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Designing across merch, social media, and animation…without sitting down!

While at Penn State, I spent three years serving as Communications officer (and one as Vice President!) of FOTO, a student-run philanthropic organization raising money for Penn State THON in the fight against pediatric cancer. Year-round fundraising efforts culminate in a 46-hour, no sleeping, no sitting dance marathon every February, with each organization’s members encouraged to come, go, and mostly stay in the stands of Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center, cheering on their officially designated Dancers down on the main floor who commit to the entire 46, For The Kids™️. I’ve written on here before about the video work I regularly handled for FOTO, but as THON 2020 approached I, once again had several design tasks at hand:

  • Design a T-shirt for the whole org to rock during the “Final Four” of those 46 hours, incorporating the names of our 7 official dancers (including yours truly that year!) and our three incredible THON Children, Megan, Logan, and Matty
  • Create social media branding for the week leading up to, and weekend of, THON 2020, to drive members friends and families to our online donation portal
  • Develop a sticker (for laptops, water bottles, bumpers, etc) to include in FOTO’s THON 2020 merch bag

I decided to knock all of this out at once with a unified design effort. Here’s a quick rundown!

Providing instructions to each of our THON Families via our Family Relations officers, I was able to virtually collect the autographs of not only our THON Children, but their siblings, who are just as much a part of the FOTO Family! Those of our three THON Children, plus Tommy Fountaine (the brother of Adam, FOTO’s co-founder, whose saint of a mother appears in the $1M Raised video), enabled this design for the front of the Final Four shirt:

Get it? Because FINAL FOUR?

I physically went around State College, hunted down the autographs of all our 2020 Dancers, and combined those with all of our kids’ to generate the back:

Kids in yellow, dancers in blue.

Previously, I had designed circular “patches” to commemorate two important years for FOTO: our tenth THON year (my sophomore year, first as an officer), and the year we raised our millionth dollar against pediatric cancer (my junior year):

Each of these made for both fantastic stickers for our members, and great social media profiles for our @fotoisfamily accounts, both of which were a need going into THON 2020. The bracket/autograph branding lent itself well:

Our social media profile for the “final push” week leading up to THON 2020.

The profile for THON itself, as well as the sticker we produced.

Having fun with the tilted angle across past designs, for a social media header.

The bracket element also worked perfectly as a Facebook “Profile Frame” that spread socially like wildfire through our members, families, parents, etc that week and drove donations:

Me and the HOMIE Matty (who’s now approaching two years off treatment!)

But that’s not all! Well after recovering from dancing for 46 straight hours with 6 of my best friends for life (yes, we all survived!), I imported the design into After Effects, broke it apart, and developed an animated intro for our continued use at the start of videos:

If you’ve got design needs that would elevate at the intersection of merch, social, and animation, I’m your guy! Let’s talk.

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