Category Archives: Flags, Symbols, and Crests

The Kit Post – 2020

This is a bit delayed what with so much more Detroit City than we’ve ever had before. This is the sixth Kit Post and it’s the closest to it’s actual year, though I am unsure if Detroit get’s its new kits before the Spring session of NISA or before the premier of our women’s (!!!) team in the summer. Or, alternatively, after the women’s season and before the start of the 2020/21 season of NISA.

If I had to guess, it’d be option number three. Anyway, let’s cut the chaff and get to this, shall we?

For the uninitiated every year after the DCFC season ends, I write up a review of the previous kits (or current as it might very well be) and draw up some potential designs for the upcoming season (hence the title being a year in the future).

The post from previous years can be found here:

2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019


First, for the interested, you can actually see a wiki-fied list of Detroit City’s kits in as many combinations as I could remember. If you know of any other combinations, let me know! Especially if you have photographic evidence. I’d love to build a robust list. Some of the designs are not quite up to snuff, but I’d like to fix that in my free time over the next year.

So we didn’t go all out with our home kits, as I “predicted”, rather quite the opposite – DCFC returned to the dark purply maroon with a simple, clean kit with the dark red used in the piping elements on all three (the socks I’m not 100% about, tbh) pieces of the kit. Initially I think this caused a bit of a stir after a number of years of more complicated kits. The last time we wore plain kits were the much more off-the-shelf Nike kits of 2016.

The away kits were certainly a thing, though. White bodied and red sleeved, they used the red in the piping and after a humorous mistake by Toledo, appeared in the “Kit Man Moi combination” using the red shorts and socks in order to prevent a clash. These were certainly a thing to behold, beautiful even, in their simplicity without just being plain white. I loved the look personally, even though I didn’t get one from the store.

Lastly, this is the first time Detroit City has ever had a true “alternate” kit, and boy were they better than anyone could ever imagine. Pure black with gold piping. What a marvelous look for the club and I’m so happy they got to be used more than once. The boys in rouge looked absolutely stunning in black.

With three solid hits, it’s almost impossible for me to imagine what could be next. And that isn’t just a remark about kits, that’s also a remark about everything. The season was spectacular. Top of the table, Midwest finals, Members Cup champion. Our new Gaffa created a powerful side that played well and looked like a cohesive team, something I think was sorely missing the last few seasons.

But let’s give it a try anyway, shall we?


Anyway, the usual disclaimers before we continue:

  • I don’t work for the DCFC front office
  • The DCFC front office fucks with me
  • Kits shown here are not official direction
  • Logos, league, and sponsors are used without permission
  • Sponsors and league are not official or necessarily endorsed by our front office
  • The reality of 2020 might be very different than what I predict here, I love the challenge regardless

First things first.

Hummel?

Or Adidas?

Obviously for my kits it doesn’t matter, but for the unaware, NISA has signed a preferred supplier deal with Danish kit maker Hummel. This deal, as far as this writer is aware, basically gives teams access to cheaper, customizable kits from a supplier large enough to handle the quantities needed while allowing other teams to choose other suppliers if so desired.

Here’s the thing. I like Adidas, but I also understand that they are expensive and that their recent batch of templates leave a lot to be desired, especially in an era where even most small suppliers offer full sublimation of kits at a fraction of the cost of Adidas’ prices. A savings which can hopefully bring kit costs back to a more reasonable $50 or $60.

Hummel also was a leader in the sport hijab business as the main supplier for the Afghan Women’s NT. We’d be partnered with a company that holds many of our ideals and has partnered with some big names.

I guess what I’m saying is – if DCFC ditches Adidas for Hummel, I won’t lose much sleep over it. And hopefully I can afford more kits, which isn’t that just swell?


Okay, moving on to the part that I’m sure you’re all actually interested in, my 2020 designs for the Detroit City FC kits.


The Home Kit

Despite some earlier comments on thinking of going 90s, I ended up retreating from that pretty quickly. My focus on neotraditional design is pretty incompatible with the variety of design that embodied the 90s in football and despite doing some research, I don’t think it’s an æsthetic I could replicate in the time frame I had set aside for this project.

Here I went with a rather clean design, focusing only on trim and small flourishes. I touched up the collar and cuffs with a dark maroon, small touches of gold. On the left shoulder, a gradient of fleurs de lys come down roughly in line with the crest and are echoed in the socks with a very faint pattern there as well as the two gold stripes.

I like the over-all feel of this kit, though it is not my favorite from the three this year. It’s simple without being plain; the elements like the fleurs and the gold flashes on the neck and cuffs given extra weight from a design that isn’t fighting itself for your attention.


The Away Kit

This was the first kit I finished this year and it’s arguably my favorite. There’s a different sort of feeling when you work on a home kit than an away kit an especially a clash/alternative kit.

When asking for ideas for the home kit, I got some suggestions for sure, but there were definitely some ideas where I thought to myself, “I’d rather not start a riot.” Home kits are sacred territory and making big, uncalled-for changes can get a certain reaction from a fan base.

Away kits, though, have a bit of leeway and I wanted to play with that leeway this year. This idea struck me while doing research on historicalkits.co.uk, Specifically I was looking at Hearts kits and I noticed the black socks with maroon and white hoops on many of their kits back in the teens through 1940s. The idea of combining those with a white and maroon hooped kit was too much to resist, so here we are.


The Clash/Alternative Kit

This final kit was going to be an important piece of the puzzle. Alternate kits are used to fill any gaps between the home and away kits when it comes to color. It is easy to see a situation where the rouge home and the white/rouge away kits are both ruled to be ‘clashing’ with another team’s, for example that’s what happened with the game against Toledo at Keyworth.

I think these pretty much fill the gaps.

It’s sort of a take on the alternates from this year with a pretty obvious tweak. We’ve done gold and white a number of times and it’s not a bad look, but black and gold look so damn good together, and it’d be true even if I wasn’t a Boilermaker. I followed New Balance and went with half-and-half socks, this time with a bit of a chance to transition from one to the other without looking like the sock was accidentally only dipped halfway into the dye. The crest is in alternate colors, this time majority gold with the statue in black.

The sash, probably the most prominent feature here, was actually a late addition, spurred on by the suggestion that the gold felt empty. I do think lighter colors are more at a risk of feeling empty than dark. Instead of fading normally, it actually pixelates out of existence as it goes up to the shoulder, which is what gave me the idea of making the fleurs de lys on the home kit fade out quickly going the opposite way.

They, in a way, echo each other.


So that’s all she wrote, my friends! Another annual Kit Nerd Post come and gone.

As always, I hope everyone enjoyed the read and loves the designs, if you have any comments feel free to reach out via twitter. I’d love to hear your thoughts or any other ideas you might have. If you’re interested in perhaps having me work on some kits for you, you can check out my kit design commission page with details such as pricing and what to expect.

I wish everyone a happy holidays and hope to be post more soon!

Cheers.

Eleventh Warrior Appears

A while ago, I posted a set of eleven kits for the eleven members of the still-to-be-renamed NPSLPro’s Founders Cup, which kicks off in August. The Founder’s Cup, for the uninitiated, is basically a trial run of the NPSLPro before the league actually kicks off and is divided into East and West divisions.

But before even the NPSL amateur season could kick off, there’s already been some changes with that original eleven line-up. Weeks after NISA gained (provisional?) tier 3 status, Cal United tucked and rolled from the group. While nothing official has been confirmed, there have been some rumblings of them and at least one other team some had tagged for NPSLPro-ship are realigning their interests with NISA rather than NPSLPro.

Suddenly, our eleven were down to ten… until a second eleventh appeared on the horizon: Napa Valley 1839 FC.

Napa 1839 is an interesting, if little head-cocking, addition to the line-up. When creating what is essentially a punk-rock soccer league, the wine-mum club seems to stand out a bit, but then again there are already a few clubs that might be wrecking the vibes for some people; Milwaukee and Phoenix especially.

