By Phil Hecken, featuring the Design Genius of Danny Finocchio
I’m back with a very special treat for you all today. You guys will recall a post from a few months back where I featured the design genius of Danny Finocchio, who turned his vision for “vintage inspired” baseball uniforms into graphic splendor. If you didn’t happen to check that out, please do so.
Since that article appeared, I had been corresponding with Danny, who mentioned that as a soccer fan, he had some ideas for the 32 team World Cup soccer tournament which will be taking place down in South Africa shortly. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a soccer fan, but much like the Olympics, I LOVE the World Cup, and will be following it rather intently.
So when Danny asked me if he could design his vision for World Cup uniforms, I jumped at the chance to bring him back for another feature article. Let me just say that he did not disappoint. In fact, even if you are not a fan of the world’s most popular sport, you will be simply awed by what you are about to see. The quality (and these are extremely high-res graphics) is amazing, as are the designs themselves, in many cases (IMHO), much better than what the participating nations will be wearing. Seriously.
If you love uniforms, and well, if you’re reading Uni Watch, that’s pretty much a given, then sit back and enjoy. Because these are incredible. It literally took me an hour and a half just to upload these graphics, and believe me, each time a set of five (that’s how he sent them) opened up, I was blown away. Let’s have a quick chat with Danny and then we’ll look at his masterpieces:
Uni Watch: You said you were interested in soccer. When did this interest begin?
Danny Finocchio: I’ve always liked football a.k.a. soccer throughout my life, and enjoyed playing it when I was younger. But when I was eleven years old I moved away from home and consequently stopped playing. I didn’t stop playing because I didn’t like it anymore, I stopped because there wasn’t a league where I moved!
UW: So what happened then?
DF: I wasn’t playing anymore, and as the years went on football faded from my mind. I didn’t really get back into the game until the summer of 2005. I got swept up in the qualifying matches leading up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and ever since the love for football has been back.
UW: Yes, I remember that World Cup. I think that may have been the last time I actually watched soccer, but I admit, I was riveted, and am looking forward to the 2010 version. Did that get you back into soccer, the 2006 Cup?
DF: Being a graphic designer and uni-watcher, football has a whole other meaning to it. The kit (uniform) culture. Over the past four to five years since I’ve been following soccer again I’ve also been completely obsessed with the kits of all my favorite club and national teams (AC Milan, Italian Nat’l Team & U.S. Nat’l Team), and I wait impatiently for the release of the annual kit changes.
UW: So, what’s your take on soccer, um, kits? How to they stack up in the uniform world?
DF: In my opinion, football is on the cutting-edge of uniform design. From a fabric and structural standpoint, every new shirt that comes out is more advanced than the last. That’s important, but the reason why I’m constantly checking sites for the newest shirt release is because of the design aspects. What I find best about football kits is how they mesh decades of tradition from past years with modern design aesthetics in mind. In my mind, football is the only sport that does that with any success (of course, there are many exceptions). That’s a serious challenge though.
UW: Indeed. Wait. You mean soccer, when you say football, right? I kid, I kid. But we have seen some of baseball and American football teams fall woefully short of blending old and new. How tough was it to come up with 32 “Danny Finocchio” uniforms?
DF: We’ve all seen when a team in MLB or NFL tries to update a classic uniform with a “modern” or “futuristic” look … it never seems to work out. So, I just tried to simplify things. I didn’t want to stray too far from the traditional look of a particular team, but I also wanted to incorporate my influence into the kit. And that was the big challenge. Although I certainly ran into problems trying to create something unique for each team, I think I succeeded in giving each country/kit its’ own personality and identity.
UW: So what have you got in store for the readers?
DF: In honor of the upcoming World Cup in South Africa I decided to create concepts for all thrity-two teams who qualified for the event. I was too impatient in waiting for each country to unveil their new 2010 World Cup kit. So, over the past two and a half months I began working on my own concepts. Some of my kits are completely original, and some use the existing kits as inspiration.
UW: For your baseball “tweaks” (although I hate to call them that), you created a brand new “template” — did you do that for the World Cup unis?
