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Design Football Memebrs Blog

Jan 01

2012 - A Review and look forward at what 2013 holds

Posted by Jay29ers in Untagged 


So that's that.  An eclectic year in the world of football design packed full of ample good, bad and ugly.  A year when football design intertwined with some of the biggest news stories to ensure 2012 would leave thousands of brightly-attired images indelibly printed on our memories.  Let's take a look back...

The London 2012 Olympics

As cliché'd as it is to bring it up, London 2012 nailed it in oh so many ways, not least with Stella McCartney's football kit (well, the shirt - the shorts and socks were stripelessly lame).  Both the men's and women's Team GBs went out of their competitions with a whimper after encouraging starts but their shirts, in keeping with the stylish adidas outfits of the other athletes, were a breath of fresh air that will be looked back on with fondness.  If only McCartney had been tasked with designing the England kit.


Alas, poor Umbro, we knew them so well.  Technically, they're still with us, now part of the Iconix family after being disowned by Nike, though it remains to be seen whether they'll be releasing any new football kits for 2013-14.  As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American sportswear behemoth, it shouldn't come as a great surprise that Nike have pinched all the decent contracts, but this may be just the clean slate Umbro need to get their mojo back.  The debt of gratitude our world owes them only increases with every Umbro-influenced new shirt we see - Manchester United's 2013-14 effort seems to fit perfectly into the lineage which began with Tailored By in 2009 - even if the fact remains that they dropped the ball in most recent times.

We hope Umbro are able to continue, in some form, and wish everyone affected by their decline well for the future, particularly those not culpable, simply casualties of a hostile economy and apparently misfiring r&d.  Umbro have been fantastic to DF - including yours truly - over the years and restored many people's faith in kit design.  Fingers crossed we'll be seeing some great new Umbro designs before too long.

The Americans are coming

Nike had an up and down year - the fantastic Dutch and French kits in Euro 2012 followed by the Manchester United gingham horrorshow, Arsenal's purple peril and Barça's "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it" moment - but this season also marked the arrival of (a less technology-centric than we'd been led to believe) Under Armour and Warrior to Spurs and Liverpool, bringing kits that, despite not fulfilling the requirements of a multi-competition and international club season, occasionally whet the appetite for more.  View this season as a range-finder, 2013-14 could be interesting.


Back in 2010 I asked some serious questions of Puma.  I have to admit I haven't been particularly conscious of any response in the intervening 30 odd months, though in trying to think up some high points in 2012 kit design - and yes I know how fantastic adidas's Germany Away was - Newcastle and Italy sprang to mind.  The former finally gave us painted stripes, and it worked well, the latter provided, in a 1982 World Cup victory commemorating twist on their Euro 2012 shirt, one of the finest out of reach designs ever.  There's 1982 of them out there, but you'll never get your hands on one.

Catalunya & FC Barcelona

Or Catalonia and Barça, if you prefer.  One, via Astore, behind the smokescreen of a, er, colourful smoky design, hinted at a controversial flag, the other controversially announced they will take on the colours of their regional flag, all to a backdrop of political unrest and calls for Catalan independence.  To paraphrase Skunk Anansie, everything's political, even football design.

Don't look back in anger

How perspicacious of me to feature retrospection in a retrospective of the past year.  2012 was the year of looking back, at football toys from our childhoods, at early 90s football video games - using both as a medium of looking back at football's most iconic events - and at football kits from years gone by, not least Olympique de Marseille reverting to blue socks and Celtic to black socks and turning out, at home, in a whole retro kit.  At the forefront, embracing this movement was The (fabulous) Football Attic - DF is proud to be representing in Subbuteo form in their League of Blogs - and The Football Shirt Collective.  The latter's sepia-toned emergence also coincided with the painfully cool Beyond Retro "vintage" brand getting involved in the old football shirt market, so we wait to see whether this is a turning point or just Hoxton's brief dalliance in the counter-counter-culture.  At this moment I can only liken the feeling to Tom Petty's on hearing the first Strokes album.

Don't look back

On the other hand, you know where you can stick your history.  Cardiff City looked to the future in rebranding to red, after over a hundred years in blue, and, yes, sold out of their brand new Home shirts.  You couldn't make it up.  Or rather you could, if you're a Machiavellian businessman sadly so vital to the survival of football clubs in the 21st century that, despite Cardiff fans' protestations, is likely to be the key to enabling many clubs' growth and longevity.  Welcome to modern football.'s members' influence grows

As ruthless as the marketeers can be, riding roughshod over traditions, they also value market research and offering fans the chance to vote on several kit designs may well result in the most saleable option more regularly being chosen.  Increase the buildup to a release by actually offering the opportunity to an amateur designer of having their own design realised and you really can be on to a winner.

AFC Wimbledon offered a vote between submitted amateur designs - several of which the work of DF members - and went with an Away kit from the drawing board of Morgan O'Brien, a regular on this site submitting under "everyonesname".  Do you remember where you were when AFC Wimbledon played MK Dons for the first time?  I bet Morgan does.