I’ve actually designed kits for Napa in the past on my twitter account, which they kindly responded to. In my previous design, I went with a bottle green/primary, marlot/alternate set up. They actually seemed to take this into consideration and when their second kits were unveiled they were green/primary and a red/white combo for the alternate. So starting with that, I’ve come up with a set to join the other ten (plus one).

Napa Valley 1839 FC

For the home kits, I wanted to stick with the two-tone green combo that’s on Napa’s crest, which is one of my favorite in the NPSL. I know that it’s a little cheesy, but the Napa Valley front office seems to have a good sense of humor about it all, which I can respect. Hopefully they get that my “mummy’s chalkboard art” aesthetic above comes from a place of brotherly love and not malice. The other thing I wanted to do with both the primary and secondary kits was give it a watermark look using a sublimation process – here it’s some grapevine art picked up from Freepik. Accreditation done, the secondary goes to that red/white combo that Napa is already using, and reduces the water marking to just the shorts and the left shoulder, just off the crest.

So that gets us caught back up on the eleven teams in the Founders Cup. Welcome Napa Valley to the family. I look forward to the chance to beat you and then share a lovely Chardonnay.

The Founders Cup – Eleven Warriors Assemble

Happy Holidays, everyone.

I hope everyone has been enjoying at least a few days off, or if you haven’t, that your days have been slow enough to be at least a little regenerative.

Been a pretty low-key vacation time for me. Writing has been put on a back-burner for a while as I recover my creative reserves and what better way to recover one’s creative reserves than other creative projects you’ve been knocking around in the noggin for a month or so?

Not long ago, Detroit City and ten other clubs announced the long-anticipated NPSL Founders Cup. These eleven clubs have elected to go pro for a bit of a pace lap before a fuller professional league kicks off in the 2020 season. The list of clubs included some no-duh clubs like Cosmos, Detroit City, and Chattanooga as well as some surprises like Albion SC, Torrent, and Miami United. I was actually surprised at some missing names, but they might be aiming more at 2020 than 2019.

So eleven teams total, split into East (6) and West (5) divisions. As far as I am aware right now they will only play within their group with no idea if there will be a EvW Champion match.

What better way to keep people going in these long dark days while we wait for some announcement than to make some unofficial home/away kits for all eleven teams?

None.

None ways.

So here we go folks, strap in!

NPSL Founders Cup – EAST

Chattanooga Football Club

For our friends in Tennessee, I went with a pretty standard home kit, focusing on the dark/light contrast in the blue of their crest. I know in the past they’ve had some interesting takes on these, but I wanted to come back to basics for at least a season. For their aways, I looked at some recent kits they’ve used and went with a contrasting white/yellow get-up with a full collar. The small touch of sky blue in the collar works well breaking up the top of the kit.

Detroit City Football Club

I know that I already did Detroit City recently, but I am always excited to give it another shot. I spoke a bit with the FO about next season’s kits, and I’ll keep it under wraps, mostly because you all know how much they love fucking with me.

Mr. Wright, if you’re reading. Here. Order these.

Anyway, for the homes I went a little out of the usual comfort zone for a plain rouge kit with darker accents, framed in gold. Generally DCFC home kits are pure rouge with two-tone touches. The away kit is white with some rouge touches to keep it from falling into an overly plain hell. The pinstriping is a nice touch, I think, and creates a look that is pretty unique in our history.

Miami Football Club

Miami FC are an interesting kit team because their home kit colors aren’t the same shades as their crest. It creates a unique look with a lot of possible variations. In the past they’ve used orange socks, but here I went with sky blue and orange stripes. The away kit, though, does take on the crest colors with only a tiny touch of the sky blue in the pipe cuffing of the sleeves.

Miami United Football Club

Miami United FC was one of those clubs that surprised me in the announcements, however I love working with their neon color scheme which is one of my favorites in soccer anywhere. I actually toned it down from their current rugby-styled tri-color hoops, which are chef kiss amazing. Here I tried out my new henley template and tried to keep them as far from the other Miami in look as I possibly could. Home went high-contrast, and the away took on a traditional European look that shouldn’t be unfamiliar if you read this year’s kit day post.

Milwaukee Torrent

Milwaukee Torrent was another name that surprised me when I read it. Having traveled there two seasons ago, I wasn’t impressed with the turnout. The bar literally across the street hadn’t even heard of them, so… ramp up the marketing. Torrent have a very interesting silver and blue color scheme, and in 2018 not only did they use a half-and-half top, but half-and-half pants as well! Here I went with another rare look in the US: asymetrical stripes, then for home and away I stuck with the pattern but swapped the colors around. Changing out the blue for the white (instead of just swapping white for black) gives enough contrast to prevent clashing.

New York Cosmos

The Cosmos (long may they be fucked), are certainly the most storied of the clubs in the Founders Cup. I believe they’ve actually already unveiled their kits, but I hadn’t actually been paying much attention. As far as I am aware, both Inaria and myself came to the same conclusion – there’s too much blue in the NPSL Founders Cup. Instead of the normal blue, I went with green for the home kits, based on a design I did quite a while ago for the “Green Mountain Boys” of Vermont plus a small navy detail so it wasn’t devoid of navy. The aways are tied to the home with the navy collar, but otherwise are a simple top/shorts+socks contrast game.

NPSL Founders Cup – WEST

Albion Soccer Club San Diego

I’ve actually interacted with Albion before on twitter, when I remarked that their grey-colored crest was very interesting, and tried to design some kits around that color scheme. Their twitter account reached out to tell me that they actually had a traditional look that they used and I checked it out. Despite the chance for an interesting silver kit, I stuck with what I’ve seen of theirs so far. The home kits are red and white hoops paired with blue, which for the away kits I went with a Rangers-esque look, broken up with some red and white on the chest.

 California Football Club

This was pretty hard, to be honest. Cal FC doesn’t have a crest, apparently. Or they really are going to go with the California flag with a soccer ball photoshopped onto it. I didn’t use that “crest” here. It was… well… it was a flag with a soccer ball shopped onto it. And the only thing I saw for them was a blue kit in their wikipedia page. So… I went with blue-white scheme, because there isn’t enough blue in the NPSL Founders Cup. For the aways I went with broken red hoops on white, with red socks as a nod back to the California flag.

California United Strikers Football Club

I have to admit that, like Miami United, California United’s neon-based color scheme rubs me in all the right ways. Not sure what everyone else thinks, but I love it. For the home kits I went white. White is a color that I often avoid when designing home kits, but I often use in away kits. I wanted to change that with a mostly white kit that relies on the cyan and black as flavor enhancers. The away kits, though, are certainly one that you’d expect from me. I didn’t want to copy the Miami United “color on black”, and instead went “black on color”.

Football Club Arizona

I’m really happy to hear that we have an Arizona team in the lineup as that might give a good reason to take Brigid out to her parent’s place and then for Ron and I to watch some soccer again. For their kits, I wanted to do two totally different co-equal “home” kits. First was FC Arizona’s more traditional-looking red and white kits, which is a favorite combo of mine. I wouldn’t want to take that away. Then, for the other kit, I wanted to go to the complete other end of the spectrum and do a busier kit in the modern sensibility. Gold-Red-Navy is a great combination, and given that Arizona’s flag is just that, why not translate it into a kit?

Oakland Roots Soccer Club

When the Oakland Roots first unveiled their crest on twitter it was met with equal parts of “What? No…” and “What? Yaaas.” I love it, personally. It isn’t a crest I would design or even want to design, but it’s like the DCFC crest of the Madison pink flamingo crest – it isn’t about working for everyone, it’s about working for the community around it. And that’s fantastic. I wanted to lean into that wild look for the home kit. I split the tree top and bottom and spread it out so the roots and their colors could rule over the chest and shoulders. Then the rest of the kit was nothing but color. For the away kits I wanted to focus on the roots themselves, in black, then combined that with touches of red.

