To support ABC’s coverage of the NFL Draft 2020, which was virtual this year due to the pandemic lockdown, Seattle-based agency The New Blank created a branding package that focused on potential draftees’ personal stories.
The New Blank started work on the package as a glitzy, action-packed event that was going to be broadcast live from Las Vegas, but obviously that all changed when stay-at-home orders kicked in across the country.
“Originally, this was concepted as a live event in Vegas, and we had just presented a first round of design that was far more flashy and Vegas-centric when the world shifted,” said The New Blank Executive Creative Director Sevrin Daniels in an email. “Obviously, the glitz and glam of the Vegas strip was not going to work with a bunch of guys in their homes over Zoom. We shifted directions and redesigned the package from the ground up with the virtual draft in mind.”
But even though the draft, like almost everything else, had to move indoors, both ABC and The New Draft still wanted to pursue a brand package that would stand out.
“This was ABC’s second time around with the NFL Draft and we were ready to push the envelope for our audience. We were tasked with creating emotionally driven storytelling while focusing on the players’ personal journeys,” said ABC Art Director Christopher R. Abbey. “The New Blank came ready for the task providing us with many design options that relayed a balance of excitement around the sport without feeling hyper-masculine. This helped us to connect with a broader audience in a dynamic way.”
The fact that the draft had to change direction so dramatically actually served as sort of inspiration for The New Blank.
“Sport has never felt as vital as it does right now. We knew the turnout for this year’s draft was going to draw fans at an unprecedented level and wanted to create something that felt true to the sport, considering the unique time we are in, and still fit perfectly with ABC,” said Daniels. “We are so proud of the package Eric (Edwards) and the team put together. Despite having to choose from a number of excellent options, we were in complete agreement with ABC on which direction to take.”
Working closely with the team at ABC, The New Blank developed an approach with a tactile feel. The package used analog textures, such as wrinkled wheat paste paper, and crafted the motion graphics in bold crimson and premium gold. The agency also used large, outlined typography that popped via the motion graphics. The result was an approachable, streamlined and modern aesthetic that felt appropriate during the first-ever virtual draft.
The New Blank customized the package for ABC’s marketing and promotions team, with copy, images, and footage all set up to accommodate the retention of styles and treatment while streamlining workflow.
ABC’s coverage of the 2020 NFL Virtual Draft aired in primetime over three nights: Thursday, April 23, Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25.
Executive Director, Branding & Design: Lucas Aragon
Art Director: Christopher R. Abbey
Design Producer: Karla Senz
Animation/Design Studio: The New Blank
Creative Director: Eric Edwards
Designed by: Eric Edwards, Vince Diga, Lindsay Daniels, Roberto Brambilia, Ann Kruetzkamp
Animation team: Roberto Brambilia, James Webber
EP/Producer: Andrew Kobliska
Executive Creative Director: Sevrin Daniels