St. George graphic designer Addison Foote started reimagining NBA team logos as a fun way to combine his passions for art and basketball.
But what started out as an amusing side project resulted in an email from the NBA, offering him a freelance contract just four days after his designs were first posted.
“I was pretty shocked by it,” Foote said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Foote first posted his designs on his Behance online portfolio, which was quickly picked up by various sports blogs. Soon Reddit NBA featured the designs, becoming the No. 1 post for a day and causing Adobe to get involved by tweeting about it. Foote’s logo designs had gone viral.
“It was awesome to have somebody that statured (like Adobe) recognize your work,” Foote said. “It helped validate myself. It made me more confident in my design.”
Family members suggested the possibility of the NBA reaching out to him after the designs became so popular, but Addison dismissed it as a cool but unlikely notion.
But the NBA was impressed with Foote’s designs and promptly offered him a job designing graphics for them on an as-needed basis, mostly involving images for on social media.
“I was really shocked,” said Foote’s wife, Katie. “It didn’t really set in until a couple days later, even until I heard other people’s reactions.”
Foote grew up in St. George and graduated from Dixie State University in computer information technologies with an emphasis in visual technology. He now works for the musical group The Piano Guys designing their website, album artwork and posters. But Foote also dabbles in freelance work and does his own projects on the side. He has always been drawn to art and logos.
“Visuals are a way to tell a story, to represent something,” he said.
Foote recently decided to redesign the Utah Jazz’ logo, combining aspects of past Jazz designs. His version of the logo including a silhouette of mountain peaks at the top of the musical note’s circle. He also used negative space at the bottom of the letter “A” to form the shape of Utah.
“I like what he did with the Jazz,” BYU graphic design associate professor Brent Barson said of Foote’s work. “That (logo) is one of the more effective ones, because it’s one of the simpler ones.”
Foote was so pleased with his Utah Jazz design that he redesigned another. Foote redesigned all 30 NBA logos within 30 days, a personal challenge to test what he was capable of doing.
“The ultimate goal behind it was to see if I could do it, and how well could I do,” Foote said.
Some days he finished as many as two or three logos. Other logos took as long as two or three days to complete.
Despite already knowing a lot about the various NBA franchises, Foote began each new logo by researching each team’s name, location, past logos and history.
Foote wrote in his original post that he wanted to design a logo for the L.A. Clippers that better represented their name.
“I took a more nautical approach by mixing the helm of a clipper ship and a basketball. The helm represents direction and control. I made the type wave as if it is sailing on the sea.”
After his research, Foote would sketch ideas on his drawing tablet. He followed the same design process as he worked through each new logo, and each team presenting a mini-challenge. The project helped him refine his design process and make it more efficient.
“I’m able to actually work faster than I did before I started this project,” Foote said. “It’s just helped me become a better designer overall.”
Foote felt overwhelmed about halfway through the 30-day challenge. Some of the first logos took longer than expected, and he was behind schedule. But each completed logo brought him one step closer to the finish line until he eventually accomplish his goal.
“It didn’t feel like a chore to him,” Katie Foote said of her husband. “It was something that he was really passionate about and that’s why he continued to do it.”
Design requests from the NBA will combine two of Foote’s main passions.
“Doing exactly what you want to do, having a passion for it helps drive you. You’ll want to do it,” Foote said.