Creating Content for “May the 4th” for UT Dallas Esports

Posted by Eric Aaberg May 6, 2021 in Marketing

In the case you are also another fellow Social Media Manager who has completely lost track of what day it was since March 2020… you can probably relate to waking up on May 4th and realizing that it was “Star Wars Day“. Did we have something planned as an organized Social Media Team would have?! Absolutely not, it was something that we were busy with over for UT Dallas Esports winning title after title (let’s just say this was definitely our busiest semester, and being online obviously didn’t help).

The Ideology & Psychology

To start, I wanted to create a poster/flyer for Star Wars Day using some of our new headshots + body shots from our previous media day for Esports. I pick a “back to back” picture of myself and Hector Mavrakis, our Social Media Manager for the department.

(Left) Hector Mavrakis, Student Social Media Manager for Esports and (Right) Eric Aaberg, Student Director of Esports. Photo courtesy of Olivia Johnson, Student Head of Events for Esports.

Great, one of many funny shots that we got during our media day. I love the slick design & look of the jerseys, so now I’m going to go with either A) turning Hector and I into Jedi or B) turning us into Stormtroopers (Clone Troopers would work just as well too, especially if I could find an orange striped helmet online).

I go ahead and search for “Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmet” and find one that looks most like a good fit + in a realistic resolution (nope, a 200×200 picture probably would not match this 6k image or 4k~ rendered flyer). In addition, I’ll throw in a lightsaber in my hands since I have my hands together – it was either that or photoshopping a Stormtrooper blaster in my hand, but my photoshopping skills are definitely not to par (yet).

Great – was able to use Photoshop’s quick-action background remove to remove the background. Keep in mind, it’s already 11:00 AM on May 4th so I don’t have time to make this perfect, I am against the clock. At this point, I know our department was able to pull an image of our mascot, Temoc, in a Stormtrooper suit as I recall through our image vault. Awesome, this is starting to all come together (a bit) as we’re going to have this poster of Stormtroopers.  So, I decide to put Stormtrooper helmets on Hector and I.

I take the Stormtrooper helmets and color-correct them to look not “obviously” photoshopped on. In addition, I play with the distort, perspective, and skew transformation tools to give them more of a proper 3D effect.

Next, I’m going to take these images from Photoshop and open up my handy-dandy Canva. I load the preset “Poster” canvas size of 18x24in – perfect.

Then, I create a white border and slap on an outlined “Star Wars” logo as well a Star Wars fanart background from the internet. In addition, I add the text “May the 4th be with you” under the logo. Here’s what the design is looking like so far:

Looks honestly not the best – so I search around on the internet for some inspiration. The blue and orange really clash against each other instead of complimenting the entire piece, as well as it just looking “obviously photoshopped” – which isn’t something I wanted to throw out on our socials without genuinely being proud of it.

Here’s essentially what my google search for a good inspiration looked like. From the point of writing this article to yesterday, I literally cannot find the specific poster I was looking at – however, this The Empire Strikes Back poster is definitely the feel of what I was wanting to go for: something simplistic but gives you a classic feeling of the Star Wars franchise. Here’s what we’re looking at:

What I changed:

  1. First of all, the original background just didn’t blend too well so I went ahead and spice up the background to something more of that “classic” Star Wars hyperspace vibe.
  2. So I change up the design a bit – keep the white border but make it more of a “cream” color instead of pure white.
  3. I was afraid of any DMCA-related issues / using the copyrighted franchise logo, so I found commercial-friendly fonts to make “UT Dallas Esports” – which allows me to actually tie this to our program directly/use our program name (which was a barrier I was running into including in the first variation).
  4. I use the “SITH PROPHECY” font from starwarsfont.com to write “UT Dallas Esports” at the top and on the bottom.

Right now, this is looking great so far. Definitely loving where we’re going with this. Upon passing it along to our Esports Creative Student Staff, I was told the top left spacing was empty and unbalanced, so I add one of our Rocket League players, Dalton Cadieu. I was able to find this image of him which would fit perfectly as he’s having his back towards the right, so would look properly on the left side of the poster.

Dalton Cadieu, Rocket League Student-Athlete for Esports

Now, repeat the process of removing the background and adding in that Stormtrooper helmet. In addition, wasn’t a huge fan of the Sith Prophecy wording repeating on the top and bottom of the poster, so I change the bottom poster to say “Temoc is a Sith” to throw in a fun easter egg. Here’s where we’re looking at and the final product:

Final product | “UT Dallas Esports x #MayThe4th Team Poster”

The Final Products

In addition to the finished poster, I went ahead and uploaded a high-resolution PDF file for students/fans to be able to download as I realized our rendered poster was in very high resolution. Would anyone download it? Maybe, and if even just 1 person printed it out and hung a huge poster of our team in their room – then I would count that as a success. I even think I’m going to print this out and hang it in our practice esports room just to keep a collection of “seasonal promotional projects” on a wall. I also went ahead and created a Discord Banner to update in our Discord Server, Twitter Banner, Instagram Graphic, and Facebook Banner.

Facebook Banner

Discord Banner

Twitter Banner

 

The Takeaway

My takeaway? I absolutely loved taking a “break” from our normally branded content to work on something fun like this. Ideally, I always love and want to pursue cool projects such as this and, hopefully in the fall semester, can start up some cool in-person sponsor video segments featuring our athletes. Overall happy with what we were able to put together, and within 1.5 hours – graphic design, announcement copy, and socials combined. 🙂