Fan identity and DNA in sports jerseys

Over recent weeks I have become exposed on a deeper level to the branding and illustrations of sporting organisations, particularly in major league baseball and American football. Part of this emerged with my interest into the story behind the Houston Astros rainbow jersey.

Listening to Jon Contino and Todd Radom, I feel compelled to explore the relationship between the design of a sports jersey and how they can be perceived by fans as an extension of their personal identity.

The trigger for this was the fan response to the Los Angeles Rams reintroducing the long established colours (the primary blue and yellow) for five throwback games, as opposed to the gold and white after relocating to Los Angeles from St Louis. I was also intrigued by the fan response to Arizona State University basing their new uniform design to “feature sublimated chest patterns based on the Arizona flag.”

I’m stoked to share this research over the next few weeks.

The performance of design systems in baseball

I have become fascinated with the concept of the ‘performance of design.’

I wanted to share some notes from a a conversation between Chris David Garcia (Head of Creative at the Houston Astros) and Aaron Draplin that happened after MLC Connect in Chicago.

  • In game, designers are at the frontline. They don’t have six weeks, they have the end of the sixth inning. Designers lament over what we have to achieve in two months, designers in sport have to do it in a game.
  • I learnt a new appreciation for what they do. Speed. Accuracy. Working the best under pressure.
  • Design is a gift that you can craft and if you focus it in, you can create a beautiful system. Bad day or good night, there is a way to handle it with a good design system.
  • Parts and pieces of the typefaces and assets ready to go. That is how they handle the pressure.