Throughout the year, Digital Design students are given opportunities to interact with industry through guest speaker events and studio tours. Students visit local agencies that specialize in motion and/or interactive design. We recently visited Rogers Arena, home rink of the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League, to see how motion and interactive design were being used to enhance the fan experience.
The tour was led by Mark Raham, Creative Director at Canucks Sports & Entertainment. Mark, as mentioned on the Canucks’ website, “is responsible for the look and feel of the Canucks brand at all public touch points. He works closely with all customer-facing departments including brand and creative, web, broadcast and game presentation to develop and enhance the Canucks brand identity.”
We started the tour at the statue of Roger Neilson. For those familiar with the history of the team, Roger was the head coach who inspired the towel power phenomenon during a playoff run in the 1980s. Mark mentioned how well-received the statue has been for fans and it provided one of the many storytelling elements that are spread throughout the arena. The statue is a popular meeting place before games where fans can see lights of the team colours on the columns and hear ambient crowd sounds that help build anticipation for the game. All of these elements serve to create the start of “layered experiences” for the fans.
Mark Raham has been very generous with his time when it comes to helping VFS Digital Design students understand the importance of bringing a brand to life, and this time was no exception — especially since it was on a game night during a very tense playoff round with the San Jose Sharks when he showed up to our Main Theater for a Questions and Answers session about his role in developing Layered Experiences as Creative Director for the Vancouver Canucks. We were particularly grateful on this evening for his commitment to mentorship , given that he was previewing the 3rd of his preshow projection mapping presentations that night (normally he does three of them over a regular season of about 3 minutes in length, and this was a short season) — at an extended 6 minutes!
With the quality of TV picture and sports broadcasts what they are, it can be hard for the average person to justify spending the price of a ticket to attend a Canuck’s game. Picture quality is perfect and broadcast teams bring you views and angles and replays that you can’t possibly get at a game. What you can get at a game, however, is a fan experience that is meticulously and tirelessly being perfected by Mark Raham (Director, Creative Services) and his team at Rogers Arena. From the moment you walk up to the arena to the moment you leave, you are treated to a sensory carnival, itself worth the price of admission.
I went on a tour with Digital Design staff and students from the 25th class and witnessed a thorough walkthrough of Mark’s fan experience, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how that experience is in a constant state of evolution.
Digital Design students went out for a visit with the Creative Director of the Vancouver Canucks, Mark Raham, last Friday (Feb 15). The tour and demonstration were fantastic — Mark was incredibly generous with his time. It started out by the statue of Roger Neilson, who was head coach of the Canucks in the early 1980s, and who is credited with a number of innovations in the game, as well as being deemed responsible for the tradition of Towel Power, which started at the 1982 Canucks versus Blackhawks playoff series. Mark tells us that since the statue was erected in 2011, fans have chosen the area as a gathering spot before the games. It’s from this spot that his “layered experiences“ design really begins, with lights on the columns and an ambient soundscape meant to stir up the feeling of being at the game.
Digital Design Head of Department, Miles Nurse, said it best after the latest edition of Digital Design Talks: the bar has been set very high. It was truly an awe-inspiring evening. Each presentation represented the theme Layered Experiences perfectly, iterating it in different ways, while showing correspondences in each case.
Digital Design students, Ryan Ali, David Calderon Navarro, Ivan Aguilar, Alejandro Davila, with sound design by Logan Smith, and with critical technical assistance by Colin Gray, presented their Projection Mapping Project Surface. This amazing piece of work was a grand collaborative experiment conducted by the team over a number of months outside of any specific program requirement, but wholly in the spirit of the program’s principles.