I would say one of the coolest projects I got to work on was the Chicago Cubs Season Tickets. For three years, I got the opportunity to be the art director at EMI and design these fun and exciting items for the Chicago Cubs. The process of the design involved many factors other than strategy and design, including package design, variable printing, prepress operation, color correction, select photo, textures and font selection to name a few. My season ticket designs also carried over into many Wrigley Field projects for a seamless experience for Cubs fans that year. Basically, the season tickets played a big part of what the Cubs marketing looked like for three year in a row.
The 2011 Season Tickets were the first set of designs I worked on for the Cubs. Becoming on board as art director at EMI for only a few months, this was a challenge brought to my plate. With extensive research and using knowledge from previous Cubs employees that were then a part of the Vine Line magazine team, that I was also playing art director, I started working up a design theme for the tickets. Working closely with the account executive for the Cubs, we established a particular look we were happy to present to the Cubs. The idea was to be sleek, clean and use the wonderful iconic imagery of Wrigley Field to reinforce the brand. The designs were approved with very minimal changes. The photo selections were probably the most difficult part of the whole design.
The 2012 Season Tickets were the second set of designs I worked on for the Cubs. With a year worth of experience working on Cubs projects and Vine Line magazine, I had a better understanding of their brand this time around. The design strategy process was longer for 2012 because of this reason. Instead of thinking “what would the Cubs like to see”, I was thinking more “how can I make the Cubs display their brand to their fans with historical value”. Enter the wood grain texture, baseball iconic item with integration of retro Topps baseball cards. Each baseball card was selected for a purpose for each game, making the tickets that much more collectable to the diehard Cubs fans. My design used a wood texture to represent a baseball bat, a paint texture for elements to look like the boxes were painted onto the wood, and the slight shadows behind the Topps cards reflect the bent edges or the imperfections of printed baseball cards. Although the designs was the fun part of this project, just like the other season tickets, I was responsible for working with the printer, setting up variable printing, making sure files were all hires and color correcting making sure all looks good when delivered to the Cubs. Sometimes I feel managing and executing this aspect of the season tickets made me appreciate the simplicity of design. I compare prepress for print design as code for web design. Either way the tickets were well received by the Cubs and their fans, as well as my employer.
The 2013 were unfortunately the last opportunity I got to work on the Cubs season tickets. The Cubs hired a new marketing director and she decided to move the majority of designs back to an agency located in Chicago. I’m sure it made sense from a PR standpoint, but I only received positive feedback from everybody about my designs on the season tickets and I look at it as they lost out on possible the best season tickets designs ever for the Cubs. I have to at least think that way right. Either way, the 2013 season tickets design was I thought my best work and the best idea to date. It was a designed based on retro style baseball designs from Topps. We used inspiration from old Topps boxes, displays and cards to represent a design that hopefully I get to see in a baseball museum one day.
The most rewarding feeling about designing the Cubs season tickets is that something I designed was in millions of hands at one time. I hope that some of these Cubs fans and Wrigley Field visitors over those years, held onto their tickets for the future. This makes me feel that my designs have played a small (but significant) role into why the Chicago Cubs have one of the biggest fan following in professional sports.
Here is a gallery of my work on the season tickets. A ton of research, creativity, hard work and pride went into every one of these designs.