Matthew Lew Takes on Ticketmaster

Proposed redesign captured attention of Ticketmaster design team!

Matthew Lew’s love of music has turned him into a bit of a design rock star.

In fall 2013, the CCA student (Graphic Design 2015) received a Typography 3 assignment from faculty member David Asari. Lew’s project, a total redesign of the iconic Ticketmaster ticket, got him ink in two leading magazines, Fast Company and Wired, and attention from business leaders and numerous designers, from Facebook to Dropbox, TicPic, Eventbrite, and yes, Jared Smith, the North American president of Ticketmaster.

Lew chose to reconsider Ticketmaster tickets because of his love of concerts. “The design is as old as the cassette tape; they are difficult to read and visually do not give any justice to the experience of live entertainment. It’s the only major ticket service that still prints tickets, and it lacks suitable anti-counterfeiting measures.”

Learn more about Lew’s redesign »

The assignment was to provide a written summary proposing a project topic and thesis that would trigger a reaction for an unaddressed problem. The response had to be clear and succinct, identify the primary audience, and describe a point of view.

Using their design skills, students had to also address how their project fit into a larger communication system or campaign.

When considering a fresh new face for tickets, Lew decided to reduce redundant seat information from three to one, and shrunk the physical size to fit inside your wallet like a business card.

He also switched the “all caps” type treatment to make the tickets easier to read in dark environments and more attractive for a keepsake.

Designing Momentos

Says Lew: “I found myself, over the course of this, reconsidering physical objects. How can you make an object more functional for its purpose while still maintaining, or even increasing, the emotional attachment it inspires?

“The class critiques helped me verbalize what I was trying to achieve. Many of them love going to concerts and their opinion as a user guided my decisions. An overwhelming response said that they keep their physical concert tickets because digital tickets and print-at-home tickets don’t look good on a wall or in a box.”

Smith of Ticketmaster saw Lew’s blog post outlining his ideas and in January 2014 flew him to Los Angeles to meet with the Ticketmaster design team and tour their offices.

“They are located in the heart of the entertainment industry, right on Hollywood Boulevard. The lead designers for UX and UI teams showed me their passion in turning over a 30-year-old company to provide a seamless ticketing experience with current technology for consumers and businesses.”

Faculty Point of View

Asari says, “The best projects in this course relate to real-world situations and topics, and contribute, constructively, to culture and society. I appreciated the clarity and confidence of Matthew’s Ticketmaster proposal. He did a great job of communicating his concept -- explaining the reasoning behind each design choice in terms of form and function.

“He recognized the emotional aspect of the experience of concert-going, and how it offered a chance to imbue an artifact -- the physical paper ticket -- with greater symbolic and emotional value for the ticketholder. And how doing that well would be an opportunity to increase the brand value and popular perception of Ticketmaster.

“Matthew understands the importance of storytelling, and the impact of the project had a great deal to do with how he told his story. He was very aware when it came to his choice of a blog post as the right vehicle, the right medium.”

Not only is Lew is a recipient of the Joseph Koret Scholarship at CCA, established to support talented and deserving students from the Bay Area, but he’s also making career inroads. His provocative callout to Ticketmaster has garnered him a variety of opportunities, including a secured summer 2014 internship with Eventbrite.