Probably the coolest memorabilia in this catalog was on the back cover. An authentic game-used floor section from the United Center. This “little” piece of memorabilia was the area of the floor where the Bulls logo was painted on. The total size was 8 feet by 8 feet and the price tag was a mere $74,999.99. And yes if you’re wondering, it sold. Before it shipped out for Jordan to sign, we were able to see and play on the actual floor (shhhhh!- that’s grounds for termination). Back to the catalog. I designed the concept and page layout of the catalog but with my designers, Vince Chang and Ben Arboleda, it was a team effort.
With all the items in the catalog at a high price point, our product managers wanted a product that was more affordable. Having a profit-sharing deal with more of the United Center floor, I was tasked to come up with a product using a much smaller game-used piece (1″ x 2″) combined with a print or a card that met a $25 price point. My idea was to create a custom box that housed the floor piece and showcased a trading card all in one. In pitching this idea, it meant I had to not just build and engineer a new die for this packaging concept but also design a commemorative trading card. When does this catalog need to ship again?
Well, our normal timeframe that we were given to complete a typical catalog was usually around 16 weeks. We made our 12 week deadline with some creative solutions… and some practical ones too. First, we definitely had to be sure that all departments were hitting there milestones. Being a witness to other art directors and their speed bumps when it came to producing catalogs, I knew we all had to address any potential delays. This being my first catalog project in years (and with a different catalog team) in our first meeting I wanted to know who was responsible for what, what they needed to maintain the schedule and finally, what were the issues when they didn’t meet their deadlines. We played nice and we all agreed to the schedule, no excuses. From getting finalized copy on time to working with the leagues and Jordan’s group for speedy approvals to giving our production staff time to build out and hit that hard date, I wanted to be sure we started off on the right foot. Instead of having new art and supports hen designing the catalog (that would need additional approvals from Jordan’s team), my idea was to use the existing images from approved product. So every image in the catalog was from a pre-approved memorabilia piece which greatly helped reduce approval times. Another big issue from the past was the forever changing product sheet. What goes in, what gets taken out, what’s added at the eleventh hour and whatever else gets shoved in as an after thought. We agreed to put a stop to that. Copy and pricing was on time and finalized (well, for this article that’s what I’m sticking with) and we worked closely with our production guys (who are the saviors of every art department) well before our handoff was due. In fact, we were about a week early… now that’s amazing! A clear goal, planning, communication, being proactive with potential issues and making sure everyone does their tasks on time really works. Who knew? By the way, I recently did a check on the $25 product above. And just the trading card alone (graded: Gem Mint 10) is going for $350! If you want to bid, click here.
One of my favorite designs in the catalog is Vince’s “Chronology” (on page 5 of the catalog). The piece has Jordan from his rookie year all the way up to his last championship season. It took Vince a lot of hours to search through thousands of images to build his creation. Above is my Triptych design (the fruits of his labor) using the same images. These three canvases are each 16″ x 24″ with the middle one having the all important sig. Upper Deck only made 50 of these, wish I had one.