Not only is Full Sail University known for helping to fuel the creative economy, but also for curating high-caliber branding and design with the help of its inhouse creative team – Platinum Creative. We sat down with Craig Daily, Vice President and Creative Director of Platinum Creative, to chat through one of the University’s best known experiences – the annual Hall of Fame week. During our discussion, Craig discloses what he and his team do to rebrand a large-scale annual event, and how others can do the same. As a Full Sail University graduate, and now one of the institution’s senior leaders, Daily has been able to experience Full Sail from several unique perspectives.
GDUSA: What is the Full Sail University Hall of Fame?
Craig Daily: I feel fortunate to have been a part of the Full Sail University Hall of Fame since its inception. When we launched the first Hall of Fame in 2009, Full Sail, as a university, wanted to acknowledge the major contributions our outstanding alumni were making in their respective industries. However, as time progressed, Hall of Fame evolved into something much greater – in scale, scope, and impact – than any of us could have ever imagined. It’s a week-long series of events ranging from live concerts, celebrity speakers, hands-on workshops, and creative experiences, to the latest technology demos, industry leading panels, career fairs, and networking events. Hall of Fame essentially became our university’s homecoming week, where we celebrate the successes of our alumni, and honor the career aspirations of our students by being a pipeline for them to further connect with employers, industry experts, and successful alumni who were once in their shoes.
Much like popular award shows such as the Oscars and GRAMMYs that feature iconic branding annually, in addition to introducing new thematic elements each year, our Hall of Fame week features a huge ceremony honoring that year’s class of inductees. Therefore, from a creative standpoint, it’s important to us to build branding around our Hall of Fame that allows us to continually evolve and reimagine each version’s identity.
GDUSA: Walk us through how you and your team bring Hall of Fame to life each year?
Craig Daily: The Full Sail University Hall of Fame that was visualized over a decade ago is not the Hall of Fame we have today. What we have today is grander in scale and magnitude. Originally, we didn’t design Hall of Fame around a theme. Instead, we would design around a graphic identity. It wasn’t until several years in that we began designing around thematic elements.
To bring this event to life from design concept, to completion, through to event execution, we start by deciding on a concept that resonates with our community and celebrates the inspiration found within the latest class of inductees. From there, my team and I like to create a storyboard wall to make it easy for all members of our team to visualize how their specific project tasks and asset creations tie into the overall concept created for Hall of Fame that year. The concept and storyboarding wall help us create a unique and cohesive thread woven throughout every asset we create, including graphics, physical signage, video production pieces, live show aspects, and more.
GDUSA: You rebrand each year – what goes into rebranding such a large-scale event?
Craig Daily: The success of our Hall of Fame rebranding would not be possible without the talented individuals within our creative department. I oversee an inhouse creative team of over 40+ creatives who collaborate to make Hall of Fame week. And then departments from all over Full Sail contribute to planning and execution, from social coverage to education support of our panels and workshops, to career development hosting our graduates and creating connections with students.
Since we are inhouse, planning for the next iteration of the event starts as soon as the last Hall of Fame ends. We have a committee within the creative department that meets regularly to discuss the thematic concept for the following year around the number. For example, during Hall of Fame 7, we did a 70’s theme connecting to the year Full Sail was established in 1979. We try to keep the themes broad, so those who are attending Hall of Fame have the liberty to not only creatively interpret it but also personally connect to it.
Typically, the physical work for Hall of Fame week begins about six months in advance of the next event. At the 6-month mark, we distribute and discuss the creative brief to our internal team members and the design work begins. At the 3-month mark, we get serious about creating the deliverables – digital and physical signage, live event imagery, production elements, and so much more.
Another cool thing is getting our students involved. When the Hall of Fame planning committee briefs our department, we also brief current students at various phases of their educational journey simultaneously. By collaborating with educators on this initiative, we are giving students the hands-on project-based experience Full Sail is known for, and great portfolio pieces to show future employers. Students take the information provided to them during the brief to create their own Hall of Fame week branding. These students are taught how to do what we do in the creative department at Full Sail. They turn design concepts into finished products and create experiences.
GDUSA: What is your favorite aspect of designing Hall of Fame each year?
Craig Daily: Back in the 90’s, I graduated from Full Sail’s first Digital Media degree program. Serving in my current position as VP and Creative Director of Platinum Creative has given me the opportunity to create designs reflective of our ever-evolving Full Sail culture that is always centered around supporting our students’ dreams, innovation, and continued learning. Having been at Full Sail for over two decades and overseeing the facilitation of Hall of Fame’s design for 12 years now, I have found that the most rewarding part of it all is being able to experience the hard work that my team and I put in each year to bring Hall of Fame Week’s design to life. We can walk around campus and see our work enhancing the student experience. There is honestly nothing more exciting professionally than seeing the fruits of your labor inspiring the next generation and being enjoyed by the masses.
Q: What tips do you give someone who aspires to brand/rebrand an event?
Craig Daily: My biggest tip is to get the fundamentals of design set first. Determine a concept, socialize it with your team, and make sure that it’s broad and meaningful enough to represent the event. Once the concept has been finalized, determine what graphic asset materials need to be created to bring it to life. Use what you know about the concept to develop an inspiration wall to give everyone a feeling for what is being looked for visually for each asset.
Another tip for newer designers. For those looking to have their work selected by a group of individuals deciding on logo designs, it is best to do several vastly different designs, rather than presenting variations of one logo. Instead of becoming married to one idea prematurely, be open to broadening your perspective. If you present various options that are vastly different interpretations of the same concept, there is a greater chance of it being selected.
Learn more about Full Sail’s 12th Annual Hall of Fame Week, scheduled for March 6-11.