59 designers compete for Kaepernick's site

Colin Kapernick's website is getting overhauled and the general public is helping with the design. www.kaepernick7.com

Colin Kaepernick came up five yards short in the Super Bowl, but that hasn’t stopped Kaepernick’s creativity or the people in charge of his branding and marketing.

The San Francisco quarterback, who made news thanks to his tattoos long before the 49ers won the NFC championship, appeared to be back at it again when it came to the addition of some fresh ink. He posted this photo on his Instagram page early Thursday.

From kaepernick7 via Instagram.

Kaepernick’s management team recently secured the domain name www.kaepernick.7.com and launched the site two weeks ago. While much of his success on the field -- starting with Jim Harbaugh’s decision to stay with Kaepernick over Alex Smith as the starting quarterback for the 49ers -- may have been a surprise to some, the development of his off-the-field presence remains a very deliberate and calculated process.

The latest example is the design and execution of the kapernick7.com site. Kaepernick's team hired Chicago-based web development and sports internet marketing firm Athlete Web Design to create and manage the site, while its actual design will come (at least in part) as a result of a contest run by 99designs.com.

“We wanted to get as many great ideas as we could from 99designs’ design community, including some of Colin’s designer fans,” said Tim Evans, president of Athlete Web Design.

When announcing the contest on Feb. 1, 99designs.com added this note of optimism: “Note to designers: Be prepared to add an image of the Lombardi Trophy to your design if things go the way they should!”

Shawn Smith of X-A-M Sports, Kaepernick's marketing arm, said the site will not be fully launched until everything is just the way Kaepernick wants it to be.

“We are calculated, controlled and read all our progressions -- just like the QB himself," Smith said. "We check out the whole field and make decisions from there.”

The contest ended with 364 designs from 59 designers. Fans can check out some of the proposed designs here.


Speaking of dual-threat quarterbacks, Micah Thomas of North Shore High School in Houston signed with Utah on Wednesday and /then took to Twitter to let the rest of the Pac-12 know what they were in for:

Thomas, 6-1, 180 pounds, led the Mustangs (13-2) to the Texas Region 3 final in 2012. He threw for 849 yards and six TDs last season while running for 734 yards and 10 TDs. Sound familiar, 49ers fans? Thomas’ social media swagger got plenty of reaction:

He got lots of love, especially from Utah supporters.

Eventually, he had other priorities.

Bill Speros is an ESPN.com contributor. He can be reached on Twitter @billsperos or via e-mail at bsperos1@gmail.com.