• drewbufalini

Fans to Fanatics: Team Spirit in Home Décor

Snow blanketed the stiff, practically brittle grass covering the gridiron at Foxboro. More of the thick white stuff floated down from the black void above. The wind sang a sorrowful ballad, whipping through the stadium seats encircling the field with a low howl that added a harmonic bass-line to its bittersweet song. Despite the sub-zero temperature, the collective body heat coming off the crowd radiated onto the field as the two opposing teams dug in for one final play. The snap hit the holder’s hand too hard - with a crack audible even to the high school kids working the concessions far from the field. Time and space thickened to a soupy miasma as the black and gray warriors charged, their physical exertion visible in the steam they exhaled like mighty locomotives barreling down on the offensive line. But it was too late. The kick sailed through the air, slicing through snow and wind as if they only an illusion of the gods. The twenty-two warriors on the field held their breath and wrung their hands with the anxiety of being second best weighing heavily on their hearts. Tumbling end over end, the ball descended between the twin uprights of the goal post…it’s good!



Adam Vinitieri’s famous tie breaking “snow kick” in the wild card game against the Oakland Raiders netted his New England Patriots the playoff berth that launched a dynasty that continues today. And I have a picture of it, autographed by Vinatieri himself, hanging right above my desk. Whenever I’m challenged, whenever I’m doubting myself, whenever I need inspiration to raise myself above the fray – I see that picture and replay the moment in my mind. Then I know. There’s nothing I can’t achieve when I set my mind to the task. The design of my work environment, while my own, is tailored toward inspiration. Design has a powerful effect on the human mind that can accommodate practically any purpose depending on your needs. Anywhere you are, the décor is effecting on you. At home, you have the power to create any décor environment – and its psychological by-product.

Individual taste – or the female living there – dictates home décor. That’s a hard and fast rule only exempting single males living alone. Generally speaking, sports memorabilia is only welcome in the usually small and subterranean space allotted to the male – the man cave. But that’s all in the past or, as interior designers will refer to it from now on, B.F. Before Fathead.

Before Fathead, sports memorabilia was a category more or less limited to photographs, cards and autographed equipment such as footballs, baseballs, hockey sticks and even basketball star’s shoes. Before Fathead, this memorabilia was not welcome in the communal spaces of a home. Before Fathead, the best a man could hope for was a poster in the basement that wilted in the humidity, wrinkled when touched and lasted only as long as the tape holding it to the wall. Then two years ago, Fathead wall graphics debuted and inexorably altered the landscape of memorabilia – and interior design – for the ages.

For those of you who’ve been on sabbatical on Mars in a cave with your fingers in your ears whistling “Dixie,” a Fathead is a life-size wall graphic of fan-favorite sports stars, super heroes and entertainment icons. Fans and interior designers alike love these wall graphics because they’re made of a hyper-durable vinyl that won’t tear, fade or damage walls. Unlike the furniture I schlep from room-to-room when my wife’s on a re-organization kick, Fatheads can be easily moved. Thanks to an advanced chemical process, no matter how often they’re relocated; these wall graphics will never lose adhesion.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Whether it’s from viewing the masterpieces of an artist like Kandinsky or witnessing LeBron James score fifty points in a single game, the human mind yearns for a closer proximity to greatness. Perhaps even jealously, the mind wants this greatness for itself. This is inspiration. At its essence, inspiration is a positive reaction to witnessing the achievement of another while hungering for an achievement of one’s own. What a person does with their inspiration is what separates them from the prosaic masses.

“At Fathead, we like to say that what we do here is connect people to their passions,” explains Fathead Vice President of Marketing, Aaron Chestnut. “The interesting thing about our product becoming a phenomenon in the interior design world is that, in another time, wall graphics like ours wouldn’t have been in the consideration process. Today, people don’t just see “sports memorabilia.” They see a way to make their inspiration a part of their everyday lives. Consequently, I think there are a lot more highly motivated people out there today than there used to be!”

Think about your favorite sports team. It doesn’t have to be an NFL team – after all, Fathead features wall graphics of every sport. Now, ask yourself: why are they your favorite team? There could be any number of reasons ranging from the fact that they win their games to they were your Dad’s favorite team growing up. At the root of your love for this team, your fan hood, is one thing: they make you feel good. When you feel good, you become a more capable person no matter what you’re doing. Every activity is enhanced when you feel “at the top of your game.” In the scientific community, this is known as an endorphin effect. That’s why team spirit is such a powerful phenomenon.

Translate this to the design of your home: if your environment inspires you, you’ll feel good and start living your life a little better! Since nothing says inspiration like a Fathead, the choice is obvious. You need a Fathead.

