Category Archives: Graphics

2013 NCAA® Basketball Tournament Bracket – Ribbon Style

NCAA-Ribbon-Bracket-by-Chris-Keach-Design-Thumbnail

(click the graphic to a bigger image, or just download the full-size PDF NCAA® Basketball Tournament Bracket)

Last year I copied Hyperakt’s radial style tournament bracket, but this year I wanted to come up with my own design. The result is this ribbon-style tournament bracket which takes the usual bracket layout and adds three layers of visual information:

  1. The height of each team’s ribbon represents their seeding: The higher the seed, the taller the ribbon. You can see at a glance whether each game ended in an upset, and Cinderella runs like those by Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State and La Salle stand out.
  2. The width of each box represents the points scored by the team in that game. Blowouts and close games can be seen at a glance, too.
  3. The color of each ribbon is that team’s official color. Not a big deal, but it looks nice.

The only drawback is that the bracket had to be created at a large scale, otherwise those lowly rated teams wouldn’t show up at all! So, click the top graphic to see a larger image, or download a PDF.

2013-NCAA-Ribbon-Bracket-Midwest

2013-NCAA-Ribbon-Bracket-West

2013-NCAA-Ribbon-Bracket-South

2013-NCAA-Ribbon-Bracket-East

Award-Winning Update: Charity Walk T-Shirt Illustration

Update: I’ve been told that the t-shirt I designed for Rancho Bernardo Inn was named Best Shirt Design in the corporate division at the JDRF  Walk to Cure Diabetes. Giddy up!


The folks at Rancho Bernardo Inn are participating in an event to raise money and awareness for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and needed a t-shirt to go with this year’s Western theme (last year it was Team Up). I took the shoe from the JDRF walk logo and turned it into a cowboy boot. It won’t be long before you’ll be buying them in a store near you!

Charity t-shirt design for JDRF walk event

NFL Playoffs Radial Bracket (Updated for Super Bowl Champions)

NFL-Radial-Bracket-Super-Bowl-final

Last March I made a radial bracket for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (which Deadspin called a “solid copycat” in their list of The 10 Best Sports Infographics of 2012), now here’s what’s in progress for the NFL Playoffs that start this weekend. Since there aren’t very many teams, I figured just using team colors would be boring and decided to use each team’s logo instead.

Creative Credit: The original radial-bracket design concept was developed by Hyperakt for their World Cup poster (and Deadspin included them in their actual 10 Best list).

Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket in Radial Format

Taking up the challenge inspired by the soccer tournament bracket featured on fastcodesign.com this week, I put my Total Production Geek hat on, plopped myself in front of Adobe Illustrator for several hours and created this radial format version of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket (updated to show Kentucky as the 2012 champion).

Creative Credit: The original radial-bracket design concept was developed by Hyperakt for their World Cup poster.

NCAA-2012-Basketball-Tournament-Radial-Bracket-final

Click on the image to view it larger on a new page, or just check out this close-up of the South region:

NCAA-2012-Basketball-Tournament-Radial-Bracket-South-Detail

One of the most time-consuming aspects of the project was looking up the official colors of all 64 schools (my apologies to the 4 teams that lost the play-in games). Only two or three schools didn’t have style guides posted on their Web sites so getting the official hex or Pantone colors was just a matter of 64 Google searches. When in doubt, choose a dark blue from the Pantone 270s or 280s.

As for my approach in Illustrator:

  • I started with a 2,400 px radial grid with six concentric dividers and 64 radial dividers.
  • I trimmed that down to just one quarter of the outermost ring to work on the sixteen teams of one region at a time.
  • I converted the radial dividers into guides, locked the two arcs that formed the inside and outside edges, and then used the pen tool to create the dividing line between each game.
  • After unlocking the arcs I converted the group into a Live Paint object to fill in each space with the correct school colors.
  • Copy and paste that three times to complete the outer ring, and then create new arcs for each additional round.
  • Because there are few things that frustrate me more than the Type on a Path tool, the labels from the 2nd round on are not laid out on circles. Instead I made a 32-sided polygon and rotated the labels to line (everything is by eye because I’m a lazy bum).
  • Appreciate the fact that each round brings half as many games!

Would I make one of these again next year? Yeah, maybe. The hard work is done and because everything is set up a Live Paint it wouldn’t be too time-consuming of a project. This type of radial bracket really lends itself to smaller tournaments, though, and I think NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball playoffs would work better than the massive NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket.

Disneyland Posters

LetterMPress is a new app that emulates making vintage posters on an old letterpress. It started out as an iPad app, but I got it for my Mac.

Since I’m a big Disneyland nerd, when it came time to try it out I turned to Disneyland for inspiration! The first thing I did was for Haunted Mansion, but I wasn’t totally happy with it. Now that I have an idea of what I’m doing, I came up with this Pirates of the Caribbean poster that I like:

Pirates of the Caribbean LetterMPress poster

And then I came up with this poster for Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Poster - LetterMPress