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More Than Kicking Balls
More Than Kicking Balls

There comes a time in every designer’s life when an opportunity arises that will change the world forever; friends, family, even competitors look to you with wide eyes, nodding approvingly. “You got this,” their expressions say. And your next move will determine the fate of life as we know it.

So, this isn’t about that. This is about the second most critical moment in every designer’s career: when the agency kickball team needs a uniform designed.

I believe the Aztecs started kickball as a way to weed out the weak members of their tribe. Balls were made out of stone then, so the game was a bit more brutal, and it lasted for two weeks. Teams wore clay masks shaped like demons to scare away opponents and colorful “shirts” they painted on their bodies, depicting gods crowning the winners. Yeah. Let’s go with that.

You see, kickball isn’t just about ink on cotton. It’s about how you make your opponents feel. And while we’re not looking to send our opponents to the streets screaming for their lives, we are looking to make an impact.

Do their knees quiver in terror when you walk onto the field? Do they chuckle and underestimate hidden strengths? (Think twice before you laugh at the team with “Ball Busters” on their shirts. You. Never. Know.) Are they inspired and more likely to leave the field as comrades than combatants?

It’s important. Your shirt isn’t just a shirt; it represents the spirit of your team. And how good you are at making kickBALL jokes.

A brand, just like a kickball shirt, says as much through a gut reaction as it does with words or images. Just look at the evolution of NFL logos over time. The Broncos once had a cartoon man riding a horse — not exactly the same sense of strength and speed evoked by their current mark. Likewise, the Seattle Seahawks have adjusted their color palette to suggest electrifying potential.

It was with the gravity of this work in mind, we set out to find a graphic treatment for the team that would carry a piece of our essence onto the field. We couldn’t be cocky after last year’s complete and utter failure to win a single game. So we needed something softer, yet strong. Something people would look at and immediately sense our grit. Something representative of our fearlessness.

Something, like a cat.

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And who better than our fallen coworker, Wheelie. A relentless beast of an animal, always prepared to show his teeth, bear his claws, and answer the call for battle. Whether it was with the broom in the basement, the blue pen that had gotten on his bad side, or one of us, Wheelie showed unbreakable bravery in the face of his adversaries.

We’re proud to wear his face as we walk onto the kickball field, our competitiveness fueled by his unwavering determination. And we know he’s looking down at us … from Jenn’s apartment, where he lives now.

We’re pouncin’ for you, Wheelie.

Shhh! Don’t tell them we said this, but our competitors have some cool gear, too.

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