As a student at UNC Greensboro in the early 2000s, DJ Summitt rarely missed a women’s or men’s soccer game. He has fond memories of cheering on the Spartans against Furman’s Clint Dempsey – now an American soccer legend – and traveling across the state and beyond to support the women.

So when the avid soccer fan walked into a bar a few weeks ago and saw his motion graphic work for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on the TV screen, it was a special moment.

Summitt has built an impressive resume since graduating in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in media studies. He’s worked on feature films and has produced promotion and in-show graphics for a number of TV shows, including “CSI” and “Survivor.” He also spent seven years as a creative director at HP.

About a year ago, Summitt decided to build his own motion design business. A few months later, he landed the kind of project that all designers (and diehard soccer fans) dream about: the World Cup.

Throughout the winter and spring, Summitt worked with a team of designers on the final production of motion graphics for FOX’s broadcast of the World Cup. The graphics you see in the lower third of the screen, the flags of each country, the different transitions – much of this work has been touched by Summitt.

“It’s been an honor. I learned so much on this project,” he said. “The way those graphics are created is different than anything I’ve done before. It gives you confidence, working on a project of that scale and caliber.”

Motion design in its current form didn’t exist when Summitt was a student at UNCG. However, the basic principles of visual storytelling haven’t changed.

“Professor Matthew Barr really taught me a lot about how to emotionally frame an image and a story,” he said. “I have a foundation that a lot of motion designers don’t have.”

Currently, Summitt is working on a feature film and a pilot, designing videos for a biotech firm in California, and planning for some big upcoming projects.

And, of course, he’s watching as much of the World Cup as he can.

His advice for students is this:

“Every job has been around in some capacity for millennia. A thousand years ago we didn’t have motion designers, but we did have storytellers and artists. Figure out how people used to do your job, and learn those fundamentals. You want to compete not with technology or price, but with ideas.”

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography provided by DJ Summitt