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The Shirt 2009 project is underway

Madeline Buckley | Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Even though there are still two more home football games this year, the project to design next season’s football Shirt is underway, said Matt Barloh, president of The Shirt 2009.

Barloh, appointed president of the project at the Oct. 14 Council of Representatives meeting, said he will choose committee members to design The Shirt next week, and the group will hold its first meeting by Nov. 10.

“The first month of the project will be devoted to determining the color of The Shirt, throwing out ideas both for the graphics and the lyrics of The Shirt and establishing a strategy for our marketing campaign in the spring,” Barloh said.

Barloh said there is an online application from which he will choose seven or eight students who stand out. He said he is looking for students who show a passion for the project, have past experience with design or marketing and show a great attention to detail.

“Personally, I like to see someone who is truly passionate about The Shirt project and truly cares about what goes on The Shirt and how the project is seen by the greater Notre Dame community,” he said.

The committee will be among the select few at the University that will see The Shirt before the big unveiling ceremony in April, Barloh said.

“We try to keep the design, theme and color secret until the day in April when we unveil [it] because we feel that the mysteriousness ultimately benefits the project,” he said.

The Shirt committee has a lot of freedom in choosing the design of The Shirt because the University issues very few rules about the images and lyrics on it, Barloh said.

“The only guideline that I’m acutely aware of is the University’s preference that we not incorporate religious imagery with football imagery,” Barloh said. “For example, I couldn’t have someone doing the Heisman pose in a football uniform superimposed on a detailed image of the Dome because Mary is on the Dome.”

Despite this rule, the committee can be creative, he said. The color of The Shirt doesn’t even necessarily have to be blue, gold or green, he said.

“In previous years, we have discussed, everything from white and grey to lime green,” he said.

But successful Shirts are usually more traditional, Barloh said.

“We prefer the blues, greens and golds because they are colors indicative of Notre Dame,” he said.

The committee also tries to unite Notre Dame imagery with football imagery, Barloh said.

“If you want a successful shirt, it’s smart to incorporate lyrics from some sort of Notre Dame song and an image that is clearly related to football,” he said. “It’s not a basketball shirt, it’s not a baseball shirt.”

Barloh said he hopes to have The Shirt design completed and approved in January so the committee can then market it to the wider public. Along with advertising for The Shirt on campus and in the South Bend area, the committee is also in charge of marketing The Shirt to the Alumni clubs, he said.

“Alumni clubs all over the world purchase The Shirt,” Barloh said. “After The Shirt has been unveiled, we work to make sure that the Alumni club orders are actually filled out, and that they get their shirts on time.”

In the spring, the committee will focus on the ceremony to unveil The Shirt, Barloh said. The past two ceremonies have drawn crowds of about 5,000 he said.

After The Shirt is unveiled, the committee works with concession stands, student groups and the Bookstore to sell the shirts, Barloh said. The proceeds then go to SAO to be allotted for student clubs and organizations and to The Shirt Charity Fund, he said.

“[The fund] is used to help students pay for extraordinarily high medical expenses,” Barloh said.

The long process of designing, marketing and selling The Shirt is ultimately for the students, Barloh said.

“It’s not my Shirt, it’s not even the committee’s Shirt. It’s the whole University’s Shirt,” he said.