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Blog

The New ESPN.com

Tim McCarthy

ESPN has finally got around to updating their website and to promote the redesign, they launched a landing page to explain what's new about it. Each section of the page has some nice animated illustrations to explain the new features. The most apparent one is that users will be able to personalize their homepage more so that they can read scores and news of the teams they care about most. 

Overall, the UI follows the flat design trend by stripping out a lot of the excessive textures and gradients that gave the old site a very metallic look. The color palette is also a lot lighter by killing a lot of the black and instead using multiple shades of light grey. Those saturated collage backgrounds appear to be out of the picture as well.

Personally, I never understood all the industrial machine theme that ESPN has been using since I could remember. All those animations made me feel like I was watching a Ford pick up truck commercial, not a sport broadcast channel. It might have came off masculine to appeal to their demographic viewers, but it never felt very "sporty" to me.  Recently, I've also noticed that SportCenter has stripped down their news feed and ticker to be a much flatter design too. This is definitely a step in the right direction. However...

I'm excited to use the new ESPN.com but what I really care about is to see if they have updated their Fantasy Football UI. The current one is one of the hardest products I use on the internet and I'm pretty tech savvy. There's too many navigation options (multiple tabs and drop downs), type styles are all over the place and there's too many third party widgets. A simple task like adding/dropping a player shouldn't involve so many steps. The user experience could be so much better so I hope there's some big updates there. 

Made in New York

Tim McCarthy

The most popular sports drink, Gatorade, says goodbye to Jeter with this black and white spot set to Frank Sinatra's "My Way".  The Nike Jordan Brand spot was pretty bad ass, but this one is a real tear jerker and makes us realize that it really is coming to an end. Hats of to TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles for this beauty. 

The little logo at the end with the pinstripes was a nice touch too.

Jeter has always been one of the classiest athletes and playing in New York has also made him a huge icon to the city. This was another tasteful way to pay respect to someone who has brought so much to the team, city and baseball for the past two decades. I grew up during the Jordan era, but I think I was too young too appreciate his demi-god status. In my opinion, Jeter is the only other athlete to ever reach that status. It will be tough to see him walk away. And that's coming from a Red Sox fan.

Farewell Captain

Tim McCarthy

The farewell season of Captain Jeter is coming to end and The New Yorker paid tribute to the baseball legend with this gorgeous cover by Mark Ulriksen

Below are some past baseball themed covers that Mark did for The New Yorker. 

In and Out of This World

Tim McCarthy

This past July, there were 19 players competing for 12 spots on it's World Cup team. Some of the big names back out, one suffered a serious injury and then others were just cut. ESPN put together a nice little web page to show which players were in and out. The best part is that they commisioned Made by Radio to do some fun animated illustrations of the players. 

Animated Logo

IN: Stephen Curry

IN: James Harden

OUT: Damian Lillard

OUT: Paul George

IN: Anthony Davis

NBA Stories

Tim McCarthy

Jung Heo is a designer from Ohio who grew up watching, imitating and admiring the NBA in the 90's. Lately, he's been working on some NBA pieces which he says were inspired by the content he saw on HEYSPORT. 

I'm just a fan of art and sports and this site is just a by product of those passions. This blog has become a fun way to share great work with others fans but it's awesome to hear that it's inspiring others to produce amazing work. 

The Sandlot

Tim McCarthy

One of my favorite movies to this day is The Sandlot. A classic film about a new kid, Scotty Smalls, who moves to a new town and just wants to learn baseball and make friends that summer. The towns best baseball player, Benny "The Jet" Rodriquez, ends up takes him under his wing to teach him everything about the game. Even gives him a hat! It's all good until Small gets them into the biggest pickle of the summer...  

A while back, I was thrilled to hear that Porchlight Coffee & Records in Seattle hosted a collection of artwork inspired by the movie. Two of my favorite pieces came from the owner Zach Bolotin. One is a drawing of the coveted baseball signed by Babe Ruth and the other is an illustration of all the hats that the kids wear in the movie. The hat one is available for sale here

Tom Branton

Tim McCarthy

You can't get more old school than guys playing golf in knickers. I love these water color paintings of famous golfers by Tom Branton

A King's Castle

Tim McCarthy

Why do high profile athletes have such horrible websites? 

