Buc

The HBCU Project

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Welcome, all, to my latest concept series...the HBCU Project.

What is this? This project is my latest in my collegiate concept endeavor. However, whereas in the past I produced concepts for fun alone (for the most part), there's a whole lot more behind this latest series of mine. And make no doubts about it--this will DEFINITELY be a series to keep an eye on.

So why the HBCU route? So often we all see concepts done for pro sports teams, and at the collegiate level, we see many concepts done for the major schools out there. With the exception of one time that I can remember (that being a concept Discrimihater made up for Grambling a long time ago), don't nobody show no love to the HBCU's out there. Well...I aim to change that, right here and now. For anyone who pays attention, most HBCU's change uniforms more often than Syracuse University--and what's worse, since Russell Athletic took over a sponsorship deal for many HBCU football programs, you'll find the same problem that's evident in both the Arena Football League and the WNBA: the "templating" of uniforms. As it stands now, entirely too many teams look alike, save for plug-and-play colors. So finally, I said "enough is enough"--and as such, I set out on this here journey of mine to rework the aesthetics of the HBCU football squads. It's about time somebody showed these schools some love!

For those not in the know, HBCU stands for "Historically Black Colleges and Universities". (And, as it happens, at least one of our members, TFoA, happens to be enrolled in one--Morehouse College, in the ATL.) Now let's be real about one thing here: none of these HBCU institutions are what one would consider a "football factory", like a U of Texas or a USC or an Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State, the U of Miami, and the like. There's a reason for that: most if not all HBCU's focus and concentrate more of their energy on the student side of "student-athlete". And again, that goes back to the longstanding goal and mission that just about every HBCU in the nation was founded for: teaching and developing people of color so that they could provide for themselves. Most were developed as "normal institutions" ("normal" meaning teaching standards, or "norms"--said another way, "teaching future teachers") borne of land-grant provisions bestowed by the U.S. Government back during the 19th century. It's also important to understand the difference between a "historically black college and/or university" and a predominantly black college and/or university, that being that HBCU's are defined as such due to having been founded prior to the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling of 1954 that "officially" (I say that for a VERY good reason) outlawed segregation of public institutions.

We'll get to more history lessons as this project unfolds, but for right now...I'll get on with my plans for this project here.

Initially, I'll be working on the D-1 level HBCU programs (many of which are either complete or nearly complete as of this writing), which are split into two conferences: the MEAC, or Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and the SWAC (SouthWestern Athletic Conference). However, I do already have plans to dip into the Division II level and bang out some football concepts for several programs at that level (so yes, Mr. TFoA, if you're reading this, I already got plans and ideas for your Maroon Tigers--don'tchu even worry about that, aiight kinfolk? :D ) Speaking of which, the way I have this set up, for several schools, I've only developed uniform ideas; for some, I did some logo/wordmark modifications, and for others (the ones who DESPERATELY need[ed] it), I'm planning complete overhauls--those will be my most challenging. (This whole PROJECT might be my most challenging yet.) And, several of these HBCU football squads tend to roll out "special uniforms" for special occasions, namely the annual "classic" games, such as the Gulf Coast Classic between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman and the more widely-known Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling State. As such, for several of these schools, I've planned a "special occasion" deal--an alternate set of sorts, if you will.

Also, whereas in the past, I would begin a new thread for each concept post, this go-round, I will keep this project to one continuous thread, with updates posted as they become available in the subtitle to this project thread here.

SO...with all that said and out the way...let's get into this thing here, shall we?

***********************************************************************

CONTINUED NEXT POST...

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Alright man, you totally got my juices flowing here bucco. I'm holding my breath to see some of these. :P Major kudos to you for taking all of this on... I'm sure they'll all look great. I ove reading all your thought process too... really nice to see what's behind all this/these.

