The “perfect opportunity” bled into intricate execution as the Chicago White Sox impress premium season ticket holders with one of the most art-driven, creative season ticket packages ever seen in Major League Baseball.
“Every season we try to make our printed season tickets something beautiful and special that the fans will want to keep,” Gareth Breunlin, Chicago’s director of advertising and design services, tells HOW. “I was looking through years of White Sox history and had the idea of using old programs, tickets and scorecards on our 2017 ticket stock. I wanted to showcase the amazing artwork from the different eras in White Sox history. Our ticket stock was the perfect opportunity.”
Breunlin turned to well-known sports designer Todd Radom to turn his idea into 81 unique ticket designs, one piece of exclusive artwork for each home game during the 2017 season.
To get the project started, the two waded through over a century of White Sox history, from programs, scorecards, pennants, ticket stubs and photos. Anything. Then the pair added in players with retired numbers, hall of famers and fan favorites, giving Radom a mix of 81 designs that roughly include an equal representation of reproductions of old programs and scorecards and player photography and memorabilia. Of course, Radom gave each a singular “look and feel.”
Once Breunlin and Radom settled on the 81 subjects, Radom took over on the design side, fitting each visual into the era of the subject using distinct typefaces and colors. “If you look at the Billy Pierce card it has a ‘50s feel and the Frank Thomas card has a ‘90s feel,” Breunlin says. “The 1917 World Series ticket looks as if it was designed 100 years ago, but it’s a new design by Todd paying tribute to designs of the early 1900s.
“Todd took my vision for these tickets to the next level with his creativity.”
Radom tells HOW he approached each of the 81 projects as a “little mini time capsule that depicted a moment in time.” But at the same time, he was cognizant that all 81 needed to come together in a way that makes sense. And still has function.
At the end of the day, each piece of art remains a full-fledged ticket. “I felt like the seat locations, the guts, needed to be critically evident and in a specific place,” he says. So Radom placed the core of each ticket in the same location on each design, with the piece of art contained in the same shape and place on every ticket, basically employing a rigid grid system.
With the White Sox a monochromatic black and silver palette, the neutral black helped define the ticket background. Early on in the project Radom says he played too heavily with grays and muted colors until Breunlin pushed him to vary the color. “We thought about sequence at a certain point,” Radom says. “If you have one ticket spare in terms of color, put something with a lot of color next to it. All of these considerations evolved with it.”
Since Radom was effectively dealing with 81 different pieces of art, it was an opportunity to experiment with some, whether employing patterns—1980s Memphis-style zigzags to deco of the ‘20s—or typography.
With the idea birthed in October, Radom hunkered down for a solid month, wrapping the bulk of the work by Christmas. He approached the job by tackling low-hanging fruit early and knocking out some early sketching. Radom admitted it proved a necessity to dive in digitally on each project as soon as possible due to time constraints.
The tickets went out to season ticket holders in premium clubs and suites via a special decorative black and silver box, but Breunlin says all fans can experience the tickets as the White Sox will make the corresponding artwork available for a PDF download online after each game. Fans will also see the art placed around the ballpark, as part of the club’s 2017 Yearbook and on social platforms throughout the season. Fans can take home prints of the work as a way to support the White Sox Charities. We may even see the artwork on free shirt giveaways on Thursdays during the season.
“Anything that has to do with our team history is always well received,” says Breunlin. “Since not everyone purchased these tickets we are finding innovative ways to give fans the opportunity to either download or purchase the artwork this season.”
As a fan of tickets, Radom loves the tactile experience this project gives fans. “Ticket stubs are memories and memories are currency,” he says. “I look at a particular ticket and I think of who I was with at that game. It is a moment in time.”
Now White Sox fans have high-level art to match with a memory.