Some of you may recall design Mark Willis’s great “Soccer Out of Context” project from a few years ago, in which Willis took MLB jerseys and repurposed them as soccer jerseys. I’m not a soccer fan, but I liked the project so much that I ended up doing an interview with Willis.
Willis now has a new project, and it’s a doozy. I’ll let him explain:
I periodically take on unsolicited “identity sketch” projects from as design exercises. I’ve worked up rebrands for various American soccer entities (the Earthquakes, the Crew, the Revolution, NYCFC before they had a brand, Louisville City FC, etc.) They are mostly very well received which, I feel both proud and fortunate to say.
As a huge American soccer fan, my “white whale” so to speak has always been U.S. Soccer’s identity. The shield/star/ball/stripe thing they’ve had for several decades has never done it for me, and I’d say most U.S. fans are ready for a change. As you’re probably aware, Nike appears poised to update the shield at the next jersey cycle.
Knowing I wouldn’t have the “old” (current) mark to riff against any longer, I recently prepared and published a piece called “Identity Sketches for U.S. Soccer,” in which I detailed how and why I’d design a replacement for today’s U.S. Soccer shield. The response to it was extremely positive — it received a huge amount of traffic, got elevated to the top spot on /r/ussoccer and was chosen as a Staff Pick by Medium (where I sometimes cross-publish). I enjoyed watching many thousands of views and hundreds of positive reactions roll in.
This past week, the project moved over to my apparel operation, Clean Sheet Co., where I began selling a T-shirt based on the crest design that I proposed in the article. It was pre-funded in less than a day and is already our fastest selling pre-sale ever.
I’ll most likely forever be on the outside of the U.S. Soccer/Nike establishment, but it’s nice to know my work is connecting with people. More than a few have petitioned U.S. Soccer to consider my design for the official mark, which of course is a non-starter (Nike has it covered), but I like that folks believe in it. Likewise, my work as an independent designer and at Clean Sheet Co. has always been focused on bringing outsider ideas to life, and fostering community. With all of that in mind, I’ve decided to call my U.S. Soccer design “The People’s Crest.” After all, the design isn’t really for the teams; it’s for the fans.
Based on what’s transpired so far, I’ve decided to take the idea of a “People’s Crest” even further by doing something a little unprecedented: I’m going to open up my U.S. Soccer-inspired design work to everybody and make it freely accessible to the community — to open-source it in a way. I’ve launched a project hub that contains a downloadable pack of resources — vector files for the mark, Photoshop files, PDFs, fonts, and more. If I can’t give this mark to U.S. Soccer itself, I’d like to give it to the U.S. Soccer community. Clean Sheet Co. will be the steward of the project and will make updates, accept collaborative input from others, and generally coordinate things as we move forward.
Anybody in the world — especially in the American soccer community — will be free to download, adjust, remix, print, or adapt the mark however they like, as long as they’re giving away their work. The idea, hopefully, is to create a talisman that the American soccer fan community feels is their own. Kind of the reverse of the Nike marketing machine telling fans what they should love.
I’m proud of the work, and it’s scary to think about giving it away, but it’s also thrilling. I’m eager to see how the project evolves.
Faaaaascinating. What say ye, soccer fans? I’m interested to hear what you think about this one.
Baseball News: Artist Sean Kane, whose awesome painted baseball gloves have been featured on Uni Watch several times over the years, has some new pieces devoted to Shoeless Joe, Matty, and “Casey at the Bat” (more on that one here). “These are all on century-old gloves,” he says. ”¦ Interesting piece on the scars from Tommy John surgery. ”¦ Ninety-three years ago yesterday: Sally the Chimp in a Giants uniform at the 1922 World Series. ”¦ Charles Apple has designed a very good logo- and team color-driven infograph on Astros history (thanks to Brandon H for bringing it to my attention). ”¦ New
branding logos for the Hickory Crawdads (from Harrison Huntley). ”¦ New uniforms for the Crawdads as well. ”¦ As we all know, A’s managers and coaches wore white caps from 1965 through 1980. So it’s surprising to see this shot of then-skipper Dick Williams wearing a green cap in 1972 (nice find by Ferdinand Cesarano). ”¦ Mako Mameli came up with these cool photos of Rawlings gloves being made. ”¦ New caps for Penn State. ”¦ New “Sactown” alternate uni next year for the Sacramento River Cats (from Richard Paloma and Aaron Davis). ”¦ Imagine if the Astros had worn a cap like this with their tequila sunrise uniforms. That guy was at last night’s ’Stros/Yanks play-in game (from Alan Kreit). ”¦ Speaking of the ’Stros, Evan Gattis continues to wear a very beat-up belt.
