room style line of shirts hanging up on the walls, starting in the top left with Liverpool's 1989 shirt, and then progressing through the seasons until we arrived at the center of the page to show the 2014 shirt that they would wear for this years game. Sitting next to it, would be the Arsenal shirt that was worn on Saturday, and then from there, the Arsenal shirts lined up in chronological order, dating back to their 1989 shirt that can be seen in the bottom right of the page.
The project was completed in time (just!) and received a great reaction online, which saw my twitter account gain just under 100 new followers. The poster was made available as a free download by BT Sport which was a lovely touch that was appreciated by fans of both teams. As with all projects, there is always plenty to be learned from the process, so I'll finish off with a few pointers below that really struck me as I worked on the poster:
- A simple pen and paper is all you need to come up with ideas.
Time can be wasted when trying to mock up ideas onto a computer but by sketching out very basic, quick layouts, an idea can be developed or discarded in seconds, saving time and streamlining the process.
- Sometimes, the research can take longer than the design work itself.
Looking for photographic evidence of every kit worn by the 2 teams in each of their past 25 fixtures was exhausting and took about 75% of the time spent on the project. This was crucial, as the poster had to be historically accurate, but because this part of a project is unseen, its easy to forget that when planning a new project into a schedule, time needs to be set aside for background work.
- The power of social media is immense and timing is everything.
After the poster was released on Friday evening, my twitter feed went crazy. I received hundreds of retweets, loads of favourites and a large group of new followers. This was helped by the fact that @BTSport and @BTSportfootball had promoted the work on their own feeds, which made my work available to 130k twitter accounts. By releasing the work on a Friday evening, football fans were already getting excited by the prospect of Saturday's match and the poster really helped to encourage this, as well as highlight the fact that the game could be watched live on BT Sport. If the poster was released after the game, it's certain that the reaction wouldnt have been as encouraging as the moment would have gone. The timing of a tweet can make all the difference, regardless of how good the work may be.
To see the poster for yourself, visit the BT Sport 'wetransfer' page to download it for yourself here.