Michigan State football fans need no introduction to Darius Snow — a current defensive back for the Spartans, and the son of former MSU point guard Eric Snow and nephew of former MSU linebacker Percy Snow. But what some Spartans fans may not know about the young Snow is that he is also extremely skilled off of the football field in the area of graphic design.
Snow, a graphic design major who has spent time working with the Michigan State football creative department, has recently showed off some of his impressive graphics on social media.
So when the NCAA passed a temporary solution to allow student-athletes to make money off of their name, image and likeness (NIL), Snow had something to offer that not every other student-athlete looking to cash in on NIL can bring to the table. Thanks to his ever-evolving graphic design talent, Snow can now use his skills as a paid service, and that is exactly what he did.
On Wednesday, Snow, along with Michigan State alumnus Steve Keller, have officially launched a brand new apparel brand with a focus on Spartans fans. The brand is fittingly named “The Dawg Outlet,” and Snow creates logos and T-shirt designs, while also helping Keller out with the business strategy.
Keller is the owner of the company. He is a 2010 graduate from Michigan State with a degree in Media, Arts and Technology with a focus on TV, Radio and Film.
Snow, meanwhile, gets paid for his designs and logos, and also gets a portion of all sales from The Dawg Outlet, regardless of if he made the design on the purchased product or not (he has not created all of the logos or text designs on every product).
“It’s a way for me to personally develop something that Spartans everywhere can attain,” Snow said about why he is excited to launch The Dawg Outlet brand.
The Dawg Outlet offers various Spartan-inspired designs in its T-shirts and tank tops selection, such as the classic premium “No Fly Zone” T-shirt that Snow designed (the shirt is also available in other colors or in a “grunge” style). The company actually uses Amazon as its fulfillment partner.
For Snow, he is using the opportunity to hone his craft and create meaningful products for Spartans fans, while also taking advantage of the new NIL rules. Additionally, this will give Snow a great experience for his future endeavors.
“The designs at hand are more ‘logo’ type designs, which is something I’m growing more into,” Snow said about creating the designs for the products. “I’d like to say I’m advanced in the graphic area, but this opportunity will definitely aid the growth and skill of my logo creations.”
Keller — a former ESPN employee and current freelance steadicam operator and business owner who has previously worked Rose Bowls, Big Ten championship games, the Masters Tournament and more — knew that Snow would be the perfect person to work with for his latest venture.
Snow actually came up with “The Dawg Outlet” name and designed the logo for the brand (which can be seen in the feature image of this story).
“Once NIL dropped I immediately thought of Darius Snow because I always thought I should just hire an MSU student to make the designs (for this company idea),” Keller said. “And that’s when I reached out to him via email and Twitter DM. I pitched him the idea and he was immediately in. I saw his design stuff on social and knew this could be a perfect fit. We kept the conversation going and eventually he came up with the brand name and then created the logo. Ever since then it’s really been a team effort to put this all together.”
Snow is extremely excited to help launch The Dawg Outlet and work with the brand. He also sees it as an opportunity to better connect with fans.
“It’s unique and it’s for the people,” Snow said, excitedly. “At some point down the line we will open design ideas to the public and maybe even bring a fan favorite to life.”
Keller agrees with Snow, and is specifically excited to offer products following key moments in the athletics world.
“Fans can expect a quality and responsive brand that listens to what the consumers want and actually delivers it,” Keller added. “Put it this way…if our brand had existed on October 17, 2015 we’d have had a ‘trouble with the snap’ shirt available before the end of that day. We have something fun planned related to that actually that we will drop some time before the week we play that school down the road, so stay tuned!”
Keller, who said Snow is “super talented” and that “it was a long time coming” regarding student-athletes being able to make money off of NIL, came up with the apparel brand idea from a fan’s perspective. While the apparel world can certainly be a crowded space, he saw a specific need in the marketplace and came up with a solution.
“The brand means a lot to me because these are products that I wanted as a fan that didn’t exist, so it’s cool to bring that to life selfishly for myself, but also for the rest of Spartan Nation,” Keller said.
“One of the things I think that will set us apart from other apparel companies is our ability to get new designs out quickly and then having Amazon as our fulfillment partner will allow our customers to get quality products fast through a trusted online retailer that has the best possible customer service. Ultimately when something crazy happens in the world of Spartan Athletics, I want people to think to themselves ‘Man I bet The Dawg Outlet is about to release a new design about this.’ And they’ll probably be right.”
As of right now, only T-shirts, tank tops and women’s V-necks are available through The Dawg Outlet, although Keller and Snow plan to add plenty of new designs and merchandise very soon. Future products may include hoodies, zip-ups, sweatshirts, long-sleeve shirts, phone cases, pop sockets, tote bags and more.
Editor’s Note: This article is not the result of an affiliate partnership between The Only Colors and The Dawg Outlet. Neither The Only Colors nor SB Nation/Vox Media is receiving payment for this post, and will not receive any affiliate revenue for any items purchased directly from links from this story. The Only Colors did not pay any student-athletes for the exclusive rights to this story or for their participation within the story.