DF: I began creating a kit by starting from one of two templates I created, one set with a collar and one without. Then I started creating the right look that I wanted for that particular team (stripes, hoops, solid color, symmetrical/asymmetrical). After I had a look down I’d scour the internet for the right badges and logos for the team and it’s kit manufacturer and place them in the appropriate locations. Once they were in place I would choose an appropriate font for lettering and numbering. Lastly, I focused on the socks and tried to give them a unique look. Finally, I’d overlay them on the background I’d created featuring the World Cup Trophy.
UW: Thanks Danny. Let’s see what you’ve done. I’ll post the teams in alphabetical order and then you describe them, or their inspiration or anything else we may need to know.
OK dear readers. Enjoy:
Algeria — This set reflects the Algerian flag and its’ colors. It also has a unique number/lettering font choice.
Argentina — This is my take on one of the most iconic kits of all-time.
Australia — Nike really did a great job with their Australia kit this year, my concept is largely based off of their design. I tweaked it a bit, and added the Southern Cross constellation on their shirts.
Brazil — Another take on a classic kit. But I always thought Brazil would look great with a white kit.
Cameroon — This is certainly one of the more unique kits of the series, especially with the red pinstripes on a yellow shirt.
Chile — I wanted to spice up the original, boring design by Brooks. The pattern is reminiscent of traditional Chilean artwork.
Denmark — This kit is very simple…two colors. This kit was also designed with the Danish flag in mind.
England — Umbro did an amazing job with the England kits this year, and they are by far my favorites. I was simply trying to expand on their idea by incorporating the English flag and giving them a collar.
France — Adidas always creates a cutting-edge design for France, and I was trying to do my own version, in my own way.
Germany — It’s very rare that you see a grey kit these days. I think it really works for Germany.
Ghana — This set is great, because the black kit has a real menacing look about it while the white looks really traditional and clean.
Greece — I really wanted to give them some stripes to reflect their flag. I added a little gradient to try to separate it from Argentina’s design.
Honduras — There is a reason brands like Brooks, Joma, and Hummel are being phased out…it’s because their kits are boring. Joma made a generic kit for Honduras this year, and I wanted to change that. The kit reflects its’ flag with its’ striping, colors, and five-star emblem (represents the five original Central American provinces).
Italy — I am not a huge fan of what Puma designed for the Azzurri this year. I really love my design. I love the incorporation of gold, the lettering choice, and the intricate stitching throughout the design.
Ivory Coast — I’ve always loved their colors. They, along with the pattern really make the kit stand out in the series.
Japan — This kit came out really nice, mainly because of the ‘Land of The Rising Sun’ socks I gave them.
Mexico — These kits are meant to reflect the ancient Aztec culture of Mexico. I love the combination of green and black, and also the pattern on the kits. They really look intimidating.
Netherlands — I love this set, because each kit has completely different colors. I think Nike does a great job of representing Dutch design. I certainly wanted to keep that going by creating clean lines, and a sense of symmetry.
New Zealand — They always have simple, beautiful kits. My set doesn’t stray far from that. They’re one of few teams that don’t traditionally put a number on the front of their shirts.
Nigeria — Again, with this kit, I was inspired by their flag and created green/grey horizontal hoops on their shirts.
North Korea — It was hard to create a look for North Korea because Kim Jong-Il has created a bad reputation for their country, but mainly it was because Hummel already stifled my creative with their boring design! I thought something with no-frills would do the trick. The socks also really stand out.
Paraguay — This kit makes a definite use of the red and blue stripes on the Paraguay flag.
Portugal — I love the bold green/red/black combination. The home shirt also represents the Portugal flag. And I love how one side of the shirt is completely different from the other.
Serbia — Here’s another example of a set that has two completely different kits. The colors work great together, and really look great as a set.
Slovakia — These kits mirror the ones Adidas designed for them. I added a different number/lettering font, and tweaked the striped shirt a bit.
Slovenia — This set is my favorite, hands down. I liked the kit Nike designed for them, but I thought the pointed lines went overboard a bit. In my design I toned that down to give a much simpler look. They stand out so much because colors are just so unique.
South Africa — I had to give the Hosts a great kit, and I think I did. They also have a beautiful color combination. I added an African inspired pattern that alternates in colors on the underarms and socks.