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Our first HBCU concept takes us to a little town in Alabama called Normal (how appropriate, right?), where we find Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, or Alabama A&M, for short. A little background on this school:

Alabama A&M began life as the "Colored Normal School at Huntsville", a school to be devoted to the education of black teachers, in 1875. Among the courses taught were carpentry, printing, mattress-making, horticulture, and sewing. (It's important to note that pretty much any A&M school you see was probably founded for the purpose of teaching people how to provide for themselves--this is especially true of HBCUs, particularly due to the period during which most of these schools were founded.) The school's name changed to the State Normal and Industrial School of Huntsville in 1885, and six years later, it was awared with its land-grant status. With that grant came two new programs: agriculture and home economics. (Are you starting to see how the "A&M" designation came about? You'll notice this pattern repeatedly throughout the history of HBCUs.) Five years later, in 1896, the school name changed to The State Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes, after which the school started an art program. The year 1949 saw the school change names again, this time to Alabama A&M College. Fourteen years later, AA&MC was fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and four years after that, the Alabama State Board of Education moved to rechristen the institution as Alabama A&M University. Now here's where things get interesting: in 1986, the school was approved for a Ph. D program in physics. (Bear in mind that there is a NASA facility not too far from Alabama A&M, in Huntsville, so that move did make a lot of sense.) And as it stands now, the school offers four doctorate programs.

Quite impressive, huh?

Okay--let's get to the fun part: the football.

The school's program started in 1910, and two years ago, it won the SWAC championship. And actually, this school has had some pretty good people go through their program. Counted among their alumni are Ruben Studdard (he of American Idol fame), Howard Ballard, former OL for the Buffalo Bills (he was on all four of those Super bowl teams), and Colts DL Robert Mathis (if he's still in Indy). Little known to many, their most famous football alum just also happens to be one of the greatest receivers in Pittsburgh Steelers history...the name John Stallworth ring a bell with anyone? (More on him in a bit.)

As for the look of the team, it has actually remained rather traditional-looking over the years, save for the past two or three years, where the team started looking like this at home (here's a closer look) and like this on the road. Overall...one of the tamer designs in HBCU football...but still a good bit piping crazy.

So let's get into this thing here. First off...let's look at the school's current identity package.

The school's nickname, as previously mentioned, is the Bulldogs. And actually, their current bulldog logo isn't all that bad. But I love their primary logo. It's an interlocking "A" and "U" with a smaller "A" and "M" inside it. To me, it's timeless. The script marks, while "old-fashioned-ish", are still OK in my book. I made them some new block numbers, to go along with the whole "old-school fresh" look I was attempting to for for here. Here they are in pictorial form:

AAMstyleguidelogos.png

(Some of you just realized I've also been working on redoing my own rebranding package, as well.)

As for the uniforms, as mentioned earlier, with this school, I feel that the traditional look is the best way to go, and with their color scheme (maroon and white), it works out rather well. Featured throughout is the double-stripe pattern, and I also went the extra step in adding the dog logo to the sleeves, to keep the jersey from looking too plain (that's also the reason for the San-Diego-style numerals, as well). You'll notice that both the home and away sets include interchangeable pants, both maroon and white. Here they are for you:

AAMstyleguideuniforms1.png

AAMstyleguideuniforms2.png

Currently, Alabama A&M has no alt that I'm aware of...BUT, I decided in my mind to design one for them, based off the look that the school sported while John Stallworth was starring for them. (Here's a look at his throwback jersey.) I've included more of a description in this particular style sheet. I have no idea what their helmets looked like (and I tried my best to find out, but I couldn't find any pictorial reference), so I went with their regular helmets, since they looked like they'd work. the one thing you'll notice--well, besides the radially-arched wordmark (with that goofy space in the middle, even), are the thinner stripes. AND...it's an all-white look, to add more "retro" flavor. Check it out:

AAMstyleguideuniform3.png

And...as you all know, all these style sheet designs are nice and all for displaying a concept design...but one can't really jodge how good a uniform may or may not look until one sees them in action. And for that...I provide THIS for you:

AAMstyleguideaction.png

And that, folks, is my presentation for the Alabama A&M Bulldogs football squad.