Tiger Woods' personal website looks dated, Wayne Gretzy's is just capturing email addresses and Michael Jordan's is under construction. (It even has one of those icons of a guy doing construction!) These guys are sport legends and worth BIG BUCKS, but they can't get a decent website? I think it's crazy. I know it's not something people would directly check every day but it's the first thing that comes up when you Google their name. I'm sure there's enough traffic to justify investing a decent amount into a quality site. 

When LeBron made his second decision, I went directly to his website only to be unimpressed by the art direction. This is the biggest name in sports right now and his site looks like a school project. The gradient clip art buildings are hideous, the type is weak and the cut-out images him are sloppy. 

This morning I was happy to see that a designer by the name of Vivek Venkatraman took a stab at redesigning LBJ's website himself. It's not perfect, but it's a billion times better. If you're going to nickname yourself a King, then you better have a nice castle to back it up. 

Give The People What They Want

Tim McCarthy

Listening to music at work can sometimes get a bit redundant. To switch it up, I like to throw on a podcast to get my creative juices going. My favorite one these days is the Jalen & Jacoby podcast on the Grantland Network. ESPN's Jalen Rose and David Jacoby give the people what they want, breaking down the latest in sports and pop culture as only they can.

I love they way Jalen carries himself throughout the podcast. As a former NBA player, he gives full insight of what it's like to be a big name athlete while also sharing some stories from his flamboyant past. Regardless of the topic, his perspective is always honest and entertaining. Jacoby is a great counterpart by the way he steers the show and asks questions that most fans are curious about...essentially, giving the people what they want.

At the beginning of every episode, Jalen sings the chorus to the famous O'Jay's tune "Give The People What They Want". (During the show, he usually sings another chorus of a 70s hit or spits a few rap lyrics whenever he deems necessary.) Not sure if the original song has a political spin on it, but for some reason, when Jalen says it, I always think of it as a campaign message for a politician. 

Inspired by political campaign art, I put together some hand-drawn type to thank the guys for giving listeners what they want. 

For the record, I would totally vote for Jalen Rose in any political election. 

If you're a fan of the show, stay tuned for my next ones about "Champagning  & Campaigning", "Keep Getting Dem Checks" and "Pop The Trunk". 

Oxford Pennant

Tim McCarthy

There's nothing more I love than classic, simple, old-school, vintage sports memorabilia and Oxford Pennant is just that. They design and manufacturer vintage wool & cotton pennants that are inspired by American sports traditions. It is run by Dave Horesh & Brett Mikoll in Buffalo, NY. Here's some of my favorites but there's bunch more that can be purchased here

One detail I also enjoy are the sketches on the product page. Personally, I think it's always nice to see where a design starts. 

Harrison Freeman

Tim McCarthy

Harrison Freeman is a Portland based illustrator and designer. I really dig his gritty style and use of mixed weathers materials. 

Nolan Ryan vs Robin Ventura

I'm a big fan of his Baseballbrawl series that appear be done on old book paper. 

Ward vs Gatti

His series of baseball players on Post-Its is pretty sweet too. 

The Equalizers

Tim McCarthy

Illustrator Filip Peraić is at it again with his unique portraits. Last time it was James Harden. This time it's Brazilian Football Legends for GOOD inc. The concept of each piece are based on stories of humanitarian activities.

Midfielder: Afonsinho

Afonsinho’s wild, flowing beard was dubbed a sign of dangerous nonconformity by authorities—there were even attempts to censor photos of him so that people wouldn’t see his hair and be inspired to rebel. The 66-year-old’s outspoken criticism of Brazil during the lead up to this year’s World Cup shows that his righteous indignation has hardly waned.
— peraic.com

Defender: Marinho Peres