So that wraps up all eleven teams in the NPSL Pro Founders Cup. There is a lot of great stuff to work with here, which is great. Rumor has it that the Nola Jesters will be joining too, adding a third neon-schemed team to the mix, so I am excited for that. Plus Cleveland SC and FC Buffalo rumored as well could mean the return of the Rust Belt Derby.

I’m excited for what the future offers here, there is a lot of “pros” to our punk-rock pro-league, but some cons as well. We face an uphill road, but I think Detroit City remains as level-headed as ever and we are in good company. This will be one of the most critical “fronts” in the Soccer Warz™, so regardless of where you are or who you root for, you’ll want to at least keep up-to-date on the Founders Cup in specific and the NPSL in general.

I hope you all enjoyed my designs and have a great rest of 2018. It’s been a tough year, but there’s a lot to look forward to in 2019.

Cheers, everyone!

Update 29th of December: Now with 100% less phallic imagery.

Football from Scratch

In a “two birds, one stone” sort of situation, celebrating both my thirtieth birthday and HAFC’s 12-2 victory late on Tuesday night, I wanted to write a bit about the genesis of the club from the perspective of the guy who’s almost really only done marketing/branding/kit work (which shouldn’t really be shocking to any of you).

So what is Harper’s Athletic Football Club (usually just “Harper’s” or more rarely “HAFC”)?

Harper’s is a co-ed, beer-league indoor/outdoor football (soccer) team that is comprised of about equal parts DCFC fanatics and not, who started off life as Whiskey in the Jar in the DCFL outdoor summer league which plays at historic Fort Wayne south of downtown.

I joined on the urging of several friends as a way to get more soccer in my life, actually start playing sports competitively, and as a way of staying healthy.

Between the summer and fall seasons there was a longer-than-usual break as Detroit City prepared to open the Fieldhouse (and then later, the Clubhouse). This would move DCFL indoors to the renovated facility. At this point the captain of Whiskey decided to look into a few new potential sponsors and a rebranding.

The Crest and “Harper’s” AFC

Being a sort-of, almost sports branding person, I basically took this as a chance to have a ton of fun and learn a lot about running the image of a team. I set out chasing down one potential sponsor which will pop up a lot in the following images. But despite that, it was pretty quick how we moved from them once another sponsor popped up.

The decisions between sponsors is a story that doesn’t necessarily belong here, or really anywhere. Both are fantastic. Both owners were generous and forward. Both are worth your patronage.

Originally, and in the spirit of the bar league, we were going to take the name of the bar that sponsored us, but with the coming Fieldhouse (and the attached bar, the Clubhouse) we knew that there might be multiple sponsors in our future. At that point was the genesis of a club with an actual name and thus a real identity.

The first mock up was pretty basic, a bumper filled with red beer with the name of a bar over it, here Little Tony’s, which is a favorite hang out of Brigid and me.

This is a prototype image, because I had never bought the actual image IIRC. Or if I did, I didn’t use it later. It might’ve actually been free, now that I’m thinking about it.

Anyway, it was eventually upgraded to this:

Which is a much better-looking glass and I most certainly have the right license too!

The reason for a red beer instead of more traditional black or yellow ones actually has to do with the kits, but it starts here with Little Tony’s. This bar is in an offset building on Mack Avenue that is green and black:

(Taken from the Little Tony’s Facebook)

I knew I wanted to use green and black as two of the primary colors of the club, and if they were going to be the primary colors, it was likely that the crest would involve both. Now, I could’ve gone with a green crest and a black beer, but I already had a sort of idea in mind so what I needed was contrast. The cream contrasted the black, and so to contrast the green I went with red.

So I threw together a very Germanic or even Celtic-inspired crest with an art deco font I had laying around (and again – the license to). I needed a sort of “name” to fit in there and rather than using Lorem Ipsum, mostly jokingly threw on the name of the other avenue I live near – Harper.

For those of you know don’t know, I live between Mack and Harper avenues literally on the line of Grosse Pointe Woods and Harper Woods. Many of the bigger, better teams in the DCFL (which play in the much more competitive “Neighborhoods” league) use the names of local neighborhoods. Harper Woods is oft forgotten, so eh?

I fully expected the name to be questioned and changed pretty quick to another part of Detroit proper or even just to something a bit more generic. To my surprise it stuck, which maybe I shouldn’t’ve been because it does roll off the tongue pretty well and I love that it has a human quality to it without also being easily gendered.

Plus my phone puts “Harper’s Ferry” and “Harper’s AFC” next to each other so… you know… fight the power.

“Athletic Football Club” also came from a desire to be outside the norm. “Football Club” is much more common, especially here in the States. Really it’s a tiny tweak, but it has some good consequences. It differentiates us and it the abbreviation is much more aesthetically pleasing to me: HAFC vs HFC. HAFC is a sports team, HFC is a TV channel that plays in the background of the dentist’s office.

The Folks in Hoops

This is probably the part everyone is waiting for. Obviously one of the things that appealed the most to me was being able to design distinct, perhaps even iconic kits for HAFC and then getting to actually make them. The thought of working with suppliers and designers, at the time, was super exciting. And to an extent, it still is, but it is much more… mundane? Mundane.

The first thing I did was sit down and collect my thoughts and asked a vital question. What makes a kit iconic?

What makes a kit that after hundreds of years of iteration can be put next to the first one and you go “oh yeah, I see that”. And really, what I found, is that it is a combination of sticking to your colors, sticking to a simple design that offers room for experimentation without losing the focus.

So the next question was, what are some iconic kits?

Newcastle. Celtic. Manchester United. Chelsea. Inter Milan. Barcelona.

This list could go on forever. But basic colors. Basic designs. Focus. A plain shirt is a design. It’s an aesthetic as much as any other decision. Hoops vs stripes. What color are your shorts? Your socks? Those can be easy to forget when doing this. Shorts and socks provide either more room for your color of choice, like with Liverpool. Or can provide contrast, like Manchester City.

If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend Historical Kits. which is a lovely archive of hundreds if not thousands of kits spanning more than 100 years of football history in England and Scotland. It’s an easy way to see (and also get lost in) the design of football kits.

But if you’ve been on this site even just once or paid attention to that crest I posted, you probably know where this is going – we’re going to hoops.

The crest and the kit were being iterated at the same time, but the hoops were first on the kit and then migrated to the crest to solidify the relationship, it’s also a bit of a nod to my favorite English team – Newcastle United, who have their stripes on their crest. I did think about vertical stripes, but the hoops are so much… better? Better is the wrong word, but it works here.

One club in particular I had in mind when picking colors and designs was Plymouth Argyle, a team I know literally nothing about other than over the last few years they’ve had several kits I nearly bought just to have lying around. Their colors are also include a beautiful shade of green and black and boy have they had some amazing kits:

Plymouth Argyle's most recent home kits

(Image taken from PlymouthLive)

Their 2018/19 kit especially (far left above) is so gloriously fantastic that I might still buy one just to have. If only their season was going as well as those kits. They’d be in the PL before Christmas.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I hadn’t even picked colors yet. Whiskey in the Jar (the team, not the bar) wore sky blue kits.

The shorts and socks were a mish-mash as only tops were made and I actually never even had one as I wore a sky blue Adidas training top. Originally I considered keeping to the sky blue and potentially doing hoops or stripes with that. But since we were on the prowl for a new sponsor, the idea to grab new colors was too strong and the green/black color combo is a favorite of mine, one that I’ve used a number of times in mock ups and world building scenarios.

This is a kit I designed as part of a failed project mentioned several times in the blog. You can tell it was pretty early in my ‘career’ as it uses the 3/4ers “hero” pose and things don’t line up as neatly or make much sense. Like the logo on the side of the shorts. The first iteration of the Harper’s kits was basically this translated to the front view:

I wanted to emphasize green with the hoops, rather than black, so instead of starting and ending with black, I started and ended with green. The sleeves line up with the shirt only in opposite colors, which gives it a cool effect, I think. Then, stealing directly from Plymouth, I threw on that sexy, sexy white collar. You can see the first iteration logo here. I think it mostly works, but it doesn’t have the charm of the circular ones to come.

