The Salt Lake City-based design studio 7D8 uses Readymag inventively in their work, including a recent series of promo pages for the Utah Jazz basketball team. Readymag’s editorial team talked with Dan McKinney, a designer at 7D8, about their projects and how Readymag fits in.
Crossing over of interests & strengths
7D8 is a brand design studio based in Salt Lake City, Utah. We specialize in strategy and graphic design. Our studio is about five years old and pretty small, less than ten people. Still, we work with big clients like Adobe, Nike, New York Times, Harvard University, and MIT.
What does 7D8 mean? We have a little book that offers a bunch of possible things 7D8 might stands for, but it doesn’t actually have a specific meaning. It’s just something the founders liked for the visual playfulness of how you read it. It’s also easy to remember and short.
A significant share of our clients is sports brands. One of our founders, David Young, was a creative director at Nike for more than ten years. He also worked at Nike Basketball for a long time. That’s where he developed a great sense for how athletic brands can use design to be playful and expressive. Also, everyone who works at 7D8 is either big fan of Nike or basketball, so doing design for sports brands is a good crossing over of our interests and strengths.
Right now we’re doing a number of projects for the Utah Jazz. This will be our third season working with them. In the beginning, these were internal projects, but over time the Utah Jazz saw more and more value in our work, so they proposed we handle some of their public projects, too. Currently, we’re overseeing a 30-foot long mural that’s being painted in Salt Lake City by Karabo Poppy Moletsane, a street artist and illustrator from South Africa.
Readymag comes in handy for promo pages
I handle a lot of web design, motion design, and animation. That’s where I discovered Readymag. Previously we were stuck in the same rut as most design agencies: not enough budget to hire a professional developer for small web projects, while also having limited coding ability and time.
Then a designer that works here, and previously did an internship at a digital agency in New York, recommended Readymag. We tried it out for the Utah Jazz project, starting with promo pages for Donovan Mitchell’s Rookie of the Year nomination and Rudy Gobert’s Defensive Player of the Year nomination.
The pages were part of a PR campaign to get people to vote for these Jazz players for their respective awards. One of 7D8’s partner’s background is in content, so he tackled writing. We worked in collaboration with the Jazz for the statistics to help create a narrative, and sourced quotes from journalists — many of whom were also going to be voters. It was like, ”You already said these good things about these players in the past, so just vote for them!”
It worked: Rudy Gobert actually won his award, and Donovan came close.
An ideal tool for font connoisseurs
I love how easy it is to lay out a page in Readymag. You can make a really nice grid, and it’s so straightforward to move objects around. Also, my expertise is motion design, so for me, Readymag’s click-and-execute animation features are really fun. Normally I’d have to spend a lot more time coding or creating a movie in After Effects. It’s nice to be able to keep that fluid.
It lacked one particular feature, but Readymag recently added it: Blocks. Now you can add or remove things from a page without having to manually move everything up or down.
For us, a key benefit of Readymag is how it works with fonts. One of the core aspects of our studio is that every single person loves typography. I might even say we like it too much. We have an ongoing mindset to search for font inspiration from all sorts of different sources. I follow a number of Tumblr pages and get ideas from them. All of our team members spend tons of time on Fonts in Use, exploring their peculiarities. The fonts we used for our Utah Jazz projects are all custom, but we also used some fonts from Readymag’s internal Typekit.
We’re definitely going to do more projects with Readymag.
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