Monday, March 21, 2011

Custom Triathlon Team Kit Design

Several of my friends and I are training for the 2011 Florida Ironman in November.  Some of us are also doing the Gulf Coast Triathlon in May.  We're not a "team" per say, but that won't keep us from getting some team jerseys and shorts.  Who knows, maybe we'll create a team once we get to sportin' some cool new duds.  I'm hopeful that we can create something we can as least be proud of.  With no skills of my own and no graphic artist on-hand I decided to see what I could come up with.  My friend Chip and I have been talking about doing this for months.  Maybe this blog will help get the ball rolling.  If nothing else it should help us get a better idea of what colors we prefer.

To make the the creative process go easier I broke it down into just a few steps 1) choose the style jersey and shorts 2) choose the panel colors and/or create a pattern 3) create a team logo, and 4) choose a font and add any text.

I did a search online and found the Champion System website.  They're a company that specializes in manufacturing custom sports apparel.  Many of the pros cyclists and triathletes wear their shorts, singlets, tri suits, and jerseys.  I downloaded their templates for the top and shorts that I want to customize.

The Champion System Custom Tri Top jersey and Distance Tri short seem to fit our style needs.  Step #1 is done.  To help sort through the endless panel color options I created a simple color template.  With the downloaded template as a guide, I used Microsoft Paint s/w to form the outline and insert colors into the panels.  The image below is just an example of how the solid color panels might look using different colors.  I want to stay away from colors that are less visible like dark green or gray colors.  Reds and yellows seem to provide the best visibility.  Ultimately, Champion Systems will need actual Pantone Color Matching System (PMS) numbers for each color in the final design.

Instead of having solid color panels, we might like to add a pattern of some sort.  Clouds and blue skies look nice and might be appropriate since we are mostly a group of Federal Aviation Administration and National Weather Service employees.  The look of molten lava or the surface of the Sun are other options.  One can't think about lava and volcanoes without thinking of Hawaii and when a triathlete thinks about Hawaii he's thinking about the Ironman World Championship in Kona.

The Sun

Including patterns on the template is more difficult. 

Another option is an abstract pattern.  Something like the argyle pattern on the 2010 Garmin-Transitions cycling team perhaps.  I'm toying with the idea of having the pattern that looks like a bunch of propellers.  I created the image below using Paint.  They're not propellers but offer a similar effect.

Red & Yellow Pattern

Blue & Yellow Pattern

Reducing the size of the pattern gives a slightly different look.

Tighter Pattern
Loud and visible!  I like the patterns it they might cause any text to get lost.  Step #2 is a work in progress.

Chip has asked someone to create a logo for us.  Step #3 is also a work in progress.

We don't have any sponsors and are not likely to have any so step #4, choose a font and add any text, should be easily done.  Currently, though, it's still a work in progress.

Hopefully, we'll be able to wrap this up in a few weeks.  The order process takes 6-8 weeks so we're unlikely to receive them before the triathlon in May.

I'll write more about ordering custom apparel as I continue to figure out the process myself.