College students get real-world opportunity with designs for Pistons

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Katie Krueger has already seen her one of her concepts featured in London Fashion week but now the College for Creative Studies student has designed something even more memorable.

The 22-year-old will have her Spirit of Detroit-themed hat given out to the first 2,500 fans at the Detroit Pistons home game on Jan. 25 as part of a program between the team and the college to allow students to create a series of collectible hats and posters.

Katie Krueger's Spirit of Detroit commemorative hat.

The program between the Pistons and the art and design college in Detroit has engaged 10 to 13 students to create a series of 10 posters; four have been given to fans at previous games.

The partnership allows students to get attention for their skills and to commemorate the opening of the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in New Center.

"It would be so exciting to see someone on the street wearing my design," said Krueger, who is majoring in fiber and textiles. "The entire process has been a great experience, and I learned to create the design in a format that’s transferable for real world application and factory settings."

Custom-designed hats will also be available at home games on March 7 and 22, and posters will be handed out to the first 10,000 fans Jan. 25, Feb. 2, March 7, March 25 and April 3.

The Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center is the team's $90 million new practice facility and corporate headquarters that opened in October.

With the team's move to the New Center area, Pistons officials said they wanted to find a new way to engage the college, and the partnership to create the new hat and art series seemed to fit the bill.

"We believe in the ability to unite people through the arts and through basketball," said Charlie Metzger, executive vice president and chief revenue and marketing officer for the Detroit Pistons. "Through our partnership with the College for Creative Studies, we’re engaging with our new neighbors while increasing access and opportunities for local students. We have no doubt fans will enjoy the output from this unique partnership."

Poster by Jessica Bonello

Jessica Bonello, 23, a longtime Pistons fan who is majoring in advertising design, was recognized at a Nov. 22 game for the poster she created to be like a children's illustration.

"After I was on the scoreboard, the cameraman cut to a group of kids holding up my poster. It was such a humbling moment because that is exactly who I had intended for the design to appeal to," Bonello said. "Working with a brand like the Pistons adds a lot to my portfolio. It was an incredible way to be exposed as an artist, and it’s something I can put on my website and add to my resume, too."