Michael Benford, is entering his 13th year with the Atlanta Falcons and currently serves as the club’s Creative Services Manager.
Benford oversees the team’s creative staff and freelance contributors as well as executes the creative direction and production of Falcons franchise-related projects. These responsibilities include designing, maintaining and enforcing brand consistency as well as setting standards and developing controls when the team’s marks and logos are used internally by department, outside partners and vendors. Benford is credited for taking the Falcons’ Rise Up theme and developing a fresh look and feel for it every season, from the club’s game program and hard season tickets to Atlanta Falcons.com and such sponsor activations as one of the city’s main Marta stations to Falcons Landing which sits next to the Georgia Dome and is packed with fans before every game.
Benford also oversees this process for the Arthur Blank Family of Businesses, which includes the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium and Atlanta United FC, the city’s new Major League Soccer (MLS) club in addition to Westside Works and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Benford has been instrumental in taking the artistic renderings of the new stadium, working, designing and implementing them for sales and marketing materials for different platforms including print and digital.
Benford has an eye for photography, having led a team of more 50 during the annual shooting of the Falcons cheerleaders’ calendar and in 2011 became one of the game-day photographers for the Falcons with the purpose of capturing images to support his creative vision for the team. He recently visited Cuba where he further developed his photography skills and expanded his love for the camera.
Prior to coming to the Falcons in 2002, Benford worked for Ignite Sports Media, where he was involved in the design and maintenance of web properties for professional sports teams which included 13 NFL clubs including the Falcons as well as the Major League Baseball and NHL sites.
Also, Benford owned and operated Benford Creative, a small design agency that worked with key players in the sports and entertainment industry. Clients included former New York Yankee Alfonso Soriano, entertainment icon Usher and his “New Look Foundation” and Major League Baseball pitcher Ryan Dempster’s “Family Foundation and Generation On.’’
A passionate creative Benford takes pride in identifying, developing and coaching young creative talent and often hosts creative happy hours or tweet ups in an effort to bring the Atlanta area creative community together.
Growing up in Matawan, NJ, Benford’s creativity began at a young age. He started mastering the guitar and attended the Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL., an entertainment, media and arts school. As a left-handed guitarist, he spent five years on the road as the lead guitarist for the band “Without Love’’, traveling up and down the east coast opening for national rock artists.
Benford continues to dabble in music and travel to various cities shooting photos as well as working on personal design projects.