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Jesse Bodell: Designer for Periscope

Jesse Bodell  

Nine months after graduating from UMD with a B.F.A. in graphic design, Jesse Bodell (’00) started working at Periscope, an independent advertising agency with offices in Minneapolis, Hong Kong, and Delhi. Their diverse client list includes: United Health Group, Arctic Cat, and the Minnesota Twins.

A native of Hermantown, Minn., and a lifelong baseball fan, Bodell says, “The client I enjoy most is the Twins. It’s glamorous; it's baseball; and it's fun.”

He executes the branding for the Minnesota Twins, and it gets a facelift every year. "I realized just how special this job was when I attended a game during my first year on the Twins account," Bodell said. “I held a real ticket that I designed, one of nearly 2.5 million others. It was a great feeling seeing others smiling as they inspected the details." Bodell designed 12 versions of the ticket so people could collect them.

Each year, Bodell and his team design a package to entice fans to purchase season tickets. The design of that marketing campaign drives the identity for the coming year. From a 2006 “Twins Territory” vintage poster art feel to the 2008 modern, urban ballpark look featuring illustration, Bodell keeps it fresh.

Bodell’s heart is in the work. When Twins management approached him to create a commemorative mark in tribute to center field great, Kirby Puckett, Bodell was grateful for the opportunity. “Other than my dad, Kirby Puckett was my hero,” Bodell said.

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Bodell's tribute to Kirby Puckett Bodell's Twins banners
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Twins box seat ticket holders were sent construction hardhats while Target Field was being built. Twins 50th Anniversary book.

Bodell and Periscope contributed to much of the signage around the ballpark, such as banners ringing the stadium commemorating the Twins division and world titles and a 700-foot mural featuring baseball cards of former Twins greats. The numbers speak for the work. Attendance in the Metrodome grew from 1.75 million to 2.5 million while Bodell worked with the Twins. In Target Field, attendance is over 3 million, and ESPN named Target Field the number one fan experience in all of major league sports for 2010.

A poster for the 2008 Twins season

He has other great clients. “We get to do the most amazing photo shoots for Arctic Cat,” Bodell said. In order to show new snowmobile technology, they travel into the mountains above Jackson Hole, Wyo. “We bring in some of the best action sports photographers and riders in the country. In the middle of nowhere on the top of that mountain, the crazy stuff they do is incredible. The scenery is also some of the most picturesque on earth.”

A full range of UMD art classes helped Bodell. “I took painting, illustration, printmaking, screen printing, drawing, ceramics, among others,” he said. “In all of them, I learned attention to detail and commitment to quality. I did the best I could do in every piece that I worked on.” Bodell said he worked for months refining the portfolio pieces he showed at his Periscope interview.

Bodell has advice for students. “Go above and beyond, because that's what it takes to make it as a designer,” he said. Bodell did more than his teachers assigned. “I made up my own projects. I pushed myself beyond the classroom. There are a lot of really talented people in this competitive job market, and a new designer has to be ready with a polished portfolio.”

Bodell, who recently married Lora Sweezy, says it's hard to think of working anywhere other than Periscope. Maybe the dogs in the building have something to do with it. Employees can bring their dogs to work. “Periscope has a relaxed attitude. Their design aesthetics match my interests, and they go the extra mile. That feels right. I love sports,” he said. “During lunch, you'll find me out playing hockey, basketball, or football with fellow employees. Periscope also gave me the opportunity to work with something I Iove.”

Written by Cheryl Reitan. August, 2011

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