Details matter, just ask the coach or any of the players. And while they won't notice it as they’re going through play calls or in the midst of a comeback, details matter in sports team uniforms, too. Just ask the fans.
Here are a few tips to guide your eye to the details that will take the jerseys you’re designing from good enough to “Hey, can I get one of those to keep and another one for my sister?”
1. Use your sport to dot the i's and cross the t’s
Certain letters and certain sports lend themselves to a crossover. This can be a great way to not only inject some detail into a uniform, but to allow each team at your school to have something uniquely their own in the jersey.
If your team is the Redbirds, dot the “i” with your sport’s ball. The school will have a unified look with the same mascot, logo and colors, but the baseball team will have a baseball on their jersey; the tennis team will have a tennis ball on their warmups; the soccer team, likewise. Hockey? Put on a puck over that “i!”
Football? OK, maybe find a different detail for them.
Other ways letters and sports can combine: hockey sticks and baseball bats can cross the “t’s,” or can be crossed themselves to make an X. Hockey sticks can also be used as an underline beneath the team name.
2. Accent colors are the perfect trim
When art designers develop a color palette for a brand, they usually include one or two accent colors. These are very strong, usually bright colors that are to be used sparingly, even rarely, because when you do use them, they draw the eye. That makes them perfect for parts of the uniform that are already small and space-limited.
For example, if your team’s colors are black and orange, sky blue or teal would be a perfect accent as a stripe on the cuffs of the sleeves or the collar. Hockey jerseys that have laces at the neck are another great opportunity for accents, especially on away jerseys: the body of the jersey is in your main dark color (since white is reserved for the home team), so you can make the collar an accent color and keep the laces plain white. The white - against, say, a red or dark blue background - becomes another accent next to a bright yellow or gold collar.
By using them on part of the uniform that’s out of the way and doesn’t give you much room to work with, you can ensure they remain accents.
3. Take advantage of dye sublimation: Texture, shading and hue
Anything that you can design on Photoshop can be printed exactly as-is using dye sublimation. Go ahead and push the limits when designing custom sports jerseys by fading one color into another, using shadow effects or drawing sharp boundaries for stripes, chevrons or patterns.
Take your logo or a famous landmark from your town, for example, and fade it in a dark gray or a darker version of your primary color. For example, if your soccer jerseys are going to be royal blue, fade your logo down to 30-50% saturation in a navy blue. From a distance, it might not even be noticeable. When you get closer, you realize that the jerseys are more than just blue. When you get up close, everyone will pay attention to your attention to detail.
4. Know the sport-by-sport uniform features you have to work with
The more you get to know sports uniforms, the more you realize that they are not uniform from one team to the next, let alone across sports. We mentioned earlier the option of having laces on the neck of a hockey jersey. If you don’t want laces, do you want a V-neck, crew neck or wide pseudo-V-neck? How will the shape affect your ideas on colors?
If you’re designing baseball uniforms, your choice of pant length will determine how important the detail on the socks are.
Basketball uniforms seem easy, right? They’re just tank tops? Nope. You’ll get to design the trim around the neck, the arm cutouts and the side panels beneath the arm cutouts. And then do it again for the shorts!
Each decision brings a different assortment of options to customize.It seems like a lot, but like anything else to do with sports, once you get started you’ll love discovering the details and nuances that make it all so great.
And like sports, you don’t have to do this alone. You have a team behind you: us! Let us know where you’re having difficulties, what’s on your mind and what we offer so you can design jerseys that are professional in every detail.