Branding International Squash Above the Tin of Grand Central - The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions

Every January for 20 years, Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall has been transformed to the world’s Mecca of squash. The men and women of Professional Squash showcase their very best, and champions are crowned. This was the backdrop DBC sought to brand for the 20th anniversary of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in Grand Central Terminal.

Anniversaries are great reasons to enhance the brand of an event. They present a break from “the norm” that a long running event can develop. Not only can a milestone help to differentiate an event from previous and future years, but they also generate additional interest in the event’s brand, its sponsors and partners, and the people that consistently bring the event back year in and out.

An anniversary should be anything but the status quo. With this in mind, we embarked on our brand journey with this goal statement:

This year, we celebrate all the champions 

Celebratory of both the history and growth of TOC, our brand became a retrospective of winning. We quickly expanded our focus to champions past, incorporating champions from TOC’s early days in the 1930s through the 20th century, including the first women to compete in the 1980s.

These became our visual elements. The impact they made in the Squash World was evident and tying it all together was a familiar sight at Grand Central: The herringbone tiles that align the walls, ceilings and arches.

Finding imagery was only half of the approach. We definitely believe that sports anniversaries should be commemorated with a logo. This mark pulls the brand and its history together in one succinct visual tool. It gets used on apparel, made into stickers and patches and graces the tickets and badges for the event. The anniversary brings it all together.

Take a look at the logo we created for this year.

Logo Work-Up.png

This was very different than the approach we take with modern standalone brands. We increased the level of detail, including the highly intricate windows of Grand Central Terminal. It presented especially well in large format. Still, from any distance, J.P. Morgan, the tournament’s title sponsor, is very visible, and maximizes brand recognition.

Once we had the brand built, we we on to implementation.


Proper Brand Implementation is especially important in event branding. Ensuring each deliverable is in the right location, at the right time is tricky, but invaluable. The sheer amount of print and digital collateral for a sports tournament requires us to be extremely organized and timely.

All hands on deck

Jess working on TOC 2017 - DBC Brand Design

Each member of the team played an important role in the implementation phase. From packing posters/postcards and shipping them around the tri-state area, to collecting and tracking ads submitted for the 20th Anniversary Program, each deliverable arrived on time, even with the typical heart attack moments that come with the territory of event planning.


Speaking of the Program

We were able to exercise our layout muscles in designing this year’s program. From the special edition cover, to letters from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Bill Deblasio to a feature article written by James Zug, our process really focused on getting TOC the big sports feel it deserved its program.

I'll let James Zug describe it for you. From his blog:


I wrote the feature story for the ToC’s program, but the best part of the  program might have the brilliant cover. Carlos Williams at Studio DBC designed the cover, as well as the ToC poster, VIP tickets and folders and twentieth-anniversary logo. The cover featured nine past ToC winners, ranging from Sharif Khan in the 1970s, Jahangir Khan and Mark Talbott from the 1980s to last year’s winners. It was a neat way to visually encapsulate the ToC’s eighty-three year history.


The results are in

This was our second go-round with TOC. We took a lot of things we learned at TOC 2016, and made them more efficient and effective for the 20th Anniversary.

We sourced new suppliers and manufacturers, streamlined the program creation process, and took charge of a lot of fulfillment on our side.

Our efforts did not go unnoticed. John Nimick, producer of the event and President of Squash Engine, has been our point of contact for these run of Squash Tournaments, and he's quite keen of us.

Carlos Williams and DBC are creative, responsive and quick, qualities that are very important in the event business, and they treat a client very personally.

And they were able to save us quite a bit on printing costs, as much as 25%

DBC is a brand design and implementation studio. Having successfully branded events, small and large, we’re the partners you're looking for to grow your event’s reach, prestige and revenue. Are you ready to work with DBC on your event brand?