South Korea — I think this set is also has a really bold look. I also added a nice pattern on the insides of the arms.
Spain — They have a very royal crest, so I wanted that feel to come across with this design. I also think the design on the socks really makes this kit pop.
Switzerland — I really wanted to employ the use of the Swiss cross in this set. I think it helped to create a real ”˜Swiss look’ to the set.
United States — Let me start by saying I absolutely love the kits Nike design for the U.S. this year, but I wanted to create my own, completely separate from their design. This is perhaps the boldest design in the bunch. I know the American flag shirt looks loud, but it’s striking. I think it would make for a beautiful yet intimidating shirt on the pitch.
Uruguay — I love the electric blue/black color combination. I kept it simple because I thought the colors do all the work visually. The only frills here are the alternating striped socks.
Wow. Just outstanding work Danny. [Those graphics are actually only the “large” version — far too “big” to actually post. If you have a super-powerful/fast computer, I’m including the link to the full set so you can view them at 5100×3300 resolution. — PH]
Thanks for sharing those incredible designs with Uni Watch. I’m sure you have an outstanding future in the graphic design world, and I hope you’ll be back with some more concepts for some other sports down the line.
And now a quick word from Paul: Greetings from Scotland, where the whisky is strong and the haggis is tasty. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyway, just wanted to acknowledge that the very first Uni Watch column appeared in The Village Voice 11 years ago today. Much like the blog’s fourth anniversary a few weeks ago, the column’s decade-plus run is a testament to all the help and support I’ve gotten from you folks — cheers, mates. See you next week.
Time to meet the guys at Bub’s. Well…at least their speech bubbles. Here’s Rick:
Life requires a little rebuilding once in a while. And sometimes there’s a major reworking necessary. Man, is it great to have an old friend to introduce you to his friends at a time like that or what?
Here’s your very special Wednesday Benchies.
[Benchies appears every Saturday and Sunday on Uni Watch.]
Uni Watch News Ticker: Not sure if you’re aware of the popular quiz website, sporcle.com writes Mike Spinelli. Here is a very “uni watch” quiz which asks takers to identify the baseball team given an example of a jersey number. … Stephen Wong and Dan O’Connor both checked in to say a beautiful collection of football (soccer) shirts were auctioned off this week. … Handball logo news from Jeremy Brahm: Here is the logo for the International Handball Federation SuperGlobe tournament, a competition of the top club teams from the different regions of the Federation, Pan Americas (blue), Europe (red), Africa (green), Qatar (host and maroon), Asia (yellow) and Oceania (black). Kind of like a globe of the world. … Also from Jeremy, a new design for a handball to be used at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. … Reader John Choe has some DIY coolness to share: “The DIYers on your site have inspired me and I wanted to share with you my first attempts. The Red Sox shirt in the first picture was made with fabric paint, a fabric marker, and a plain white shirt ($3). It holds up surprisingly well in the wash. I downloaded the “Red Sox” font from Chris Creamer’s website and the numbers from your membership card gallery. I stenciled the logo/numbers with pencil and then painted and ironed. My son had a hole in one of his red socks, so I cut them and presto. Bonus: it was an opportunity to teach him at a young age that the low part of the stirrups goes in the front. You know, important life lesson. I did the Steelers shirt for my friend’s 3 yr old in the same manner ($3 white shirt, Creamer’s site, stencil, paint, iron). I got the font for the last name free on the Internet. The Steelers logo was tricky to do w/ paint b/c it was so small. So I printed onto an iron-on transfer and ironed it on. I enjoy the fact that it’s apparent upon close inspection that these shirts were made at home. Plus, no manufacturers’ logos on them!” … Darin Nelson states, “I’ve heard of compression shirts and shorts, but compression socks? Last night I noticed Paul Pierce had them on. Looked like he could be playing for Team USA in the World Cup. Basically his socks had that Hexpad shape for protection up his shins. I know the hexpad protection is popular on shoulders, ribs and thighs (all the sudden I feel like BBQ) but never on socks, thought it was interesting.” (Looks like Rondo has them too) — readers? any insights? … Eric Bunnell notes the Trib has Hawk fever … At least I’m not the only one who hates BFBS. Andreas Papadopoulos states: “Now I’m no fan of Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada but I thought you’d be interested in this video clip from yesterday’s Coach’s Corner ripping the San Jose Sharks for their teal uniforms and demanding they switch to all black. Money Quote: ‘Teal? How can you play tough? This is hockey!'” … Brian Thrall noticed something interesting. Take a look of this photo of Crabtree’s helmet. It appears that the “SF” logo on the side of the helmet is from the previous years decal. The red in it is much different than the “new/old” throwback red that the Niners went back to for the 2010 season. … Cool mascot–vintage uniform on left–vintage clothing holding tape (with thanks to Bill Mitchell … “Check out this link,” writes Larro “and watch the Arena Football 1991 War on the Floor video (scroll down). These are some hideous uniforms.” The video is like, 2 hours long, so you may want to save that one for later. … Seth Tannenbaum has a great question: “My cousins are Yankees fans (I know, I know, everyone’s family has problems) and they recently attended a game at Yankee Stadium where they noticed some interesting cut-out patterns around first and third base. Conveniently, Wikipedia has contrasting photos (with cutouts) that show the difference (without). I was wondering if you had any clue as to the reason behind those cut outs.” Anyone? … Photo of the day goes to Maks Skuz, who found this absolutely gorgeous shot of the 1961 Chicago hockey team, with the Stanley Cup. Note, they were still the “Black Hawks” (2 words) back then. … Chandler Swenson checks in with this: “In this clip of England defeating West Germany in the 1966 World Cup, the goalie is wearing a hat. It can be most clearly seen on the controversial 3rd English goal. After a few quick google searches, I couldn’t find anything regarding the history of soccer goalies wearing hats. I was wondering if this is something you have encountered before, or was this a one-off thing?” Readers? … Richard Meneghello tips us to this video released by the Portland Timbers in anticipation of their new logo unveiling in a few weeks. … Day three of the Venus Watch continues with a new SI gallery (thanks Brinke Guthrie). … Also from Brinke, did American Needle just help Under Armour? … Kirsten checks in with “A plan for a small summer excursion.” — Custard & Candelas. … Sean Patton breaks the news we’ve all been waiting for: The University of Arkansas’ apparel contract with Adidas expires June 30th of this year and their contract with Nike starts July 1st. Here is the first look given of the football team’s new uni’s, photos and a video were released today by the athletic department via the Razorback website. Says Jim Bowles (who also sent in that pic), “They are horrible.” I agree. … More from Jeremy with this from the Sumo World — Yokozuna grand champion Hakuho, won his 14th championship with two matches to go last Friday. This is what he wore on the right. Well on Saturday he busted out a gold belt to signify a “golden era” for him. He has now won 32 matches in a row. … For obvious reasons, we love ‘stirrup banter’ on MLB broadcasts. Samantha Skolnick caught some great chatter. While watching the Giants game, Nyger Morgan came to bat with his usual stirrups but this time it prompted a small buzz from the Giants announcers: Kruk: “You notice Morgan, you know the first thing I notice, the old school socks. They got stirrups.” Kuip: “Don’t see many guys wearing stirrups anymore. Tucks the pants under old style, I mean this guy’s got old school written across his chest.” Nice! … And finally, Andrew Harrington ran into a fellow who is part of a vintage base ball (two words) team called the Cleveland Blues. They play other vintage teams and abide by the 1860s era rulebook, so it’s actually more like slowpitch softball but with actual vintage, homemade equipment and period uniforms. There are tons of great photos (both of the Blues and their opponents) and info about the phenomenon on their website. For example: a match they played on the (remnants of) the field at League Park, the same diamond where the Spiders, the Naps, the (original) Blues, and the Indians all played for many years. The same diamond on which the Indians won the 1920 World Series and gave the World Series it’s first recorded Grand Slam and its only unassisted triple play. The same diamond on which Joe DiMaggio recorded the final 3 hits of his 56-game streak. The same diamond on which Babe Ruth hit No. 500. It’s now a public park. Phew. Thus endeth the mother of all Tickers. Thanks to all who contributed!
“[The goal was scored] a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God. — Diego Maradona