The Making of a Masterpiece

How Miami landed some of the coolest tickets in the country.

University of Miami Season Ticket Package (Image via Kyle Stopperan)

2,100 miles away from Coral Gables, Florida, home of the University of Miami, sits Fort Collins, Colorado.

The site of Colorado State University and a plethora of craft breweries, Fort Collins also happens to sport one of the most talented graphic designers in the country.

Kyle Stopperan.

After stops in industries ranging from hotel amenity package design to marketing for a regional health system and even a two year stint at CSU, Stopperan, a 16-year graphic design veteran, has been cooking up some of the best graphics in the country for Miami for the past two years.

A CSU graduate, Stopperan’s favorite part about graphic design is the ability to creatively build his thoughts and express them visually, something he got to showcase with Miami’s tickets.

When it came to the tickets, he took inspiration straight from the Magic City.

“A lot of my inspiration came from all the art deco architecture on Ocean Drive in South Beach,” said Stopperan explaining the essence behind his design. “The color scheme was inspired by the sun life of south Florida.”

To an outsider, this project may seem like something that would take months, but according to him it wasn’t as laborious as you might think.

“I think the ticket design took a couple of weeks to come to a final look, but that was in between other jobs and approval time.”

University of Miami Season Ticket Package (Image via Kyle Stopperan)

Most proud of the way every aspect of the design is cohesive, Stopperan made sure that Hurricane fans would have something worthy of the investment they make every year.

“I would say the way everything flows together as one piece; from envelope throughout all 7 game tickets,” said Stopperan. “Even though each piece can be presented as one, it all fits together.”

“Kyle is irreplaceable. I think he’s one of — if not the best — graphic designer in college athletics. His skillset is so versatile. Whether it’s motion graphics, 360-degree graphics, recruiting for Olympic sports, the branding around campus and our facilities or the several other projects he has completed, he has done an amazing job. Kyle continues to uphold the strong brand we’ve created here at Miami all while taking constructive criticism and managing the workload of the entire external department.” — Tim Brogdon, Director, Digital Strategy at the University of Miami

Although it took him four rounds of drafts to come up with the final design, Stopperan relies on an approach that he has used continually throughout his career.

“Honestly, I’ve never really had a set process my entire design life. I just manipulate elements until something pops out at me. Sometimes it takes longer than expected but the design eventually works itself out.”

With input across the board from the rest of the digital team at Miami, Stopperan was given creative freedom to own the project with only one stipulation: he couldn’t use photos of players.

By creating custom illustrations drawn to look like players, Stopperan was able to incorporate an element that was not only on brand, but also interesting for those still receiving their hard tickets in the mail.

“I don’t think there was much that was left on the drawing board in the end,” said Stopperan. “I was evolving a current brand that we’ve been doing for the past couple years and used pretty much all the elements I could from that, but wanted to give it an art deco twist.”

Adept at any kind of design across all platforms, Stopperan isn’t worried about job security. However, he does foresee a future fan experience impacted by the switch to mobile tickets.

“I think you lose part of the experience of being a fan, especially the die hards, when you go to all digital tickets. I feel teams owe it to their loyal fan base to provide something to them that’s commemorative.”

Want to see more of Kyle’s work? Check out his gallery here:

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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