SBJ/Jan. 12-18, 2015/Events and Attractions

Creating a big-game look for CFP

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The words “2015 National Championship” stretch 600 feet across the north side of AT&T Stadium. Fans filing in for Monday’s Oregon-Ohio State game will not mistake where they are.

“I think you can see it from Oklahoma,” laughed Cameron Smith, one of three co-founders for the design firm Infinite Scale.

Infinite Scale’s branding being put up on the north side of AT&T Stadium
Photo by: INFINITE SCALE
When College Football Playoff promoters promised an event that would rival the Super Bowl, the pressure was on to deliver. The game would take care of itself. But the presentation had to deliver the biggest-event-in-history feel.

For that, the CFP turned to Infinite Scale, a Salt Lake City firm that brands and designs everything from the stadium to area hotels, airports, street signs and city signage.

Infinite Scale knows how to create the environment and feel for the biggest events, like the first playoff championship. The firm has worked on Super Bowls, Pac-12 championships, Orange Bowls, Olympics and several other events. But the CFP championship game is as thorough and complete a branding assignment as any Infinite Scale has done, with the firm’s creative touching the fan from the airport to the hotel to the stadium.

“We’re treating the championship game like a completely separate event, something on par with the Super Bowl, in terms of college football being elevated to another level,” said Smith, who first met CFP Chief Operating Officer Michael Kelly at the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, where Kelly oversaw the local committee.

Infinite Scale, which was born out of a partnership between three creative directors — Smith, Molly Mazzolini and Amy Lukas — who worked on the 2002 Winter Olympics, was specifically charged with creating designs for four hotels, streetscapes, the venue at AT&T Stadium, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and other locations around Dallas and Arlington, site of the stadium.

The four hotels include the team hotels for the Ducks and Buckeyes; the Omni, which serves as the CFP headquarters; and the Renaissance, which is the media hotel. The branding at the stadium includes the interior and exterior.

In some ways, the inaugural game represented a blank palette for Infinite Scale’s design team. What they had to start with was the CFP look, which stems from a gold
Infinite Scale’s branding at the Omni (top) and from the locker room tunnel at AT&T Stadium
Photo by: INFINITE SCALE (2)
trophy that rises off of a black base. Pentagram Design in New York created the look.

The logo itself similarly is the outline of a gold football on a black backdrop. It’s a strikingly simple look, almost a less-is-more approach. Keeping with that, Infinite Scale used the gold heavily throughout its designs and branding, with the gold popping off black and white backgrounds.

“You want to make sure everything connects,” Smith said of the design from one site to another.

Infinite Scale also came up with intricate player graphics and unique patterns to highlight the players and teams. Those are mostly on the glass at the four hotels and at different locations through the stadium.

In addition to the giant images outside the stadium, Infinite Scale worked with the game’s broadcaster, ESPN, to strategically position images and logos so they would have the most effect on the network’s shots and let the audience feel the impact of the event.

“We are delighted with the artistic design that Infinite Scale created. We’re football people, not artists, and so we turned to the best,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said.

Without getting too specific on the cost to do all of this, Smith said it was comparable to a Final Four and just shy of what it would cost to design the Super Bowl.

Infinite Scale worked with Los Angeles-based AAA Flag and Banner to produce and install the graphics. Other installers were hired locally. Installation at the stadium began Jan. 1 and was visible during the Cowboys’ playoff game on Jan. 4.

“It’s an extensive, cohesive system that is being revealed to a very large audience — a fan attending or viewers through the broadcast,” Smith said. “That sets a new standard.”

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