Too Cool for (High) School. Spartan Designs uses Photoshop to Connect with his College Football Heroes

It’s common enough to pay homage to our heroes with Photoshop, but what’s NOT nearly as common, is when our heroes notice.

Meet Spartan Designs. Spartan is a badass, anonymous high school student whose Photoshop skills caught the eye of his favorite football team. A Michigan State fan since before he could type, now MSU’s top athletes are praising and sharing his custom designs with thousands of fans.
How did he make it happen? We caught up with Spartan to get the story.

How long have you been using Photoshop? How did you learn?

When I first started creating sports edits, I used various apps on the iPhone. There is only so much you can do with apps, so I upgraded to Photoshop. My high school offers a graphic design course and I figured that could improve my work, so I decided to take it.

What’s your creative process for each piece?

When I come up with an idea on what I’d like a photo to look like, I’ll start out by applying a mixture of plugins on Topaz Labs to make the photos pop. With the image sizes I work with, this tends to take roughly an hour. After that, I’ll open Photoshop, and start designing. I put a lot of effort into each one of my photos, and I usually spend about 2-3 hours on Photoshop, per photo.

What are some of the sources of inspiration for your work?

I think about incorporating an athlete’s style of play into their photo. For example, if someone is fast, I add a motion blur to emphasize their speed.

What does it feel like to have the person you created something for actually see it? Can you tell us about the first experience you had with Messiah deWeaver?

I found Messiah on Instagram and asked if he would like any photos made. I made him a couple of photos, including one with “deWeaver” on the back of an MSU jersey, with the inscription “One Focus” underneath. He really liked it, and shared it on his Instagram when he committed to Michigan State.

It’s every sports designer’s dream for the athlete to see, like, share, etc. the work. I’m thankful that Michigan State has the type of guys that really appreciate what I make for them. It makes my goal easier to achieve.

Any favorite features in Photoshop or tips you want to share?

All you need is basic knowledge of the application and a little bit of creativity.

Why would you like to remain anonymous?

I don’t feel like I need to put my name out there right now. Maybe I will in the future, but right now there’s no need. If I were to accept one of the dozen offers to design for a college I’ve turned down, I would, but right now, I like the scenario I am in!

Thanks to Spartan Designs for answering our questions and sharing his images. You can keep an eye on him and his future on Instagram here.