Torquay United offered their fans a vote, based around several designs provided - in a professional capacity - by DF member Meyer1, and 2012 was nicely rounded off with matupeco's design being chosen by Club Atlético Tigre to be worn in this year's Copa Libertadores.  matupeco even suggested the record number of just-for-fun DF competitions in 2012 helped him to hone his craft; he's very welcome.

And so to 2013.  What does the coming year hold.  Well...

The new England kit will be made by Nike

A year ago I pondered "whether or not Nike have had enough of allowing Umbro to continue with the England contract" and, as it turned out, they'd had enough of Umbro altogether.  Now the England shirt is in US hands and who knows how they'll go about the task?

Personally, I think it will be superb.  It may have little to live up to - the still technically current Home shirt retails at little more than a fiver - but Nike realise the potential of the contract and will pull out all the stops to give the English players and fans something that captures the imagination.

The one worry is the crest.  Will it be in heat-transfered plastic, some kind of holographic felt hybrid or will common sense and tradition prevail and the shirt be honoured with a beautiful full-coloured embroidered masterpiece, so seldom seen on any Nike product?

Roma to wear Warrior

The common consensus is that AS Roma will join Liverpool and Sevilla in the Warrior family, though there is no official confirmation at time of publishing.  Like with Liverpool, Warrior are likely to respect the wishes of the fans in providing a traditional Home kit, and let their imaginations loose on the change strips.  Expect a slightly more subdued approach in the change kits of all three teams, however, as Liverpool's fans may not have truly got onboard with this season's offerings.

Sunday league football to go upmarket

The Spain Confederations Cup shirt design was entirely bespoke but now appears to be applied to a template of other kits and, I suggest, will even influence a style of teamwear shirt in 2013-14.  If, like myself, you haven't dusted off the boots for a while, next season could give you just the excuse.  Accept nothing but the best - let Hackney Marshes be your catwalk. to continue to grow

2013 should be the year that this site - your site - hits the big time.  2012 saw several members having their kits produced by professional clubs, our reach greater than ever and with site participation levels akin to that of's Fantasy Kit Design.

We want to be able to offer prizes for competitions, we want to work with more clubs and associations to offer members more chances to see their kits being worn on pitches around the world and, with your help, this is within our reach.  If you haven't followed us on Twitter, please do so.  If you haven't Liked us on facebook, please do that too.  If you see us tweet something or share something on facebook that you like, please retweet, Like and share it.  If you see something that you think we'll be interested in then tweet us or post it on our facebook page.

The potential is there for to grow and provide all the opportunities that our members deserve.  2013 will see at least our 5000th member and at least our 10000th upload. can become whatever you want and need it to be.

Happy Designing.

Follow Jay29ers on twitter


Comments (4)

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Hopefully 2013 will be even better, 2012 was a very good year for kits on DF, and also real kits too.

On the competitions (the meat and potatoes of this site, IMHO), a chance to lock horns in friendly competition with a lot of talented designers, some of the entries were breathtaking, especially Matupeco who almost always brings his A game for the competitions. However good the Tigre shirt design is that will grace South America this year and hopefully the next [and its very good], I would still place it below 6 or 7 of his fantasy designs (Hopefully Sanfrecce and Nike have seen his change kit he designed and loved what they saw. On a design level, its just wonderfully put together and with really nice colours, and on a personal and emotional level, it symbolises the rebirth of an entire city. I try not to have faves, but I failed on this occasionsmilies/smiley.gif

Two of the comps in the early days of 2013 (Spurs and Morocco.....nothing to do with us, Jaysmilies/wink.gif) concentrate on two mistakes from companies that should have known better, and hopefully will be really good (or in the case of the Spurs comp, even more really good).

Also, a shout out to the crest designers, there have been some awesome ones, and Rabbi set the bar really high with his Angola crest, hopefully every new crest will be as great as that one.

Roll on 2013, and hopefully everybody on this site will roll out something that makes jaws drop

the user known as Spider , January 03, 2013
Well said, Spider. It has been stated elsewhere but I know everyone connected with DF is hugely thankful for all the contributions from members.

I did forget to mention that, amongst other highlights, Morgan O'Brien (everyonesname) also won the competition - in association with DF - to design a new crest for the reborn Wanderers AFC. Rabbi contributed several great entries to that as well.

Here's to a prosperous 2013.
Jay29ers , January 03, 2013
Have you seen any sign of that black Puma Cat on a Newcastle kit that you were predicting in 2010?
Ian Connell , January 11, 2013
Hi Ian, that's a very good point. As far as I know, *they* haven't. I did give props for it on the equivalent article to this a year ago ( - highlighted) but I was so sure it'd happen that I do hang my head in shame and bow down to their (your?) greatness.

With a range that over three seasons must have in the region of 150-200 items, to not once slip up is astounding. The directive must have been drilled pretty hard and that's the sort of respect for the client that others could learn from. You only had to wait as long as this season's launch shots to see black and white stripes on a Sunderland (teamwear goalkeeper) shirt, for example.

One question, for the Newcastle players that cut off the bottom of their socks and attach supposedly more comfortable ankle socks with tape, what brand of generic ankle sock are they using? Any branding on that? We might not have "seen" any Newcastle players wearing a black cat...
Jay29ers , January 12, 2013

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