If you watched Sunday Night football last season — or were among the record 114.4 million people glued to Super Bowl XLIX in February — Brendan Prince had a “hand” in your experience.
As a graphic designer at NBC Sports, the 2011 Fredonia graduate saw some of the hand-lettering art work he created for Sunday Night Football broadcasts translated into on-air graphics that were seen throughout the regular season, the playoffs, and ultimately, the 2015 Super Bowl — the most-watched television program ever.
It was quite an accomplishment for Prince, who initially sought a temporary design position at NBC Sports for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but was instead hired as a full-time designer.
After earning his B.F.A. in Visual Arts and New Media, with a concentration in Graphic Design, Prince honed his design/illustration skills as a freelancer before being selected as an associate art director with Partners + Napier, a Rochester, N.Y., advertising agency. There he served new business clients and continued freelance hand-lettering work.
Starting out as a Fine Arts major at Monroe Community College, Prince was always intrigued with logo design and branding, and thought those fine art skills would be applicable to graphic design.
“I transferred to Fredonia because I had a lot of friends who went there, it has a great reputation for the arts, and I was interested in playing (club) hockey,” he explained. His appreciation for hand-lettering also blossomed here.
Now a lead in-house designer at NBC Sports, Prince’s creations find homes in print and digital platforms – everything from magazine ads and billboards, to social media posts and web banners. The National Football League, National Hockey League, NASCAR, Formula 1 and the Triple Crown, among others, utilize his current projects. Prince’s hand lettering was also seen in Esquire magazine’s “Best Bars in America” feature published in the June/July 2014 issue.
Such a successful career trajectory didn’t surprise Visual Arts and New Media Assistant Professor Jason Dilworth, who pegged Prince early on as an excellent designer. Dilworth followed Prince’s transition, from school to industry and from Rochester to New York City, and invited him back to Rockefeller Arts Center in April to speak with students.
“At this time of year I like to find alumni who can come in and speak to students about what they are doing now and what the process was like after graduation. Brendan was a clear choice because he had done a great job refining his craft, promoting his work online. He has developed an outstanding creative process,” Mr. Dilworth explained. “That’s something I knew our current students would really enjoy.”
Attention to detail and precision, Dilworth noted, made Prince stand out among an exceptionally talented group of peers.
Prince enjoyed returning to “where it all started,” and indicated that it was a great honor to be asked back just four short years after graduation. He shared his own process of hand-lettering and logo development, and discussed life after Commencement. Accompanying him to Fredonia was Laura Georger, a Fredonia classmate now with Partners + Napier.
“Students seemed to be mostly interested in what our average day is like as designers working for an agency and large company,” recalled Prince, who lives in New York City and works at NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Conn.
Prince credits several Fredonia professors for sound career preparation.
“I learned a great amount from (associate professor) Megan Urban, who opened the door for me and taught me fundamental skills and how to carry myself as a designer.”
Likewise, Prince credits Dilworth’s “unorthodox way of teaching” for enabling him to approach projects in a fresh, new way. In the course, Design Realities, Prince indicated former adjunct faculty member Marc O’Brien bestowed upon students, “the sails we needed to pursue a career in graphic design after graduation.”
Prince’s freelance work and personal projects can be viewed at brendanprince.com and through Instagram, as well as Behance and Dribble, both show-and-tell websites for designers.