Elevendy Exceeds Sports Illustrated's Wildest Dreams
When kids come together to play games, they don’t need rules. They make them up as they go along, with explosions and trucks and dragons. It’s not about the process, it’s about the experience and making it as exciting as possible. As we age, we tighten up our games with formal rules and stricter systems, but for many of us the fantasy still remains even if it’s hidden away. When we take a take a long drive to the endzone, or hit a ball far into the outfield, or sink a basket from half court: we feel like superheroes displaying our incredible strength and cunning skill in a world that needs a winner. Unfortunately, the sports world rarely supports those feelings of fantasy. In some ways the pursuit of the glossy and sharp has dulled how we play these games. The focus on player statistics, angles, and odds has sobered the experience and brought it firmly on the side of reality. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.
For those that engage in the fantasy games, like Fantasy Football, they can enter worlds beyond reality and find an imaginative fun again. But Sports Illustrated Magazine wanted to bring it one step further and tapped creative visual studio Elevendy to help them out. This month they’ve released four distinct covers with Antonio Brown, Marshawn Lynch, Robert Quinn, and Ryan Tannehill all picturing what “Fantasy Football” can mean in entirely new ways.
“People are so inundated by the messaging of Hollywood right now,” says Dave Cox of Elevendy. “Almost every aspect of entertainment has that fantasy, larger than life vibe to it and one spot where that's really missing a lot of times is in the sports world.” So they took the assignment of ratcheting up the fantasy and ran with it.
For the cover with Antonio Brown of the Pittsburg Steelers, they started with the source material and then were as imaginative as possible. “They gave us a killer shot of him jumping, so we wondered what could he be jumping over. We looked at lava flows and all this different stuff. And we also wanted to play off the Pittsburg Steelers and the heat that it takes to make steel form into what you want it to.” Combining all these different elements together resulted in a composition where Brown is leaping over a crevasse of molten lava, with hot earth shooting out towards him, recapturing that childlike imagination and making the unreal real. Even for just one frozen moment. As Dave says, “I think when anybody sees that cover they going to be like, ‘Holy shit this is me. This is my life. I love this.’ That is how they picture it in their minds when they're doing that.” Then it was just a matter of repeating the same creative process for each cover.
Elevendy had to perform their own brand of magic for this project as they had less than a week to execute it. In fact, they barely had five days. But the reason Sports Illustrated came to them was because they knew Elevendy would make it happen. “They were great. They were perfect. They understood the subject matter. It was a great creative process. They were dialed into what I was looking for right out of the gate,” says Chris Hercik, Creative Director at Sports Illustrated. That kind of creative relationship is exactly what makes these projects so fulfilling for Elevendy. When asked what the most satisfying part of the project was Dave says, “The trust that the client gave us.” And it made for results that were better than anyone could have imagined.