Yes, I admit it. Rather than doing the decent thing of going out and hanging around with girls during my younger years, I found peace and contentment by designing football kits. It probably accounts for something, but my wife’s probably the best person to say it.
|Felt-tip creations: Arsenal,Liverpool (away),|
generic and Leeds United.
Actually, it wasn’t always felt tip pens. Though they added strong, bold colours to the page, that same boldness could be inconsistent if you overlapped an area you’d already covered. That’s why pencils were sometimes my medium of choice, although it was slightly harder to scrub the colour onto the page.
|In water-colour: Ipswich|
(home and away)
Before you even designed a kit, you had to draw an outline template which would go on to be coloured in. Though some of my peers would have gone for the simple shirt-shorts-socks approach (latterly showed in its finest possible light by John Devlin), I always favoured an action shot of a real player. The trouble was you had to find exactly the right pose to show off all the important details the kit you wanted to draw. Having found one, however, you could then trace it onto one page after another to provide you with a consistent template for future drawings.
|Computer-designed generic kits|
Once you were armed with a large stack of outline templates, however, you were all set for a heavy session of kit designing heaven. The big question was always “Which team’s kit shall I design?” and for me that was answered by focusing on the top teams of the day, both at club level and on the international scene. All well and good, but that virtually blank sheet of paper could either inspire you with potential or strike you rigid with the absence of detail staring back at you. What you needed was a device to help you get started, and for me, that was always the branding used by specific manufacturers.
|More felt-tip kits:|
Derby and Man United
Sensing that the enormous number of teams I could potentially design kits for was somehow not enough, I even managed to extend the range by creating a whole new realm for my imagination to embrace. In the pre-internet days of the late 1980’s I proposed to a friend of mine that we create a play-by-mail football game, the like of which were very popular back then (as the back pages of World Soccer will verify).
My idea was to create a championship competition whereby entrants could ‘manage’ one of many teams around the world with the intention of winning a World Cup of sorts. In my game, however, those teams would be entirely fictional and would represent well-known cities from around the globe. To make the game more real, my friend and I set about the task of designing kits for all of them and this is where the fun began.
|My world championship:|
Auckland and Tokyo kits
And what now, as a man just turned 40? Do I still design football kits? Do I yearn to explore every avenue of my creativity? Truth be known, the need to retire to a world of imagination is nowhere near as strong for me as it was. Nowadays, when I use my computer to illustrate a football kit, it’s to bring an existing design to the attention of an unknowing world. This is the thinking behind Kitbliss, a pet project of mine I created some time ago to occasionally showcase kits chosen virtually at random. It’s very much a work in progress and will one day, I hope, be an online catalogue showing thousands of diverse designs covering many decades of football history.
|Generic felt-tip kit designs|
Here on The Football Attic, we aim to bring you lots of our favourite kit designs from down the years, and we look forward to hearing about your own design efforts, either via a comment on this post or by emailing us at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com.