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As Vice President of Design at Major League Baseball, Anne (Bender) Occi ’77 oversees the branding and design of everything from logos and patches to jerseys and banners for all 30 ball clubs.
Occi graduated Moore with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in advertising. She started in advertising as an art director, then worked as the marketing and communications director for Adidas before joining Major League Baseball in 1990, just in time to assist the Philadelphia Phillies in the redesign for the uniforms they still wear today.
“It was with the Adidas account that I first got interested in sports,” Occi told a group of students Thursday at Moore. “I loved it. I worked on the ’84 Olympics (for which Adidas was a sponsor) and got to produce the “Spirit of the Games (logo).”
Today, she runs her own in-house design department of seven designers at Major League Baseball. “I’m in charge of the look of the game,” she said. That includes working with clubs on their uniforms and any new logo launches or brand identity campaigns.
“I also do the packaging for any of our ‘jewel’ events, like the World Series or the All-Star Game, where we go in and package a city under those themes,” she said. “We work with the cities and the mayor to decorate the streets, hotels, and of course the ballpark.”
Occi is also responsible for the design of the MLB Fan Cave in NYC, a social media experience for Major League Baseball. It’s a place where a select group of fans gather to watch every single game while chronicling their experiences online through videos, blogs and social media. The fan cave is redesigned each year.
“The design of the space is a really refreshing experience,” Occi said. “We bring together a whole group of designers and look for our décor and what’s hot in trends. We also work with artists to create pieces for us. One of the subjects we studied at Moore was to follow trends. This social media experience brings all that education.”
Occi said that being a student at Moore taught her discipline, work ethic and how to “put my design forward.”
“The critiques were the number one thing,” she said. “The ability to articulate why I designed something the way I did while also critiquing others…has been really instrumental to my being an effective manager. I can look at employees and without insulting them give them feedback on what they’re working on.”
She said her favorite thing about her job is that “every day is something different.”
“I actually love the combination of design and sports,” she said. “Sports is always changing, you never know what’s going to happen, what teams will be hot, what players are going to come forth. In my life, baseball is the perfect mix with my talent.”