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ESPN’s Creative Services and Images Teams Shape ESPN’s Visual Presentation of the 2020 NFL Draft

COVID-19 created a need for a "visual pivot" from the planned Las Vegas theme; here are some examples of the re-imagined looks

ESPN’s Creative Services and Images teams are once again collaborating and contributing mightily to the NFL Draft presentation in 2020.

Creative director Lucas Nickerson, art director Brian Girardin, and content producer Jeremy Anderson are leading ESPN’s Sports Emmy-winning Creative Services team responsible for the visual look of the draft.

Creative Services initially had plans for a glitzy Las Vegas theme that had to be adjusted on the fly when the coronavirus forced the cancellation of draft festivities in Vegas. That meant toning down the colors that were originally part of the draft prospect shoots at the NFL Combine in February.

“Our custom set designs in Indianapolis were full-on Vegas-gold and purple,” said Nickerson. “Fans will still see some of those elements, but there was definitely a visual pivot. We had to re-imagine the glitz and glam, spinning the color palette to black, white, and venom (neon yellow) which are all synonymous with the Monday Night Football identity.”


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Creative Services also faced the unique challenge of working remotely from home in advance of this year’s draft, relying on loaded-up hard drives and home internet connections to access the seven terabytes of NFL Draft-related footage.


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Nickerson added: “What the entire company has been able to accomplish is a testament to our collaborative in-house teams at ESPN. Production, Creative, and Technology teams were all ‘On The Clock’ to figure out smart solutions.”

Meanwhile, ESPN Images partnered with Creative Services to shoot portraits of the draft prospects at NFL Combine. In all, photographer Allen Kee shot more than 140 players.

Those photos have been used in infographics, as cover art for ESPN digital stories, and in comparison pieces on NFL Live and other shows during the past month.

ESPN Images also has a robust collection of action photos of NFL Draft prospects from the 20-plus college football games they annually shoot. The Images team makes their photos available to Creative Services and other groups throughout ESPN (and externally) as part of the vast ESPN Images library which contains more than 750,000 photos.

Anderson added: “The library and inventory of content the Images group has put together over the years has really served us well at this moment.”

Kimberly Jarvis contributed to this post.

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