Thursday, September 1, 2011


The rumors are true….the NFL lockout is over and to celebrate we have a whole new season of NFL graphic tees and fleece ready for you!!!  It takes a lot of time and research to achieve the vintage style that we pride ourselves on, and a lot if it is down to our resident sports designer Tristan. We asked him a little about his process….

1. Can you walk us through the research/design timeline for a collection like this?

Tristan : Researching and concepting designs for NFL takes a reeeeally long time because it’s so hard to make them look different.  It’s really easy to find athletic graphics out there but to make them look special and “Junk Food” worthy means there has to be something a little twisted to them to make them stand out.  A lot of times I will take inspiration from things that are unrelated to the subject matter.  For instance, on the long sleeve NFL designs, I looked at a lot of old military patches and stenciled letters to get the hand stamped, DIY look.  For the helmet designs, I found a bunch of old Fleer NFL football cards from the 1970’s and grabbed elements from those to make the shirts feel like they were from that era.  The little established dates that accompany the main part of the graphics are intended to look like they were drawn on with marker by the owner of the shirt.  Each design that I did is individually distressed so that none of the teams’ shirts look the same.  Pretty much any avenue in the design process where I could do it by hand I did just to make sure the designs didn’t get stiff. 

In all, it took me about six months to get through finalizing all of the teams’ shirts and even after that I was still tweaking and changing things up until the every last minute!  Designing NFL is like solving a long, difficult math problem because you have to make classic sports shirts look different but still recognizable to the fans and approvable to to the NFL.  Anything composition you do for one team has to be able to work for all the rest of them so it gets a bit tough once it’s time to rollout the rest of the teams.  NFL is such a huge account for us and there are so many fans out there that we really have to find a way to make our NFL tee’s stand out from the competition.  Luckily, I think we were able to make some really great shirts this season.

2.What was your inspiration for the new NFL line?

Whoops, I guess I kind of already answered this....

3. Do you have a favorite design from this assortment?

I think one of my favorite designs is the long sleeve Vikings shirt.  It was the first one I did in this style when I was first concepting the line and something about it just worked.  I think part of it is that I think the Vikings have one of the coolest icons and that there team and city name is long enough that I could make a complete circle around the Viking head.

4. I know you are currently working on NFL 2012, any details you can share yet? (Will be our little secret!)

or the new line, I’m still very much in the conceptual stage of everything.  At the moment I have probably somewhere between 50-75 different graphics going on, and they’re all with the Chicago Bears.  Usually I’ll start by picking one team and trying as many options as I can.  Once we find an assortment that works I’ll start trying the layouts out with all the other teams.  Sometimes they work great and other times they don’t and it’s back to the drawing board!  Although it’s a long process, I really enjoy it because at the end you can stand back and look at an entire line that all belongs together and can creates a big impact.

Thanks Tristan!!!

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