So you want a kickass jersey but you don't know what to put on it? We feel your pain.
We've already covered how to find your sub inspiration, now we want to talk about clichés: what's overdone? What's cutting edge?
Our designer Karl has designed hundreds of ultimate jerseys over the past six years at Five. He's worked with teams all over the world at all different levels of play to capture their team's culture and glory on one amazing garment.
He's an expert on ultimate fashion trends come and has agreed to share some of his design wisdom so others can take inspiration into their own jersey designs!
Here's what's in and what's out in ultimate fashion, according to Karl.
Goofy or simple?
We should start by acknowledging there are generally two flavors when it comes to jersey trends, and Karl's a big believer that there's room for both in ultimate fashion. It's just good to know when you start, which vibe fits your team culture.
The first flavor is super goofy and over-the-top (example). Maybe we should call it "over-the-top for the sake of over-the-top". This style is particularly popular among party tournament and college Funbassador teams, but it's certainly not limited to those groups. Many teams associate the absurdity of their jerseys with their team's spirit, and we all know that means more is more!
The other way to go is simple, clean, and sleek (example). This style is growing more in popularity among highly competitive ultimate teams. Look around at Nationals, and you'll see a lot of the teams opt for a simple logo in the center of their jersey. It's clean, it's sleek, and it's professional.
Generally, it seems like the more serious a team is, the simpler and cleaner their design tends to be, and simple, clean lines can look great on either a screen printed or sublimated jersey.
Now that you've got the flavor scoop, let's talk trends within those cones! (Too far?)
For as long as ultimate jerseys have been around, skylines have been on them. While it can be tempting to shout-out your home turf, there's usually a more creative and personal reference you can make to take your jerseys to the next level.
It seems like every high school in the history of forever has a mascot that is either a big cat or a bird of prey (not your fault, we know). The problem is that these mascots inevitibly make people think of claw marks. Trust us when we say that we've seen enough claw marks to last a lifetime!
If you want your jersey to be unique, find another way to represent the cougars, eagles, pumas, hawks, tigers, bears, oh my!
Another one that's been requested since the dawn of ultimate time (and to be totally honest, we're a bit to blame with our early logo) is the bid figure.
Nothing screams outdated ultimate like a bid figure - and for that reason, we're ready to put them to rest. There are other ways to say "this team plays ultimate"!
Low poly designs - Crafting images out of triangles and other geometric shapes isn't as cutting edge as it once was. Karl's ready to try a new style!
Player names - Unless your team's got some really significant and/or weird names, save the added expense and opt out of player names.
Including the year on the jersey - By including the year in your jersey design, you're limiting its lifespan! If you like the nostalgia factor that a year brings, consider including an established year date since that's never changing.
Ultimate loves puns. Parodies too.
Ultimate players really seem to enjoy wordplay and poking fun at the world around them. It also often helps to lead the design in a really clear direction because if we're pulling from something that already exists, then we have a solid reference point.
LOTS of teams reference the starry black-grey gradient on the 2016 US National Team jerseys as an element to include in their art direction. A few weeks ago, Karl had 3 different teams reference that jersey in one week! For teams looking for ultimate inspiration for an intense professional-looking jersey, this jersey is a great starting point.
Another style of gradient that gets a lot of love is the polygon style gradient featured in BFG's jerseys. It's a fun way of adding something more interesting than a simple color-to-color fade!
There's a fine line between outdated and vintage. If it's not current but still too recent, it's out! If it's at least a couple decades back, it's throwback.
Karl loves working on 80's and 90's style jerseys. Neon lights, 8-bit video games, and anything related to Miami Vice. (FYI, this Boner Jams jersey is still sitting in our archives waiting for a team to bring it to life!) 60's and 70's is cool too.
Personal team designs
At the end of the day, the most important consideration of ultimate fashion is if your jerseys represent your team's culture.
Our biggest takeaway: the best designs are the ones that are unique and meaningful to your team. Make it personal and special. When you're 100% into the design, then you'll always be happy and trends won't matter.
According to Karl: "I think of my own teams in the past as some of my favorite uniforms because I designed what I wanted, not necessarily what made the most sense. Although with names like Robot Twoniraffapus 3030 and Kermit Roosevelt Jr., how could I go wrong?" (You can guess where Karl falls on the goofy or simple divide!)
over to you!
What ultimate jersey design trends did we miss? What elements do you think are up and coming or out and down for the count? Let us know in the comments below!