A few years ago, I had a contract with the former company Qualex, which was a sister company of Eastman Kodak. They started a new marketing department in an effort to breath life into their declining photographic processing business model. Our first test was to create a line of MLB licensed, print-on-demand photo templates. Online customers would upload their photos into these templates using the Centrics Sell System interface.
Designing for multiple teams using only royalty free sources was a huge challenge on this project. No outside party could own rights to any of the elements used in these designs. We found that colors, textures and simple graphic shapes were all we could use without violating the license agreements. Photographs of textures really helped bring these templates together visually as well as conceptually. I photographed textures of peeling paint on a barn, rusted metal on dumpsters, old farm equipment, and stained concrete.
Each design uses some kind of visual tie-in to each team or region. The Washington Nationals uses an American flag with an added cloth texture. The New York Mets uses a texture and a design reminiscent of the New York subway. The Pittsburgh Pirates use a flag blowing in the wind with a slight texture of an ancient map.