Still with the older logo (the second iteration of the logo was something that really only lasted a day or two before being replaced, so it didn’t really end up on any mockups), I had a sort of serendipitous moment when I colored the sleeves white and liked the look of it so much I took another step back to let it soak in. That’s when I came up with this crazy idea – what if the top of the kits were white?

I applied a pattern I had laying around from another project (or recreated it) and got that rounded effect on top.

Side note – if you’ve ever worked with me and wonder why I can finish shit so quickly, it’s because A) I’m very familiar with my tools (I’ve been using PS since I was like 14), B) I have a very extensive knowledge of kits because there are great people like Högs, Eric, Roger, and others who always give me great tips when stuff pops up and C) I’ve got a very large portfolio made almost entirely of random ideas that I can quickly grab pieces off of. And also, when you pay for “15 minutes of work” you’re actually paying for 15 minutes of my time and all of the above. This shouldn’t need to be explained, but there’s a trend of devaluing artists and designers… but not the work they produce? Which is weird.

Anyway.

So, I get the designs all together (there is a corresponding away kit that has not and will not be made and isn’t being discussed here) and I send them over to our captain for review.

The review portion can always be nerve-wracking, even in situations where I maintain a large amount of control like this. It often leads to sitting next to gmail and refreshing.

What came from the review was: no collar, different sponsor. Plus at the time we were made aware that the custom socks could not be made, so we had to choose from some pre-made ones, we chose black.

I have one final check that I often like to do when working on more traditional designs like the one above. I open up my sandbox on wikipedia and I try to recreate the kit using only the default patterns for the kit and see if it captures the spirit of the design. Not necessarily 99% of it, or even really 90%. But the closer, the better.

It worked fantastically.

So there it is. The Harper’s AFC kit in all it’s finished glory. I’ve actually learned a lot about everything working on these. Including how to get those hooped socks, which some of us now have! There is a few things I’d improve with the finished (i.e. worn product) but for the most part they are amazing and I’m please to have worked on them.

We’re already looking into next year’s kits and we have some sexy new away kits on the wings ready to drop in the next few weeks.

Cheers, everyone!

The Kit Post – 2019

Cheers and salutations to the fifth annual Kit Post! Five years of talking my head off in these Sisyphean attempts to further my clout and reach as a kit designer so that one day I may be sipping martinis with Cristiano Ronaldo while one of my kits barely contains his physique.

For those new to my site, whether you hate-watch it or I freshly picked you up during the 2018 Detroit City FC season, welcome! Every year in August I make a post about Detroit City FC’s kits from that season and then make some “predictions” on what we can look forward to next season.

If you’re interested in the previous four, you can find them here:

2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

Over the last several years, I’ve learned a lot about designing kits and how they are made. I’m not far from making the jump from “hobbyist” to “freelancer” and have actually had a few (three or four) false starts on that front. But each time I learn a bit more and come back a bit stronger. I’m also on the cusp of figuring out a way to just design kits and sell them, which I might experiment with. Things like my fantasy kits are probably the best place to start. So if you’re a fan of the Union Macenburgh kits, perhaps you should watch this site or my twitter for details.

My designs, I think, are significantly stronger than they were even a few short years ago. Partially because I’ve started using professional templates, but also because I’ve become better at translating the vision to the page. Still not great at logos. Not sure what I can do for that but keep working on it.


So let’s start with the 2018 Detroit City kits. I have some mixed opinions here and I actually managed to get a few things right:

  • Away kits used white socks with red flip-overs
  • We dropped Detroit Metro Chevy Dealers
  • I predicted the chevron for the home, we used them on the charity kits

Some things that I was completely wrong on:

  • I predicted we’d use the darker, purple-y maroon again for the home colors, we returned to just dark red
  • The away kits returned to white
  • I have *always* predicted a black charity kit, once again that proved not to be true (more on that in a bit)
  • We still didn’t pick up Stroh’s as the primary, but we did pick up Lyft; so welcome to the team Lyft
  • The Metro Chevy Dealers deal did not have multiple years left on it

Okay, but I got some hits! That’s better than nothing.

Last seasons kits can be ranked as thus: Away just barely hedges out Home, then a massive gulf in quality, the charity kits. If we were talking purely the tops it be a much closer race but… let’s just start there.

The charity kits, when first unveiled were already divisive. There’s the undercurrent of anti-blue in the DCFC fandom that is not surprising.  Our biggest rivals all wear blue (Lansing, A2, GR, the Cavs… apparently), so for us to don it as well is not going to be well received. There’s some evidence that the FO is just trolling, but whatever. I liked the sky blue tops, I liked that they still incorporated touches of gold and the rouge chevrons. The problem was everything else. When they were unveiled, they were unveiled with the white shorts and socks. That looked good. Later in the season, I noticed that the white socks that had been worn at the unveiling were not the white socks we were using that season, so I put a vote up. People supported using the away socks or perhaps sky blue socks. What we got was so much worse: the home socks and the home shorts… for some reason. It looked like utter garbage, a very rare miss for our kits.

The home kits, on the other hand, were great. I really liked the subtle nod to Dave Edwardson’s hometown for what turned out to be his final season (apparently, as of writing). The vertical stripes of Newcastle looked good in the two-tone rouge. I prefer the hoops, if I’m honest, but I also like breaking up plain-looking kits. I’m thinking that next year we’ll return to a more plain look. I really hope we avoid the mess of patterns offered by Adidas for the upcoming season. Some are descent… but others are just… bad. Like snow flakes? Really? For fuck’s sake Adidas.

Finally, the away kits, which were absolutely stunning. Loved them. Didn’t grab one because I’m a clutz and I don’t want to ruin a $90 kit. The touches of rouge in the collar and on the cuffs was sublime. That’s how you do an all white kit… by not taking “all white” literally. A few teams in our league, including DCFC a few seasons ago have worn what are essentially bargin-bin white kits from Dick’s that have had the logos and sponsors ironed on. That’s good for a team that pulls fewer fans out per game than it concedes goals, but for DCFC you gotta be cutting edge. This year’s away kits? Italian chef finger kiss Divine.


Before we continue, I have a few disclaimers for readers:

  • I don’t work for the DCFC front office
  • The DCFC front office fucks with me
  • Kits shown here are not official direction
  • Logos, league, and sponsors are used without permission
  • Sponsors and league are not official or necessarily endorsed by our front office
  • The reality of 2019 might be very different than what I predict here

So we’re nearly a thousand words in by this point so you’re probably going, “Nick, just show us your fucking kits,” which I think is a rational response, so we’ll get the show on the road.

Last year I wanted to focus on the possible, that is to say I studied some of Adidas’ available templates and based my designs off those. This year I’m not sticking to that so much. I want kits that are both possible, but also are a bit more involved. So with the next three designs I have one that fits the “fully sublimated” design, the “easily available template” design, and another that falls in between. I liked mixing it up and I liked getting to do some more complicated things.

I have a feeling one or more of these designs might be a tad controversial, but we’ll see.

One last point to address before I get started is that I actually reached out for feedback and ideas and really I only got three: pink/black combo, “verdigris”, and for the sashes from the 2014 season to return. I’m only going to address one of those points here: pink/black. I just designed a pink/black kit for a client and so I was not necessarily keen on doing it again. I love the pink/black combination and I’ll certainly revisit it in the future, but the timing was off for me so it’ll wait. However, I do hope everyone enjoys the one I did make when it comes out in a couple months.



The Home Kit – Soul of Detroit

My 2019 Detroit City FC home kits feature the Detroit city flag sublimated onto the front in the two-tone rouge that has become a mainstay for our home kits in the last few years. For an added touch, I alternated the colors of the sleeves as well to give the traditional feel of a quartered kit, a pretty common design in Europe but very rare on this side of the Atlantic, especially in the US.

