Does your school need a new look for their sports teams’ jerseys? Maybe what they really need is the old look.
Many people and quite a few sports teams made some regrettable fashion decisions in the 90s. Colors weren’t just loud - they were screaming at you. Logos went beyond bold and brash, and got up in your face. Some teams even have changed their team colors or logo, discarding history for a passing trend.
We could get away with it then - everyone was doing it. But now, some professional and school teams have uniforms that need to be modernized.
Sometimes the best way to update your team’s look is to go back - back in team history and just back to basics. Here are a few pro teams that show how you can design a new look for your team’s jerseys by going back to a simpler time of classic tastes.
1. One color, one crest, one team
Chelsea Football Club is one of the most successful clubs in the English Premier League. The 2019/20 season was the 50th anniversary of their first victory in the FA Cup, the oldest soccer tournament in the world.
For Chelsea’s early rounds of the 2019/20 FA Cup, they wore a uniform that recalled that early triumph. The jerseys were simply blue: no stripes, no patterning, no subtle designs or trim. Just royal blue with an embroidered yellow lion, the club’s century-old logo. The players’ numbers, the trim on the shorts and their socks were yellow. Two colors - that’s it.
If your team’s uniforms seem to “busy,” go back to basics. All the way back. Back to when teams like Chelsea were named after their primary color: the Blues.
Particularly for sports that thrive on tradition like soccer, baseball, tennis and cross country, a single-color uniform with minimal secondary coloring as a trim on the socks and shorts is a way to unclutter your uniforms while locking in on your team’s brand and identity.
2. Recall your proudest seasons
Every school’s gym and stadium have banners and boards that list the team’s championship seasons. People can see at a glance how many titles you’ve won in each sport, and find those years when you built a dynasty.
What were the teams wearing when they hit those heights? Connect your team to their heritage of success by designing uniforms that pay tribute to those worn in the earlier title-winning days.
The Cleveland Browns have not had much winning to celebrate in recent decades. But the team and the community still take a lot of pride in their history. With their new uniforms, the year “1946” is stitched into the inside of the collar, marking the year the team was founded. The name “Browns” was removed from the front of the jersey, as the colors of the uniform and helmet are unmistakable on their own. And the stripes on the sleeves are a return to those from the mid-2000s.
Find a part of your school’s history that your team will want to connect to. Pull out the old yearbooks and see what the team was wearing then. Choose the best elements from those uniforms - maybe combine some ideas from two periods of success - add a simple, subtle touch like the year of your school’s founding or maybe the year of your first state championship, and you’ll have a truly timeless look.
3. Undo the damage of the old uniforms
Sometimes, sports uniforms just need a full reset. Shortly after their 25-year anniversary, the Buffalo Sabres hockey team started introducing new colors and new logos. Things got pretty bleak, as fans wondered how a blue-and-yellow team became a red-and-black team and then went back to blue (but a different blue) but with a logo some people called “the Slug.”
Coming off of their 50th season, the Sabres are righting all the wrongs by going back to those original uniforms that served them so well.
The Sabres are not just going for the broad strokes of a retro look. They are at the level of getting the exact hue right: the new uniforms will be royal blue, not navy blue. Buffalo hockey fans could barely be happier.
If you look at your school’s uniforms and can’t do much more than shake your head and say “How did this happen? Who let this happen?” then maybe it’s time just to pretend like it never did happen. Take the pressure of yourself to design something new by going back to what things were like before they went wrong. Maybe that’s a simpler look, maybe it’s a less comic book-looking logo or maybe it’s restoring the original, proper color palette.
Bonus points: Your student-athletes may not even know that it is a “retro” look, and they’ll think they are blazing new ground.
Let us help your team uniforms go back-to-basics
Need help? Have some yearbook pictures but need to see something real before you commit to a new design? Let us know. We’ll work with you at every step of the design process to make sure the colors, logos, trim and detail are all exactly right. Our team will match the right technologies to the design and the sport, so the next few generations of teams will all be proud to wear their school colors.