Names Behind the Games: Eddie Coe

Names Behind the Games: Eddie Coe
By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer
August 5, 2011

As a native of New Orleans, Hornets senior graphic designer Eddie Coe finds inspiration for his work virtually everywhere he goes in his hometown. It’s in the intricate and detailed architectural patterns of the French Quarter. It’s in the opulent Garden District homes that were built over two centuries ago. It’s in the distinct paintings and artwork you’ll find only in the Crescent City.

These influences factor greatly into the process Coe uses to determine exactly what many Hornets-produced items will look like when they’re eventually seen by the public. When Coe designs a wide range of products – including game tickets, game programs, pocket schedules and media guides – every year, the items each possess a similar, coherent appearance.

“Being submerged in the culture and the history of New Orleans, you walk around every day and see buildings and architecture and the spirit that is around the city,” explained Coe, a graduate of New Orleans’ Brother Martin High School and Loyola University. “If you take a ride on the streetcar, you’ll see houses that are hundreds of years old, with amazing design and ornamentation. Being from here and living here, it makes my job easier. A city like New Orleans, which has such a rich culture and uniqueness, lends itself to design ideas.”

In just four years since the Hornets returned full-time to Louisiana, there have been countless examples of how Coe and his design team have woven the city of New Orleans into their work. Perhaps the best illustration is their path to determining the team’s motif for the 2008-09 season. Midway through the 2007-08 season, Coe attended a Honeybees photo shoot at Muriel’s restaurant in the French Quarter. Coe was taken by the classic design of Muriel’s curtains, wallpaper, furniture and carpeting, believing it could be incorporated into the Hornets’ look for the following season.

“The interior design of Muriel’s is very lavish and ornamental, something you find in many French Quarter buildings,” Coe explained. “It had that old-time New Orleans kind of texture. We wanted to give our branding a classy, professional look that would reflect the city, the team and the organization.”

Prior to 2010-11, while mulling over ideas on how to update the Hornets’ branding, Coe chose a pattern that is reminiscent of many older brick buildings around New Orleans. These structures utilized painted-on advertisements, such as the city’s River Shack Tavern.

The circular Hornets logo was directly inspired by the longtime logo used by New Orleans’ Preservation Hall, one of the city’s most famous and historic destinations.

“We wanted to go with a look that you might find in a New Orleans blues club or a jazz club,” Coe explained. “We also drove around the city to see some of the logos that are painted onto brick buildings. I wasn’t surprised that we were quickly able to find plenty of good examples of what we were looking for.”

More from Coe on his experience working for the Hornets:

My favorite moment besides being hired was the 2007-08 season. Who could have imagined that the first season back in New Orleans we would have the second-best record in the Western Conference, an MVP candidate, the Coach of the Year and a run at the title, ending with a playoff-series win and being one victory from going to the conference finals?

Having played sports my entire life, along with having a love for art and being creative, this is my dream job. The only thing better would have been playing professional sports. I also love the fact that I still feel like I am part of a team and that we are all working toward a common goal. Most jobs you work and never have any connection to an end result, but here we all work around the basketball season – we gear up with anticipation for the beginning of the season, enjoy the slight break of the NBA All-Star weekend. When the team wins and makes it to the playoffs, we all feel like we had a part in the accomplishments.

It’s a full-time, year-round job. In fact we have two full-time graphic designers and an intern on staff. Besides producing billboards, season tickets, pocket schedules and various other collateral for Opening Night, we are constantly creating ads, logos, T-shirts, flyers and other assorted items for all of the departments in the organization, as well as 41 GameTime programs during the season.

I graduated from Loyola University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and a concentration in Graphic Design. My first job out of college was as an artist at Gambit Weekly. After working at Gambit for a year, I became a graphic designer in the fashion industry, designing neck ties and collateral for Randa Corp. I worked at Randa Corp. for a year and a half when a former colleague from Gambit told me about the job opening for a Graphic Designer at the Hornets. I worked for the Hornets from January 2002 until Katrina hit in August of 2005. After Katrina I worked at an ad agency, Touchpoints Marketing, as a Senior Graphic Designer creating logos, billboards and collateral for several casinos. When the Hornets came back to New Orleans in 2007, I came back on staff as Senior Graphic Designer.

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