I have a love-hate relationship with sublimation. I feel that it’s often misused to create these vastly complicated designs instead of bringing a fresh take on older designs (like using the quarters to create the Detroit flag). Gold trim on the collar, shorts, sleeves, and socks bring the overall look together – an otherwise disjointed design framed and united. Not unlike the city itself.

With the constant war in US soccer on an increasing number of “fronts”, including Detroit and now Chattanooga, I wanted to make it perfectly clear what team is Detroit’s team.


The Away Kit – Heart of Detroit

The idea of bringing back the sash from the infamous “kitless” season of 2014 (which also gave us the hoops for the first time) has crossed my mind, but having it specifically called out when I requested input made it too much to avoid.

The sash itself is two-tone rouge, like the home kit, to give it a bit of dimension, and then “trimmed” in gold. The gold trim on the sleeves and shorts remains from the home kits, but the collar switches to rouge, not unlike the 2018 kits, and I kept the red flipover with white stripes for the socks.

A repeat of the 2014 and 2017 seasons would be fantastic, picking up this under-rated beauty would be a great place to start. That and picking up a certain WMB.


The Charity Kit – Spirit of Detroit

So the suggestion of “verdigris” was a fascinating one, certainly got my gears turning for possibilities. For the unaware, verdigris is the color of weathered copper… featured prominently on old statues like the Statue of Liberty and our own Spirit of Detroit, which has been featured on every single Detroit City FC kit from the very beginning.

I knew right away I wanted to go into one of those “traditional” kit designs that are not common in the United States. Originally I started with the quarters, but I quickly shelved this. It just didn’t click in my head, so I switched the the halved design thinking that I could add some smaller details in it to give it some life. Sublimation ideas crossed my mind, including the statue proper, but like I said the statue is on every kit and I didn’t want it to look like it was a larger crest sublimated over the entirety of the kit. I also considered some golden pin stripes, but again getting too complicated.

What I chose is what’s here: the gold collar and trim on the shorts, sleeves, and socks as well as the verdigris and white alternate logo. Sleeves alternate color like the home kit (or really the home kit picked it up from here as this was the first kit I worked on) with the YMCA as the charity sponsor. Between the two halves I applied a bit of a staggering design to give it a bit of needed life without over-complicating the entire design.

This is absolutely, hands down, my favorite of the three. The choice of verdigris as a color was amazing, it works brilliantly with the gold and white and is definitely being added to my dossier of color combinations for later. If I had to pick one kit, just one kit for DCFC to actually make real, no competition: it’s this one.


So that’s that! Kit Post 2019 has come and gone and we’re still under 2000 words!

I hope everyone enjoyed the little discussion today and I really hope everyone loves the designs. As always, keep your eyes on my twitter where I often post snippets of, or even full designs for kits and in the coming weeks definitely stay tuned for some big unveilings that I have planned.

And what do you guys want to see? What did you like, what didn’t you like from the 2018 Detroit City kits? Let me know!

Cheers, everyone!

The Making of a Fantasy Team

Taldērszon, gamédunz!

I don’t often start my posts with conlang stuff, but I think today’s long-overdue post deserves it. Over this long break I decided to work on a project that I’ve been kicking around in my head for a while, specifically because it would combine my fantasy world, my conlang, some calligraphy, and of course soccer kits.

Well, technically hurling kits, but I digress.

For those who are new to the site, I dabble in fantasy writing; I’m currently about 3,000 words into book four with the intent to finish writing the drafts of the books before cleaning them up and publishing them one after the other sometime in the unknown future. One of things I like to do in my downtime is work on world building for the setting of my fantasy realm. This often involves long periods of working on nothing in particular but time wasters and stuff like that. But one thing I hit on a while ago was to do a fantasy World Cup, including all the participating nations and everything.

I got a lot of work done on that, but as I kept writing I didn’t like the idea that I was making much of the World Cup work invalid. So it became hard to focus on an eventually I gave up on it. Plus I found designing crests very difficult. I actually talked about this on a previous post and this is a similar post to that, the road one takes when working on a literal fantasy sports team. Regardless of the outcome, it was a lot of fun to work on and it definitely improved my design-sense when it came to soccer kits.

So, moving forward, I wanted a smaller-scale thing to work on. Something that was based in a part of the world that was decently fleshed out and unlikely to change too much – Hadyrland, the main setting for the books.

Makes sense, right?

Plus I’ve already worked on some conlanging and stuff, so I can make it truly fantastical. This is also something I’ve worked on in the past, though it was in the days before I got my PSD templates. The work even got me a nod from Azzurri, the Italian-based maker of kits. So that was awesome.

I’ve learned a lot since then, about how kits work and why there are design limits put on them. It gave me a lot to think about moving forward.

A recent-ish project you might’ve seen getting posted onto twitter were just huge dumps of Wikipedia-styled kits. I’m actually not done with them yet, but here’s the gist: five leagues of 20, 20, 22, 24, and 24 teams divided into four tiers, with the two 24-team leagues representing an East/West regional divide for low-tier teams.

Part of this was an off-shoot of another project I was working on to update my map of Hadyrland to be much more accurate and give me a better understanding of the human geography of the region. Accents, religion, income, population density. Part of that was adding the smaller towns and cities that surrounded large ones and that got me thinking about low-tier soccer.

So with the goal of making 110 teams, I set out.

I picked cities, names, years founded, tri-codes, colors, how many top-tier championships they had won, and even the “identity” of the club. Identities included political affiliations (including non-political and even anti-political), racial and religious affiliations, and in a few cases military-backed clubs. This really gave a sense for the world, the cities these people lived in, and what made them get up and go to a game in the morning.

The club that I wanted to work on was Union Macenburgh, which I mentioned in that previously linked post.

It was a club designed to have my heart from the get-go. A top-tier team that hadn’t given up its identity for fame, one that fed a huge Old Firm-styled rivalry with the big club across the river. It is the home club of one of my main POV characters and for a chapter in book two, we actually get to go to a game (though a game long before the rules were ever really codified outside of the local “understood” rules).

So I started at the base-level. What is “Union Macenburgh” in Hadysh?

Well, that was pretty easy – Macenburgh is “Moxn” in Hadysh. Union is “Opubfę”. Combining them it’s Opubfę Moxnd (with the “d” at the end sort of being like an ‘s in English).

Cool. That’s done.

Next was the crest. 

I wanted to work with a monogram-style, much in the vein of the baseball work from last time. The crest is the club’s name abbreviated (OMd). I debated having the d as a superscript because it’s not really an initial (we’ll see this later), but I liked how it came out when it was at an even footing.

Hadysh is a unicase script, meaning there’s no upper or lower case letters. It’s heavily based on the Armenian and Georgian alphabets, which I think are truly beautiful. The influences from Armenian are much more apparent, with lots of u-looking glyphs.

This particular font is “Western Blackletter”, or a script that arose in the western part of Hadyrland (where Macenburgh is). It differs slightly from Eastern Runic forms and it’s decedent systems. I can make a whole post on that, and I probably will, but later.

Next I did the sponsor:

Here it is another abbreviation, this time for “Opubfę Acléęttaƥin ț Unħódna Moxnd” which means “Macenburgh Dockyard and Packing Union”. The though process here was even though this was a big team, it still pulled from local companies and groups for sponsorship, usually with a focus on manufacturing and labor, which is a vital part of both the club’s history and the city’s financial security. Macenburgh is a twin city with Blackwater Port, which the later being the more economically well-off and globally powerful. So if Blackwater Port is New York City, Macenburgh is New Jersey.

This also gets into a weird little tidbit about Hadysh: most conjunctions (like “and”) are single sounds. If the word following starts with a consonant, you add a vowel to the end, but you don’t write it, it’s implied. But that means the ampersand for Hadysh is just another letter on the keyboard, not hidden away above the 7, which is good because Hadysh has two numerical systems…

Anyway…

From that previous post on Hadysh hurling, Macenburgh’s main colors are maroon and gold and they generally wear hoops, which is usually, but not always, a marker for working-class teams.

