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Penn State Football: Franklin Looking To Graphic Design For Branding Innovation

by on May 19, 2014 2:00 PM

If you've spent any time on social media, especially Twitter, you may have come across a few interesting tweets from Penn State head coach James Franklin. 

It's nothing controversial but you can bet that a few photos have made people chuckle. 

If you haven't been graced with the photoshopping skills of the Penn State football program the two best examples can be found.

Here and here

So what's up with the sudden photo editing ability within the walls of the Lasch Building? For one, Franklin isn't the one doing the edits himself but he does have his hand in making the opportunity possible.

"We run an intern program you know, really no different than anyone else on campus," Franklin said recently during a stop on Penn State' coaches caravan. "There are people that come in that want to work in sports marketing, there are people who want to be general managers, there are people who want to be scouts. There are people who want to be coaches. We have one young man who wants to coach although he's not playing college football he wants to be a coach one day."

"We have people who want to be graphic designers," Franklin said. "So we try and get as many of these people who want to get work experience and internship experience to put on their resume to help. That's an area that I'm really interested in, we've reached out to the graphic design school that maybe we can partnership and do something together because we're just trying to take advantage of as many resources as we possibly can. Because we have so many resources at a place like Penn State to get our brand out there and we don't want it to be the same message every single time."

Branding has been a big point of emphasis for Franklin in the early stages of his tenure at Penn State and has been one of the biggest talking points for him with facilities upgrades. So as he looks to partner with the graphic design program it's not surprising that it deals with so much of what is visual in the world.

"I think we've become a society that is more visual than ever before," Franklin said. "So when you're able to have strong brands and strong messaging out there I think that's very important and graphic design is a great way to do that."

"The whole half lion deal actually Saeed Blacknall (incoming freshman) had done. He's really interested in graphic design and if you ever saw his avatar before he committed to us it was half his face and half a lion and I thought it was really cool. So I asked him how he did that and he told us and we started messing around with it a little bit."

"The whole pupils things I tweeted that out and some people thought it was kind of scary," Franklin said smiling. "But once again it got people talking."

Even with his positive message and plan to work on the branding and images surrounding the program it doesn't mean Franklin has missed out on his fair share of criticism. The reasoning? Technically speaking the wrong lion was getting edited into photos early on. It might seem like a small thing, but for Penn State fans there is a big difference between an African lion and a mountain lion. Truly an offseason conversation topic.

"We've also used lions," Franklin said. "But I'm not a biologist and some people have said 'that's not your lion' but it gets the message across. So this morning I actually tweeted out a Nittany Lion or a mountain lion and I didn't get as much negative response on Twitter for it being the wrong lion."

"We're just trying to have fun with it. I hope we're able to continue to do this."

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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