Team SASK — Identity, Web, & Merchandise Design

My best stories start with a question, “can we make something like that work?” What Karen does not realize is, by the time she finds the question at the end of the garden path she just backed her way down — she thinks she can’t afford me — I’ve already got ideas … a lot of them.

Team SASK logo with green text and wavy yellow lines below to visually look like a waving Saskatchewan provincial flag.

A simple logo refresh escalates into a new identity.

Honestly, I don’t recall how it started or what the plan was. Perhaps just a look at some design pieces for use during the games, led to me having to create a vector version of the existing logo, led to me playing with the flag and stripes idea, and before you know it … there is a decent little identity refresh at the end of this thread I start pulling on.

Evolution of Team SASK identity including other existing Saskatchewan logos, early sketches, and then the final lockups with various backgrounds and black & white options.

Karen Jari Kurri’s the mark like the hall of famer she is, assisting with printed assets for media presentations leading up to the games, then comes out from the corner shifting to McJesus mode, shelving it no-look on another bewildered goalie to extend the identity into some merchandise.

Honestly, the three person team of Karen, Tyler, and Myself — are exceptional together. We take this work to the sandbox and HAVE A TIME. Five year old styles with snot crusting all over our faces and everything — but actually. It is coooold out on the ski hill and cross country track in -30 holding a magnesium body camera during the games 🥶

A dope AF old man in the bar above the ice surface, wearing a weathered Saskatchewan Roughriders cap, and our green bunnyhug with wheat sheath design looks into the camera for a portrait  from Draw 12 of Curling at Pidherney Curling Centre for the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, AB Canada.
Throughout the nearly three weeks in Red Deer, it is quite surreal to be capturing merchandise I produce, with an identity I design, at a national level competition for the province I grew up in. Seriously, my career in a single photo right here at the curling rink.

Oh, a pennant for every athlete, coach, and trainer … on it.

The level of detail and touch points that Karen and our team produced had one goal, make these games the most special moment of these kids athletic careers to date. It would be the peak for many, so we wanted them to feel like professional athletes at every step, stride, swing, shot, and jump.

Digital design assets for during the games.

And with that, it is time to mock up some design assets we use on our digital channels for promotion, and news reporting, to the dedicated TeamSASK friends and family. It is a large group, with a lot of energy, and our little team wants to give them something to be excited about. Full marketing mode throughout the games.

A real professional celebration of their kids, looking like the big time athletes they are. The new brand gives us that power, and as the images from the games start flowing into the layouts, the vision comes to life and the games feel real in an instant — some months of planning in full stride now.

A Website has to be designed and built too … obviously.

Attempting to write one story for each sport, some ridiculous 19 in total, is a goal we will never achieve but are ambitious to try. So ambitious, that I find time to quickly throw a site together a couple days before packing up my entire office for Red Deer — pushing live code from our hotel room to fix bugs throughout the games.

With a lifetime of web development in the rear view, spinning up a custom WordPress site is an afternoon project, and with the design assets all just sitting there in a Sketch file having been polished and used for months in various mediums — a design all but compiled — I simply replicate jodybailey.ca and re-skin it for TeamSASK.

Ultimately the largest impact Stories.TeamSask.ca has, is to redirect folks to the photo galleries for each event as soon as they are available. Perhaps with one dedicated writer tacked onto the team, we could pull off two stories a day,  and dance gangnam style into the night. In the debrief, I will note that given our roster for these games, dropping stories and processing more photos for galleries could be leveraged better for external communications.

Needless to say, the site lives on, but the photo galleries are down. I might rectify that, but for now…

Stories.TeamSask.ca

Screenshot of the TeamSask Stories page with the green navigation bar, a large green title, some text, and an image.

Like so many professional stories of mine, a seemingly innocuous inquiry with pedestrian goals gets the 100M world record attempt treatment from me, combining my entire skillset including photography, design, writing, and web development.

More importantly the mini-mega-team of Karen, Tyler, and myself productively meets but a few times leading up to the games, and manages to conceive, evolve, and execute a communications plan that garners praise from ourselves, our team, and our peers. Team Ontario in the closing days on the concourse of the Speed Skating venue …

“Hey, you’re the Team SASK media folks making us all look bad … nice work!”

Unidentified Ontario Media Team Member

Mission accomplished indeed.

The Rice Howard Howler

A regular — absolutely not regular — update on what I've been up to, some thoughts I've had, and content I've consumed.

You can unsubscribe anytime. My address is Rice Howard Way, Edmonton, AB T5J. Sometimes on a bench with Bruce.

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