The last bit was a bit of a slogan, one that if you’re a St. Pauli fan you might’ve seen.

Now for this I used the digital font I’ve been working on for a couple months now, so unfortunately there’s no scan document to show.

Get the easy bit out of the way, the lower bit is a name, “Ulēmad”. The top bit is what we’re interested in, “K̦o kémõ za ay͂a̋fa̋nyodda̋õs” – No Hurling for Fascists.

Ay͂a̋fa̋nyodda̋õs was an interesting word to come up with. Most, if not all, of the vocabulary I have thus far is not modern in sense of what words are available. I might have “cart” but I don’t have “bus”, I might have “pen” but I don’t have “computer”.

But the idea of “fascism” is a modern term so it required a lot of work, more than usual. First I needed to expand my fixes to include “ism” and “ist”. For the former, I used a modified instrumental case, dropping the object fix at the end and only keeping “a(~)-“. The ~ marks that the fix causes nasalization to the next consonant if that consonant can be nasalized. For “ist” I used “-daʊ̯”, which is the Hadysh fix for “-er” in English (e.g. Runner or builder).

The English for Fascism comes from the Latin fasces, the axe surrounded in a bundle of sticks. It was a symbol of the Roman legions and was co-opted by the Italian Fascists.

I didn’t necessarily want to get this deep (shocker, I know) into a project that was already ballooning out of control in size and scope.

To make a long story short the word breaks down into:

a(~) + ja̋f + a̋nyo + d + da̋ + õ + s

“ism” + “federation” + “nation” + genitive marker + -er + object marker + plural.

Yes, that means in Hadysh both “ism” and “ist” are going to appear in the same word. It’s just another quirk of an already quirky language.

After all that, or really, during, I worked back and forth, I got to work on some killer kits.


The home kits were pretty easy, rouge and hoops are like my calling cards, getting to use the gold was a huge plus, I was happy to not always be doing “shadow” hoops. 

Awwwww yeah.

I am super pleased with how these turned out. The dual-tone of maroon and darker maroon. The sponsor in the middle was a bit of a sticking point, switching between white and the darker shade of maroon from the outside of the kit, in the end the darker shade just wasn’t legible even at this scale, so I had to switch to white, adding another color to the mix. Oh well, I think it is still clean enough to work well.

The shorts have the crest on the right pant (our left) and the player’s number (in this case “9”) on the other. I debated going with hooped socks, but I left it with just the flip over, a favorite of mine. Sleeve cuffs are hard to see, but they are the lighter shade of maroon with two gold bars through them. Breaks up an otherwise plain sleeve.


For the aways, I wanted to go for a simpler, old-fashioned look. On my league sheet, I had white kits with maroon cuffs, collar, and short bottoms. I basically planned to take that whole-sale but with a minor tweak or two.

Instead of white, I went with silver. And instead of plain, I brought back the hoops as shadows to tie it more closely with the kits above and the club’s history.

The outer edging was dropped, though, so the hoops run from side to side, top to bottom, with nothing in their way. Compare this to the home kit with the darker maroon framing the hoops on three sides. I dropped the two stripes on the cuff in favor of a solid color, and all the trim pieces are the same color as the logo, crest, and sponsor, giving the whole thing a very cohesive look. Clean, simple, classy.


Recently I’ve been doing more than just field players, I’ve wandered into the realm of keepers as well. And in the case of this project, much more into the rest of the kits as I did rear views as well, which had their own issues. Anyway, for the keeper kits, I try to go for the radical departure. For example, in my portfolio there’s a mockup for a non-existent “Grosse Pointe United” that uses blue/gold/white/black for the field players and carries that white/black over to the keeper kit only to replace the blue/gold with orange.

Here I went with green/white/black to compliment the maroon/gold/silver from above. It’s also important to note that these are the national colors of Hadyrland. On the left leg (right for us) the player number has been replaced with the branding logo. Otherwise it is a particularly “normal” kit for me. One difference is the gradient-shadow hoops in the green bits. They’re meant to be hardly noticeable, just a fine detail.


So it’s time to bring them all together and do a sort of mock-announcement. I know the next on right of a kit is sort of a thing I do, but in this case I didn’t have the time to do much else. I was thinking about trying to class it up, but how? Unfortunately my talents are still limited. Maybe in the future I can get some kits made and then shoot some “real” footage.

Ah well.

The labels under the kits read “home”, “away”, and “keeper’s”. The text in the upper right reads “Your 1423 OMD”. I liked the idea of having the crest as part of the statement, rather than above or below it.

So that wraps up this monster of a post. I hope everyone  at least found it a tad less controversial than the last one. With the DCFC season picking up and my writing still flailing around, no idea when I can get updates on my actual books and stuff, or even make sure this gets updated more often than once a quarter.

Cheers, everyone.

Forest City – Or: Breaking Comfort Zones

So this post has been a long-time coming, originally meant to be posted way back in November, I was dealing with some other issues that I glossed over briefly in a twitter thread in the context of talking about my daily word counts. Right when I was hoping to get this out, during a four-day weekend around Thanksgiving.

That didn’t happen.

Actually, thanks to some work-related stressed that spilled over into my real life, not much of anything got done. Including my normal writing or perhaps a bit of blogging.

Anyway, this has been postponed long enough.

This is a project that has been floating in the back of my mind for quite a while now, namely it is a rebranding of a team that has caught some (justified, if you ask me) ire lately due to their name and their iconic mascot: the Cleveland Indians.

For the uninformed, I am a Cleveland native and not much of a baseball enthusiast, but that itself needs some discussion. I don’t care for the actual sport of baseball – which I find a boring, tiresome drag – but I do love the traditions of baseball – which I find fascinating and lovely in a quaint kind of way, but it’s a good quaint, like finding a small midwestern town and stopping in a dinner for a shake, having a great time, and then asking yourself why you don’t do it more often.

Cleveland’s mascot, the maligned Chief Wahoo, goes back a long way. He’s, in short, a caricature of a 30s racist rendering of a native american man. And as of writing there are a lot of signs, including selective marketing images and the ever-present rumble of political correctness gone mad that Chief Wahoo is about to be binned permanently.

And good riddance, though it does mostly defeat the purpose of this post.

There’s a lot of ways to deal with this issue and Cleveland is taking pretty much the compromise route in that it’ll leave most people unhappy, but I can’t speak for the native americans in the least, but the name “Indians” is still there and there’s still baggage with that and I know for a fact that people were running out and buying up as many Chief Wahoo hats as they could so they’d have a stock to either sell when they get rare or to wear at games as long as possible.

That strikes me as a little crazy, to be so dedicated to something that is causing a peoples whose history since 1492 has been “how low can low go” feel even lower. Perhaps sports and empathy aren’t supposed to mix in the minds of many, but I’m not of the many. Sports are about empathy and community. So let’s cut to the case.

I’ve been waiting for nearly three years to have the ability to rebrand the Cleveland Indians. Three years. It came in steps. First it was finding the TIF-based images that allow me to work in a pseudo three-dimensional space. Those are the kits you see quite a bit both on this site and on many other sites. Second was finding a baseball version of that template. There’s been one floating around for a few years, and they’re gorgeous, but they’re also $80, which is a bit more than I expect to ever make from this project. But, in the last few months, one did come out, and it’s a pretty good one, cutting much of the kit into much smaller chunks than the soccer ones.

So let’s begin:


As these things usually start, some disclaimers: this is a personal project. I have not discussed any of this with anyone remotely representing the Cleveland Indians nor any group advocating the removal of Chief Wahoo. 

These are not official, sanctioned, &c &c. 


In 1868 an amateur baseball team formed in Cleveland that, following the Cincinnati Red Stockings, joined the professional ranks in 1871. This team, which would only play two seasons at the professional level, were the Cleveland Forest Citys (note: not “cities”).

They finished their existence 16-35, as this was back when teams played once per week.

