National Football League


NFL3.8 2


What: STEM subjects in the United States.

Why: STEM subjects in the U.S. have been on a consistent decline over the past few years. The problem isn’t the subjects themselves but rather the way in which they’re taught. They’re unpopular and mind-numbing. Lacking good story.

How: (In this example) Associative learning via the National Football League (NFL).

The National Football League with Nike and Todd Van Horne (current designer responsible for the NFL jerseys) could use anatomical and architectural visuals to make science using story for kids more engaging.

What if kids knew the story and science behind the bright colored gloves and shoes the Seahawks wore? When running the hands and feet move faster than other parts of the body. By highlighting the hands and feet you can visually trick your opponents to think you’re moving faster than actually you are. Another trick (in staying with the eyes) is font design. As a designer you can make players look broader or physically more imposing by printing their uniform numbers wider at the top and narrower moving down visually creating a broader shoulder.

Or 3D printing. What if kids knew what additive manufacturing or built-as-needed design was? The next wave in manufacturing for customer experience, retail and content licensing.

Combine modular and nested components to self organize and build from the bottom up.

How does it work? Athletes slip into one-piece body suits speckled with reference points while an optical scanner reads the bodysuit and builds a 3-D model of the athlete.

Designers then fit the padding to the digital model and adjust it on request for more protection or mobility depending on the athlete and their needs.

Form to function.

The designs are then sent to the 3D printer to print, try on and adjust.

The result? You have something NFL ready made awesome via STEM.

Biomimicry Biomimicry is a design discipline that studies and imitates nature’s best ideas to solve complex human problems.


Biomimicry example: For an animal that repeatedly slams its head in to tree trunks at 16 mph without cerebral trauma or concussions, the woodpeckers cranial anatomy provides a good example of biomimetic design. To disperse impact like the Riddle SpeedFlex helmet, the woodpecker has a plate-like patch of spongy bone called the cancellous bone at front of its skull that absorbs shock when hitting its head.

The bird also has a unique tongue structure that provides additional padding. Coming out the back of the throat, the tongue wraps around the skull and comes back into the mouth through the nose. Functionally this makes sense as the force of impact is ‘head on’. There is no twisting of the birds head.


Riddle SpeedFlex helmet

Visual tricks

3D printing

Understanding story: At the barn I ride at a young woman had a accident and timid to get back in the saddle I gave her my gloves. “Here, ride with these. They’re bulletproof.” Looking at me confused and sparing her the details I explain to her that the material the gloves are made out of are what we use to make bulletproof vests. I continue and disclose that her favorite riders “Yup, just like Carl and Charlotte,” use these gloves too.

I smile as she walks way because I’ve not only nudged her confidence in right direction via science, but I’ve given her something she can associate and relate to. A story that she we wears the same bulletproof gloves that her favorite athletes, the athletes, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin, that she aspires and looks up to.

Why the NFL? Athletes remind kids the dream is possible. It gives them something to aspire too.

Biomimicry Life Creates Conditions Conductive To Life

Nike Just Do It

Carl Hester:

Charlotte Dujardin:

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