I happened across a post from Clark Munroe of IKS Media about a new project he was working on for IKS with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. This project is to produce highlights from every SJHL game and post these highlights to YouTube the next day.

For a league of community owned teams that are trying to help their players continue their hockey careers having highlights like this is invaluable. It is also a value add to sponsors and the communities these teams call home as they draw more viewers and can generate revenue not only from YouTube but sponsorship.

My first reaction upon visiting the channel was that the thumbnail image for the clips were generic. These thumbnails also did not give each game their own identity. I also saw this highlight thumbnail as that tool for sponsorship inclusion.

I reached out to Clark on Facebook and said I have an idea. After a few hours the following image was presented back with a few more games as well.

The first attempt at branding the SJHL highlight clips on YouTube.

It was a great first start but it had some flaws, I knew that, and embraced it, but it began the conversation. Clark and his colleagues reviewed the initial sample and sent me a quick text. In the interim for what I believed I read in the text generated the following thumbnail with a team specific background colour with some other ideas from the text.

The next attempt to brand the SJHL highlight clips on YouTube.

We were much closer than we were and after seeing the image in a text response Clark corrected that the backgrounds should be league colours and we arrived at the final design. As seen below, so how do you generate these images for every game in an expedited manner?

The final design for branding the SJHL highlight clips on YouTube for the entire 2022-2023 season..

This is where experience kicked in, and during the first two drafts I was already building and refining a template for each team. I had also downloaded the entire schedule for the league and organized it by home team.

My templates for each team were built in InDesign and refined with EPS versions of each logo supplied by Clark and the team at IKS. One logo needed major clean up work. This caused some fear EACH team would need clean up work for their logos. Thankfully it was only the one logo but they happened to be the first I saw.

Experience with Creative Suite from Adobe was invaluable. Some of the newer tools like libraries and alternate layouts in InDesign turned this into a project of a few hours from a few weeks.

A full schedule of home games was developed, dates were added and away teams added. This was then duplicated using alternate layout and a new master page for a new team was applied. Then the visiting teams rearranged and dates modified. On average an entire home schedule could be completed in 30-45 minutes per team.

What an entire season of highlight thumbnails looks like in the program used to design and create them.

Once a team’s games were generated they were exported to a Dropbox folder shared with IKS and a quick text to Clark was sent. What was a finalized design on a Sunday night became a fully realized 335 image library by 8pm Wednesday.

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