Of the “something for everyone” school, Fathead has created a wall graphic for every fan. But with over 500 licensed images to choose from, no one said the selection process would be easy. If you have a favorite sport, team or player, chances are optimal you’ll find what you’re looking for on Fathead.com. If you’re unsure or an interior designer creating a space for a client, here are a few simple rules for simplifying your selection process and designing with Fathead:

  1. Learn about your clients sporting preferences in order to narrow your choices down to sports, super heroes or entertainment icons.

  2. Once you’ve reserved a wall for the Fathead, measure the area. Fathead wall graphics range in size, but all of the quite large – some are over seven feet tall!

  3. Make sure your selection is space-appropriate. If you’re designing a room for an eight-year-old girl, search for a Fathead among the Disney princess and fairies. A teenage boy may prefer a comic book super hero to a star athlete. You never know for sure unless you ask directly.

  4. If you’re planning a media room and know you have a sports fanatic in the house, don’t guess. Review the options with your client on Fathead.com.

  5. When installing the wall graphic(s), be sure to follow the guidelines and utilize the tools that come with the Fathead.

  6. Never put Fathead in the corner. More than a funny Dirty Dancing reference, these wall graphics adhere best to clean, flat surfaces.

  7. Nothing is more stunning than a room designed around a Fathead. Glidden manufactures a line of NFL team colors paint that can complement any NFL Fathead you select. Other paint companies and leagues may have agreements too. If you cannot find Honolulu Blue (Detroit Lion’s team color) to paint the wall that will be home to a Barry Sanders wall graphic, take your Fathead to the paint store and let their employees use their computers to help you find a match.

Designing a new interior for a room or an entire house is a major challenge whether you’re an interior designer or a do-it-yourselfer. You must consider the overall environment; the scale and proportion of wall hangings, furniture and appliances; lighting, color combinations and, of course, the psychological effect of all these aspects combined. If you’re taking on this endeavor without professional help, there are scores of web sites and books on the subject of personal interior design. The staff at Lowe’s or Home Depot can be wonderful resources for helping you accomplish your goals without spending a dime on an interior designer.

Probably the single most important thing to keep in mind is what you want the “take-away” from the room to be for yourself and others. Do you want to be inspired to do great things when you’re in a particular room or do you want a relaxing ambience that offers occupants a calming effect? Do you want people to enter this room and drop their jaws in awe or gaze around the room and feel comforted by the “hominess?” The choice, of course, is yours. Whatever you decide, Fathead wall graphics can help you deliver on the promise of every room in your home.

Through years of working with the wall graphics and having conversations with hundreds of Fathead enthusiasts on the subject, Aaron Chestnut (Fathead’s VP of Marketing) is hip to the concept of interior design with Fathead. “In a six-year-old boy’s room, Lightening McQueen from The World of Cars can be both a positive influence and a conversation starter. Little girls, on the other hand, can’t seem to get enough of Tinker Bell and Cinderella. The princess phenomenon, we call it. Adults are a horse of a different color. Women are the primary purchasers and tend to make the decisions for their significant others. An NBA player in the basement. The logo of their university alma mater in the library. Maybe a Maria Sharapova in the room they use to exercise. Even laundry rooms have become a favorite place to post a Fathead. David Beckham seems to be a guilty pleasure for women. We’ve heard of quite a few couples converting their two-car garage to a three car garage with one of our NASCAR wall graphics,” he jokes.

Sports are such a huge part of daily American life that it almost seems like a no-brainer to gain inspiration from a wall graphic with an image of your favorite player or team logo. Even non-sports fans can enjoy a Fathead on their wall by hanging a super hero or entertainment icon. Super heroes especially radiate the values that make America and her sports great. Batman, Spiderman, Superman – all hold dear the morals the define us. Nothing says “truth, justice and the American way” like a five-foot-ten Man of Steel on your wall.

On the wall opposite my photo of Adam Vinatieri’s snow kick, between the door and an autographed image of Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson, hangs a Fathead wall graphic of yet another hero of the gridiron. John Elway. Out of context, it’s still very easy to gauge the play Elway was making when his image was captured on film – his signature drop back in the pocket, he scans the end zone for a receiver just before, without signals or warning, he rockets forward, carrying the ball with him and scores the touch down. Larger-than-life, my Elway Fathead raises emotions within me that hearken back to my college years. Combined, my memorabilia is purely motivational. But this is my office, my sanctuary, my man cave, a design and décor of my choosing. My wife says I’m a football fanatic. I say, I’m just your average American fan.


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