Comments? Questions? Any and all feedback is very welcome and greatly appreciated, so talk back to me here and let me know what's up.

~Buc

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Everything is perfect. Great idea for a series, and I can't wait to see more. Maroon and white IMO are the sexiest combo in all of sports if done right, and you done did them right.

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possibly the most professional presentation ive ever seen, A+++

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wow...those action templates are AMAZING

great idea for a series...there are many hbcu's that desperately need your help

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First off, this thread will go down in history as my favorite of all-time on this board. I can't wait to see ALL of 'em, especially the one for The House. Can't freakin wait.

As for the first concept...I really tried to look at this and find something to critique/add, and there's nothing I can really add to it. Pretty much perfect right there.

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bucco...flat-out amazing work, I wouldn't have changed a thing. This series might go down as the best in the history of CCSLC.

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Well you did not disappoint. Every single aspect of this is just unbelievably cool, awesome, incredible, you name it. I freaking LOVE the alt. Hell, all of it. I seriously might have just had a concepts orgasm. I was going to suggest, based on the flat template of the throwback, that the arched wordmark should go higher up but in action it looks great. I just cannot wait to see the rest. Everything is just top-notch.

Wait.... on the action template, the throwback facemask looks white or even gray. But on the 2-D layout you said/showed that you were going to use the normal helmet with the maroon facemask. Is this intentional or am I missing something?

Anyway, just exceptional stuff.

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1. I'm mesmerized by that primary logo.

2. Great design, as always. I can't wait to see further installations on this project.

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Great looking first set. Although, I had to chuckle a bit when I saw it because even though I'm certain I'm mistakenly stereotyping them, whenever I hear the term HBCU, I think "schools that wear maroon".

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Wow. The presentation of this is probably the best I've ever seen on here. While I'm not a huge fan of the bulldog logo, it fits the overall retro feel. Everything's simple, which is perfect for football uniforms, as far as I'm concerned. The action templates simply blow me away. I love that there's finally someone to use a lineman for a template :D . I just can't get over the attention to detail you have with those templates. I don't even want to think of how long they took you to do. Great stuff, as usual, Buc....er, Brandon.

Are you planning on doing all of the HBCU teams? Or, well, those with football programs?

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Wow, that is just some excellent work. Your new presentation is great, as well as the action templates. And as lengthy as the explanations are, they are always well worth the read. This is a great idea for the project and I will be looking forward to all your updates.

Now on the actual concept. There really isn't anything that I don't like about it. I really like the simplicity of the design, yet it doesn't look too plain.

Great work, bucco, I already love this series.

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Wow, very nice. The only problem I have with the set (and it is a very small one) Is the extra outline on the numbers. I am just not personally a fan of the San Diego style numbers when the outline is the same color as the number. I just don't feel it is needed, but it doesn't hurt the concept much either. Other than that, this is beautiful. The templates are amazing, I can't imagine how long they took altogether. Very nice work, and I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

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You are a concept god amongst men.

That is all.

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That is just simply brilliant.

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Thanks to all who's chimed in thus far.

First off...let me get this out there: being that currently there are something like 110 HBCUs currently in existence, I highly doubt that I'll be getting around to doing concepts for all of them. I do know I plan on covering both the MEAC and the SWAC and a certain few other schools. Beyond that, I really don't know how far I'll go with this project.

Good catch about the facemask thing, gbmann. I didn't even catch that one. Imma have to go back and fix that.

As for the temps, let's just say that they've been a long time in the making. A long time. (Matta' fact, I started on both those and this project right around the same time.) Right now I'm not releasing them for public use, but in time, once I get them to where I want them to be (read: as user-friendly as possible), I'll release them upon request. (I do still have my previous version of the WR/DB temp available.)

I'll continue to take any and all C&C...all is appreciated.

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Great work! I love it all.

Where could one get the vector template of the side view helmet in the upper portion of each slide? I've been seeing it around here lately and would love to make some avs for my online league with it.

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