Feb. 13, 2002
What started out as an internet search for fresh ideas has turned into a ticket to some of the ACC’s most exciting upcoming 50th Anniversary events, not to mention a place in the conference’s history books for T.J. Harley.
Harley needed some ideas back in the summer of 2001 for some t-shirt designs he was planning for Clemson’s 20th anniversary celebration of the school’s 1981 football national championship. At the time, Harley was working as a student at one of Clemson’s downtown t-shirt stores, Tigertown Graphics.
The search took him to TheACC.com for what he thought would be a search for some different logo ideas. Harley had no idea the ACC was looking for some ideas of its own.
In May of 2001, the ACC announced a contest that gave current students, faculty, and staff members at all nine member institutions the opportunity to submit ideas for the conference’s 50th anniversary logo.
“Some of the most creative minds in the country reside on our campuses, and we’d love to have their quality of work represent our conference in this important celebration,” stated ACC Commissioner John Swofford at the time of the contest’s announcement.
For Harley the contest meant another opportunity to display his talents, but there was one problem, his discovery of the contest was almost too late.
“I noticed that the contest deadline was the next day so I immediately stopped working on the Clemson shirt and spent the next couple hours working on a design for the ACC,” Harley recalled.
Those couple of hours turned out to produce the ACC’s 50th Anniversary logo.
The logo will represent the conference’s expansive marketing efforts to promote the ACC’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
Founded in 1953, the ACC will begin celebrating its 50th Anniversary in July at the conference’s annual football kickoff. The kickoff will be just that for the ACC as the 2002-03 academic year will be full of anniversary events, including the 50th Anniversary Gala at the Greensboro Coliseum in March of 2003.
For his efforts, Harley will receive two tickets to the Gala as well as tickets to the 2003 ACC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
The vast nature of the 50th Anniversary celebration will expose Harley’s work through several mediums, including newspaper, television, internet, souvenir and apparel items. The exposure won’t stop there though. As part of the celebration, the ACC has a historical book and video in the works.
Harley’s design potential hasn’t gone unnoticed. The recent graphics communications graduate has secured a job with Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) which is based in Atlanta. CLC is the nation’s leading collegiate licensing and marketing representative for more than 180 universities, bowl games, conferences, the NCAA and the Heisman Trophy.
“I am responsible for almost all of the design work that we do in-house. I will be designing signage, posters, logos, and lots of other things that I am really looking forward to. I hope that this job will give me a chance to get my work out to the masses,” described an excited Harley.
With the ACC’s 50th Anniversary logo under his belt Harley’s ticket to the masses is already in his hand.
T.J. HARLEY COMPLETE INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
Where is your hometown?
I was born in Pearl River, NY, about 20 miles outside the city. I’m now living in Atlanta, GA.
What is your family like? Do you have any brothers and sisters? Are they in graphic art as well?
My family is very supportive. They have always been interested in what I do and are behind me 100%. I have one sister who is a sophomore at Ohio University. No one in my family is really an artist. I used to draw with my father when I was little, but I’m definitely the one with the art gene.
What made you interested in doing the ACC 50th Anniversary logo?
It’s a pretty interesting story actually. At the time I was working as a graphic artist at Tigertown Graphics in Clemson, designing t-shirts for Clemson fans and custom shirts for student organizations. The 2001 football season was the 20th anniversary of Clemson’s national football championship. We planned on designing a shirt to commemorate this occasion. As I was looking on the internet for ideas, I came across the contest for the ACC logo. I noticed that the contest deadline was the next day so I immediately stopped working on the Clemson shirt and spent the next couple hours working on a design for the ACC. A couple of months later I got the call saying I had one. I really couldn’t believe it. I really didn’t think I’d win.
What was your inspiration for the 50th Anniversary logo?
I have this strange way of visualizing things. Since I’ve been doing stuff like this for over three years, as soon as I get a description of what needs to be done, I get an image in my head. After that, it’s just a matter of creating it with the computer. When I read the requirements for the logo, I was immediately thinking blue. I don’t know why, but that’s what happens.
What were your initial thoughts when your entry was picked?
As I said before, I was shocked. I had entered a few logo contests around the same time so it took me a while to figure out which one was calling me back. I had actually forgotten about it for a little while and when I got the call. I was extremely excited.
Can you talk about what you think it will be like to attend the events you are scheduled to attend in conjunction with your entry being picked, like the 50th Anniversary Gala, the men’s and women’s ACC Tournaments?
Well, it will be especially exciting for me now that I’ve started working at the Collegiate Licensing Company. We represent over 200 universities nation-wide, so it will be very exciting to attend these events in conjunction with my new job.
What was your major at Clemson?
I majored in graphic communications.
I heard you have a position with CLC, what things will you be doing for that company?
I am responsible for almost all of the design work that we do in-house. I will be designing signage, posters, logos, and lots of other things that I am really looking forward to. I hope that this job will give me a chance to get my work out to the masses.
Who have been the big artistic influences in your life and why?
My first big influence probably came from my first internship in Greenville, SC. I worked with a guy named Zeb Morton who really got the ball rolling for me, as far as graphic design goes. As far as artists go, I don’t know if there is any one in particular. I love reading up on new technologies, and new design techniques. I also love sports logos. I’m always interested to see sports teams coming out with new logos. I am especially lucky now because I get to see new college logos before anyone else, and that is exciting.
What are your favorite sports to watch, play, etc.?
I’m a big fan of college sports, mostly football and basketball. After attending Clemson, I learned first-hand what college sports are all about. I love professional baseball. I grew up watching it and playing it (not professionally). I’m a huge Mets fan so seeing the Yankees win all of the time doesn’t sit well with me.
What was your first ACC athletic experience?
My first ACC athletic experience was my first Clemson football game. I had been to other football games before, but I was completely blow away by the noise and the enthusiasm of the fans. Everyone is standing, everyone is screaming, it’s unbelievable. Even if you happen to be one of those unfortunate ones to root for other schools in the ACC, I would highly advise going to Death Valley at least once in your life.
Besides Clemson what teams if any do you follow?
I lived in Ohio for a while so I pull for the Buckeyes, but not as much as the Tigers.