This is where I am going to start – with a plucky little team in 1871. Now, Cleveland had other teams between then and now, but I wanted to focus on the Forest Citys for a few reasons:

  • The 150th anniversary of professional baseball in Cleveland is 2021, a scant three years away
  • “Forest City” provides a much more blank canvas for me
  • I wanted to focus on the tradition of baseball rather than aim for a “Disney-fied” team name like “The Spiders,” though a strong case can be made for “The Spiders” and I’d love to see someone tackle that
  • I believe that by mixing a strong heap of history into this mix, it will be better received by fans and…
  • An all new look and theme will help discourage people wearing Chief Wahoo gear to future games. Sure the die-hards will never stop, but I think that more casual fans will just buy a new cap and eventually a new shirt and it’ll be pushed out of the system quicker this way. Keeping the “Indians” name does nothing to discourage this behavior.

My starting point was the logo. If I couldn’t get that done, I’d be in trouble. I’m no good with vector programs, I’ve just never had time to sit and watch enough tutorials to get good at them, which I have a project to hopefully change that… more on that later.

So for this we went the old fashioned route. I blew up that picture above, picked the most straight-on dude, cropped everything out, and printed out a giant FC monogram. Which I traced. Three times.

Here’s the start of the initial tracing.

This is the finalized trace of the monogram. But just in case, I wanted the letters separate, so I then used my trusty clipboard to make two more tracings.

And then finally:

I scanned these in at 600dpi black/white so I could then bring them into photoshop for post-processing.

Not the best, but I’m very happy with how it came out.

The next thing I started to work on was the color scheme. I’ll admit to being ignorant to what colors the original Forest Citys wore. I probably could’ve done a deeper dive into some historical records, but in the end I knew I wanted forest green for some pretty obvious reasons. Alongside green, I wanted to stick to the traditional colors of black and white.

So I loaded up the wikipedia page for shades of green, and began to pick and choose some of my favorites, building a palette of colors to ponder over and consider. The final cut of those looked like this:

Each one had pluses and minuses, some were too blue, others too grey, some too green even.  The one that I chose is the second from the top. I think it balanced out the dark, the greens, the blues, and the greys. For those interested, it is called “Brunswick Green” and was historically used in many settings including auto racing and passenger cars on trains. It’s also sometimes called “English Green.”

So with the logo and the color scheme picked out, it was time to design some baseball ki… um… uniforms.

Going into this project, I knew precious little about how baseball uniforms “worked” (for lack of a better word). Generally, in football, you have a “first” kit, which is strongly rooted in tradition; a “second” kit, which can be rooted in tradition but more often is a canvas for creativity; and a “clash” or “alt” kit, which is almost always a departure from the norm and is intended for use either as a charity thing or in case both the first and second kits are ruled to clash with the home side. This actually came up recently: in the Hibernian vs Celtic game on the 10th, all three of Celtic’s kits were ruled to be “clashing” and they were forced to dig out last year’s charity kits in order for the game to start.

Baseball teams usually have three or four uniform choices as well. A white set for home games. A grey set for away games. And then a number of “alternative” sets that are colored and may be used whenever. There are some other rules that seem to come up. First home sets usually have the team name/logo on them. Away sets have the city name on them. And alternatives have a bit more leeway.

There’s some history behind this. Back in the day, grey sets hid dirt, so require less laundering – an advantage when you’re on the road and don’t have access to your cleaning facilities. Whites required more cleaning, but the home side did have access to cleaning facilities, so that’s not a problem.

The team vs city name basically came from fans know the home side by their name, but might not know the away side. Back before cell phones and access to a constant stream of electronically broadcast information, this was a legitimate concern.

These traditions provided an interesting design space for me to work with. And there were other concerns, thoughts, and ideas as well. For example: Pin stripes? Or no? Monogram? Or team name? “Old English”? Or Block?

If one thing is obvious so far, it’s that I chose to go with a monogram over a mascot or one of the more “modern” names that are based off some kind of [NOUN]. I wanted to go back to a very traditional looking form.

The Home Uniform

For the home uniform I went with pinstripes, which I think is probably the most controversial thing you’ll find in this post (other than the concept of entirely removing the branding of a much-beloved MLB franchise). Brunswick Green dominates the secondary features: pinstripes, undershirt, cap, belt, buttons, and stockings. Instead of a team name, I went with the monogram over the left chest. It gives a clean look that really lets the pin striping do the heavy visual lifting. White accents the caps both in the monogram and the stitching.

The Away Uniform

Brunswick Green continues to be heavily represented in the secondary features here, but the plain grey with block lettering takes over in the traditional away uniform. A few features remain from the home uniform: the piping on the sleeve roll-over for example, and the two pinstripes on the front-most belt loop. The cap is still green with the white accents, now with the block C in white front and center.

Alternative One (Color Uniform)

For the first alternative or color uniform, I went with a Brunswick Green jersey and plain, white pants. The stockings are no longer a solid green: they have black flip-overs. The piping on the jersey’s sleeves has been removed for a crisp, mono-color look. The undershirt and belt have been made black and white is more heavily featured on the cap, which instead of all green with which stitching, now has a white bill and green stitching. The monogram returns, this time in white with a black stroke.

Alternative Two (Color Uniform)

In many ways this is the inverse of the previous uniform, though the white pants remain. Undershirt and belt are Brunswick Green. This uniform has black stockings with green flip-overs, the piping on the sleeves returns in green. The buttons remain green as well. The jersey itself, though, is black with green block lettering, stroked in white. The cap is black, with a white bill and green stitching. The block C is featured here in the same green/white combo as the jersey itself. Of all the uniforms here, I have to say that this one is the most striking to me. The combination of the dark green, black, and white really comes together here. Especially the white stroke around “Cleveland” and the block C.

Over-all, I am extremely happy with how these four uniforms turned out, though perhaps I am a bit biased about that. While I have no doubt that the Indians are probably not going to do a complete rebranding this late into the argument, especially with stiff resistance from a vocal part of the fan base, it would be fantastic if they did or maybe even considered a heritage match in 2021 celebrating 150 years of professional baseball in Cleveland.

If you are one of those vocal fans, I really do hope you give this some though, or at the least, you like the designs from an abstract, objective view (rather than thinking of me trying to replace your team).

As always, I hope everyone enjoyed this rather long read and liked the designs I came up with. This has been a bit of a passion project meant to force me out of my comfort zone by designing for a sport I am not quite so familiar with, that has a few more, stricter rules, about what can and cannot go into a design.

Thank you so much. Cheers, everyone.

Photo sources (other than me for the monogram process shots):

Forest Citys: Case Western Reserve

Stock art: pixabay.com

The Kit Post – 2018

Welcome to the fourth annual Kit Nerd Day!

That’s right, I’ve done three of these already, and so far I’ve successfully predicted literally zero of the kits. Of course, that isn’t necessarily the point. The point is for me to have fun and for you guys to get a gander of all the crazy ideas constantly going through my head.

For those new to the site: every year around the end of August I do a post with some ideas and thoughts about next season’s kits. So just to repeat, these are ideas for the 2018 season.

And, like always, let’s start with some disclaimers. First, I am not a professional. I don’t work for Detroit City FC or any of the major kit design companies. I’ve used all images without permission. Nothing I post represents an official direction of the front office or any one tangentially involved. Remember – the FO actively works to fuck with me and they’ve even told me.

Any potential sponsors/leagues, these are not endorsed by the FO, the NGS, or anyone else. I make them for fun.


So the first thing is thoughts on last year’s kits.

Fuck. Yeah.

I mean, that was a crazy season. Beat two professional European teams. A new record-sized crowd was there. We won the Midwest. We attracted attention from all over the world through our friends at Copa90US. Keyworth’s stands are nearly completely opened. The “Wolfpack” started as a meme and ended up as a rallying cry. I got to meet Peter Wilt, who’s setting up NISA, in the stands at the Key. So that was pretty awesome from just a soccer-nerd standpoint.

Oh.

