THE rockne athletic fund is an athletics giving fund at the university of notre dame named for legendary football coach knute rockne. in the spring of 2016, the director of the then-rockne heritage fund solicited proposals for a new direction from my sports marketing class.
my group landed on the knute rockne heritage fund, which was built around marrying iconic, timeless imagery from notre dame’s athletic facilities with stories of athlete success on and off the field.
NOTRE DAME HAS A LONG AND DECORATED ATHLETIC TRADITION, DATING BACK TO THE LATE 1800s. as a result, the athletic department tends to prefer restrained, considered design solutions as opposed to flashier, more modern executions. coupled with the fact that the krhf was designed to target donors able to make significant gifts to the university, it was essential to craft an elegant collection of marks with an elevated color palette that still was unmistakably notre dame.
The identity featureS a subtly-serifed typeface (ADOBE’S GIN) with sturdy block bones, grounded in athletics but just a turn further on the dial. THE holding shape IS inspired by the domed roofs atop notre dame’s current basketball and hockey arenas and calling back to structures of decades past. A deep hunter green paired with a softer gold than seen elsewhere in notre dame’s branding FINISHES THE LOOK.
foil gold applications on collateral add a premium element to the physical touchpoints donors would have with the KRHF. a pattern detail based on markings from playing surfaces across notre dame’s 23 sponsored sports pops up on multiple pieces, calling back to the ultimate purpose of the fund, supporting fighting irish student-athletes.
arguably the most important part of any proposal for a donation-based fund is how you intend to actually draw donations. we developed the a campaign called “I is for irish” organized around what the letter I meanS at notre dame:
i is for stimulating intellect
I is for cultivating innovation
I is for INSPIRING FAITH
I IS FOR HONORING INTEGRITY
I IS FOR FOSTERING INTENSITY
But most importantly, at notre dame,
i is for irish
the campaign focused on success stories of former notre dame athletes both athletically and professionally. the magazine spread above features adrian dantley and chris stevens, both members of the 1974 basketball team that ended ucla’s 88-game unbeaten streak. dantley went on to an all-star nba career and the hall of fame, while stevens has founded dozens of companies including keurig. the ultimate message was a gift to the KRHF will set student-athletes up for lifelong success wherever life takes them after their time in south bend.