NFL News: Pinktober trickle-down: “I officiate high school football and kids are buying into this as well,” says Joe Bailey. “Last Friday night I asked a player why he had pink cleats. His response: ‘Because the NFL players do it.'” Hey, at least they’re raising awareness of something. ”¦ A Catholic priest who’s also a big Giants fan is in hot water for allegedly aiming a gun at an eight-year-old boy who came to church wearing a Cowboys jersey. Have I mentioned lately that jersey sales just lead to idiocy? (From Chris Flinn.) ”¦ Buried within this story is the news that Lions WR Golden Tate and Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse exchanged jerseys after Monday night’s game. ”¦ Here are a waitress’s thoughts about dress codes in restaurants. ”¦ A guy in California will paint your favorite NFL team’s logo on your lawn. ”¦ Good shot of Giants equipment director Joe Skiba in action (from Kenny Ocker). ”¦ Speaking of Skeebs, he’s apparently cutting the stripe tape but not the front numerals when dealing the SpeedFlex helmet’s flex panel (from Alex Sinclair). ”¦ Remember how the Packers had their retro logo on their visor tabs? Trevor Schumacher notes that they’re no longer doing that. ”¦ Great shot of Paul Warfield from the 1970 Pro Bowl (from Ronnie Poore). ”¦ Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald looks more like a 49er than a Cardinal in the NFL’s weekly Instagram graphic.
College and High School Football News: 1995 Rose Bowl throwback apparently in the works for Northwestern. ”¦ Looks like Buffalo might have a matte black helmet this week (from Mike Monaghan). ”¦ Houston’s coaches have taped SMU jerseys to the floor so the Houston players can walk all over them in the lead-up to this week’s game. Wait, what is that word that includes “sports”? Oh, right — sportsmanship. ”¦ Some high school players in Nebraska were removed from a game for wearing unauthorized Pinktober accessories. ”¦ Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh gave some background info on the team’s merit decals. ”¦ How pathetic is this: With Arizona State planning a blackout game this weekend, the school is reminding fans that attending in blackface might not be the best idea. ”¦ A 17-year-old Oregon girl who’s the placekicker on her high school team was named homecoming queen, prompting her to replace her helmet with a crown. ”¦ A new Nissan commercial pokes some fun at Oregon’s ever-changing uniforms (from Micahel Greenwald). ”¦ USF apparently going with the oversized gold-leaf helmet logo this week. ”¦ I feel like we’ve probably covered this before, but does anyone know why Jim Brown has a white helmet stripe while everyone else has navy in this old Syracuse shot?
Hockey News: Latest DIY project from our friend Wafflebored: a whale-shaped arena for Hartford. ”¦ New Blue Jackets-themed alternates for the Lake Erie Monsters. ”¦ Awesome inaugural jersey design for the New York Riveters of the NWHL. ”¦ New uniforms for Nebraska-Omaha (from John Muir). ”¦ As we know, the Sharks are adding a 25th-anniversary patch this season. But they didn’t wear it during the preseason and also didn’t have their customary front uni numbers in that same spot, leaving their upper-right chest area unblemished for the first time in recent memory (from Cole Bryant).
Basketball News: Here’s a good look at the Bucks’ new road uniforms in action. “So nice,” says Jesse Zakshesky. ”¦ And here are the new Sixers road unis in action. ”¦ Here’s a pretty detailed breakdown about what the Hawks’ new uniforms supposedly say about Atlanta (thanks, Phil). ”¦ No photo, but Mat Chavez says the new officials’ jerseys “make them all look like they have long dark hair.” … New uniforms for Penn. ”¦ New uniforms for Tulane and UMass, too (thanks, Phil).
Soccer News: There are apostrophe catastrophes and then there are flat-out apostrophe clusterfucks, as in the case of this Texas A&M soccer ad. If you’re going to have a lame slogan, people, at least learn how to punctuate it (thanks, Phil).
Grab Bag: A reader who prefers to remain anonymous says: “Talked with my Under Armour rep on Tuesday, and he said the deal for the University of Wisconsin and Under Armour is basically all but signed. He even showed me some Wisconsin clothing with the Motion W and Bucky Badger on them for next year. He said that the deal would obviously be done after this academic year, and that we can take order of Wisconsin Under Armour gear in mid-June of 2016. Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez seems to be keeping this information close to his chest for some reason (probably since he is still under contract with Adidas).” … Here’s a Reddit thread in which members of the military were invited to give their thoughts about camouflage sports uniforms. I conducted something similar back in 2009 (Reddit link from Wyatt Beltz). ”¦ This is pretty great: library card socks (from Phil Johnson). ”¦ Burger King’s BFBS Whopper will turn your shit green. ”¦ What a surprise: The two big fantasy sports operations are corrupt. I’m sure nobody saw that one coming. ”¦ The USA’s golf club headcovers for the President’s Cup feature the Declaration of Independence. ”¦ New custom bike for world champion cyclist Peter Sagan (from Anthony Nuccio). ”¦ The South Lamar (Ala.) volleyball team has a player with one white numeral and one gold numeral (from Dustin Semore). ”¦ A Brooklyn police precinct — technically not my local precinct but still just a mile and a half from my house — is getting in the Pinktober spirit (from Brian Wulff).