And Lansing blew a 3-0 lead.

As for the kits: the hoops returned! We did actually get throwback kits (to the ’67 Cougars). We even made the long-desired, long-awaited switch to Adidas! That’s fucking awesome. These kits were way better quality than the Nike’s. Way better. They did come at a higher price tag for us, but damned were they fucking gorgeous.

Across the board they were fantastic. From the hooped rouge on rouge on rouge kits to the golden away days kits (which saw quite a bit of use at home) to the fantasticly simple charity kits to those drop-dead gorgeous Cougar throw-backs. There are three 2017 kits in the Kendall-Collins household. I feel that is too few, but it is what it is.

Adidas pretty much owns US soccer, namely through their agreement with MLS, which IIRC was just renewed. Nothing of their really struck me this year. Portland’s home kits are more reminiscent of their third kits from previous years, which is nice.

Atlanta’s kits are pretty good. I’m a fan of the black/red combo and the grey and red makes for an interesting away. Columbus got their yellows back. That’s good. New England has an interesting 50/50 kit, rare on this side of the pond.

I noticed a few “default” designs either leaked into MLS or out. Atlanta’s home kit. NE’s home. Columbus’s away. Houston’s away. Plus any solid color kits. Not a good or bad, just something I found interesting.


Okay, some thoughts about DCFC kits in general before I move forward with unveiling my designs.

According to Crain’s the deal with Adidas is a multi-year agreement. That means I can pretty easily open up the Adidas miTeam app and fiddle around. But instead of using their kit builder, I’ve chosen to instead create some designs based on what’s available in the kit creator. So these designs should be entirely possible for Detroit City to don for 2018.

Moreover I’ve learned about when they actually put in the orders, so… I know that I’m ahead of the curve here. Fingers crossed. Is this the year we get the Nick Kendall kits?!

We’ll see.

One last note:

Sponsor – Stroh’s

After the loss of Flagstar as a sponsor, I’ve had to switch it up. I’ve more or less fallen into the rut of using Stroh’s because damn it looks great on our kits. Now, I don’t actually think this will be a thing because I think the deal with Metro Chevy Dealers also has multiple years left on it, but I’ll be damned if I stick a bowtie on my designs.



The Home Kit – Wolf’s Bite

Starting from the top, my prediction for the 2018 home kit. Based off Adidas’ chevron design – the chest is broken up by a bloodied dagger like a wolf’s blooded maw. Put five or six of them together and you’ve got yourself a fearsome beast.

I’ve stuck with the darker shade of rouge for the main body, adding just the barest hint of a lighter shade for the accents on the side and on the edges. And at the very bottom, just above the hem, is the flag of Detroit.


The Away Kit – Upwards

Next up is the away kits, I want to continue the gold and white kits. I was extremely happy to see them make a return after too many seasons away. We’re the blood and treasure, rouge and gold allez allez, so let’s keep it going. Whether we end up in NISA, NASL, or remain in the NPSL it’s all coming up City.

This design is based on the same design that they use for the New England Revolution’s home kit and has since become a default design, only here the stripes go the whole way through. The rouge accents are far more visible on the gold and white, but remain consistent with the home kit.


The Charity Kit – Soccer’s Heel

Not everyone gets to be a good guy, someone has to play heel so some self-righteous prick can play face and tell himself that no matter his own faults, at least he doesn’t light off smoke, swear, and have too much fun in the stands.

Harking back to arguably one of the greatest teams of all time and certainly back to the single most beautiful Adidas kit ever the charity kits are a combination of black and rouge that begs, begs to be unleashed on the pitch.

Let the soccer moms tremble, everyone’s favorite team to hate is here.


There it is everyone, Kit Nerd Day 2018! What did you like? What do you hate? What do you want to see the Boys in Rouge don this year? Let me know either in the comments or on twitter.

I’ll keep posting extras on twitter as I usually do.

And as always; Lansing blew a 3-0 lead.

Cheers everyone!

Northern Guard Kilts Part Deux

So we’ve had a less-than-stellar start to the 2017 season, but the victory against Glentoran on Saturday is definitely a well-needed boost to morale.

If you didn’t notice, I took that chance to parade around in my NGS kilt and tens of you might’ve thought, “Damn, where do I get one of those?”

Well you get them from  me. Using this order form. Before 31. August.

So if you’ve read the previous post on this you’ll know how I calculated the prices and how they are subject to conversion rates and tariffs. I can’t see the future, so once I get the 25% of the expected price, you’ll pay the rest once we get the actual price.

In 2016 the actual price and the expected price matched, so that was awesome.

The run-down is (all prices exclude any extras):

  • Base kilts range from $245 to $332
  • The Works kilts range from $285 to $373
  • The Ultimate kilts range from $345 to $433
  • Women’s base kilt range from $245 to $289
  • Women’s Ultimate kilt range from $345 to $389
  • Baby kilts $74
  • Toddler kilts $79
  • Youth kilts $128
  • Raw material is $45/yard

Tartan:

I will try to remember to bring my tape measure to help people with sizing out in the parking lot at Fowling. Otherwise there are measuring guides inside the order form.

I hope to get a few more of these floating around!

Cheers guys!

Detroit City 2017 Kit Guess

I’ve been getting a lot of work done on my fake world cup stuff, but recently Detroit City FC announced their 2017 charity match and charity: the Kalamazoo match 23. June will benefit Alternatives for Girls, a Detroit-based charity that helps homeless and at-risk girls and women in the city.

What a great group to be helping, and honestly what amazing possibilities for some awesome charity kits, right?

Right.

Listen, I designed more kits and I’m about to shove them down your eyeholes.

Anyway, I decided to guess what the 2017 Detroit City kits are going to look like. I have a bit of an advantage because I’ve possibly been tipped off to what they aren’t but there are still a lot of unknowns. First is the possibility of a fourth set of kits hinted at debuting at the Glentoran match as throw-backs to the Detroit Cougars.

But, as a few of us agreed, there is the likely chance that there will still be only three sets – home, throw-back, and charity. I think this is what we will end up seeing. It keeps with tradition and doesn’t saturate the market with unwanted kits.

So let’s start with that throw-back. This isn’t terribly hard, we already have a raging clue: Glentoran already unveiled their Cougar throw-back kits and they are white plus orange. From there it is easy to deduce that ours will be black and orange. Here it is folks, our first non-white secondary kits. That’s pretty exciting. But what will they look like? Maybe something like this:

Simple black kits with orange trim/cuffing. Arm space is almost always reserved for the league and sponsors so I’ve put the Cougar’s logo on the pant leg.

It would be strange seeing orange on our kits, of all things, but I assume that as throw-backs they’ll be in for a season and out. Hopefully, though, the black stays and next season we can have some black on black on black kits.

So we got a black and orange kit… what next? How about a pink and black charity kit!

Our charity, Alternatives for Girls takes over on the chest of a stunning hot pink and black combination. I love, love, the idea of pink/black kits for Detroit City. If we do end up getting them, they will surely be hard to beat in the future.

Definitely check out the Alternatives for Girls site and give them a follow/like on your favorite social media site. Very excited to bring them into the DCFC family.

“That’s all fine and dandy,” you might be thinking. “But there’s only one kit I care about” and you’d not be wrong.

I don’t think you’re right, but you’re not wrong what with opinions and subjectivity and all, but you do you. I love secondary and alternate kits a lot as an expression of creativity. Home kits should be consistent, the others should shake it up from time to time a place to test what works and what doesn’t. To throw metaphoric shit against the wall and see what sticks.

Anyway, the home kits:

Rouge. Lots and lots of rouge. And a little bit of white. It’s very similar to a design I posted a while ago, but I’ve added the collar so the home kit isn’t just a ctrl+c, ctrl+v of last year’s, which admittedly was very simple.

Anyway, that wraps up this “surprise” update. Hope you guys enjoyed and feel free to let me know what you think… or, alternatively if you are a kit manufacturer hire me.

Cheers, everyone.