Kit Design Tutorial for BeginnersHere

DF is 13 years old this year, and I thought it about time I outlined some of the occasions I’ve noticed an “IRL” release sharing traits with a design we’d earlier seen on the site.

The following representations of both DF designs (cover versions, if you will) and notable releases of the last decade or so are the work of the brilliant Kitbliss's Chris Oakley. Each separate graphic draws a comparison between design ideas which made it to the real world, and similar thoughts that had appeared on DF (with one exception) at a previous point - the latter on the left, the former on the right.

So, without further ado, in rough chronological order of the actual designs’ releases...

Angelo Trofa - Amadeus Angelillo on the site - is a bona fide, in real life kit designer in his own right now. He’s at Nike, aptly enough, but back in 2011 he was a DF member doing a decent trade in printed volumes of superb kit design ideas. He’s adamant that the chest patch wasn’t a pocket, but it definitely looked like one...

Fast forward two years and adidas were big into chest pockets - as this Milan design will attest.


Steevo saw one of his many Liverpool designs come to life through shady means - certainly not his! - in 2011, but this little upper back feature was one of several superb details on a wondrous Hearts kit he gave us in 2012…

In time for the 2014 World Cup, adidas shirts started to carry a similar detail, the innards of which were rumoured to be intended to hold performance-tracking technology, but we’re not sure that ever came about.


Matías Pecorari - matupeco - is another site member who has scaled real football kit designing heights, but back when we were hosting a Boca Juniors just-for-fun competition in 2012, he was creating this doozy of a feature for the Argentine giants...

And this Puma Kawasaki Frontale design from 2014 saw the deployment of a very similar concentric stars pattern.


This next one isn’t actually from DF, but it is the work of a DF member. VLR is a crack Celtic kit predictor, and Twitter entertainer extraordinaire - give him a follow - but this block colour number uploaded to DF forerunner Football Kit Design (Football Shirt Culture) is particularly remarkable in hindsight…

The Nike USA shirt which emerged a couple of years later really was uncannily similar to VLR’s design. And that’s to its credit. Celtic could eat their collective heart out.


Back to Matías, he had stars in his eyes once again when he came up with a five-pointed watermark emanating from the crest on this Juventus design...

The 2014-15 Juventus Away wasn’t the first Juve release that included prominent use of a star, but the manner of the styling certainly rang a bell.


Our 2012 competition to design a kit for Middlesbrough Futsal club was rammed with brilliance, but Steevo - him again - uploaded several imaginative designs, including this “falling pixels” type affair (and one which bears a striking resemblance to a couple of St Pauli designs which would follow.)

When Gainsborough Trinity - based a stone’s throw from Steevo - released this special, Erreà-produced pre-season shirt in collaboration with the Oddballs charity, you may have thought it the first football kit design to feature the pixels styling. Not so, as the then-current Colo-Colo Under Armour shirt had similar, and Steevo’s design predated that too. This “Digital Rain” number may be, however, the first football shirt to be based on a pair of boxer shorts (also released in Steevo’s wake).


Yet another DF designer who has gone on to infiltrate the professional designing game is Irving Perez - you’ll recognise some of his released creations - and, in “irvingperceni” guise, he would upload to the site hand drawn masterpieces such as this USMNT kit...

And, a year later, it would be an Under Armour Tottenham Hotspur shirt that would carry a sash of that style.


Steevo, once again, created an Arsenal kit in 2012, when it looked odds-on that the Gunners were going to return to adidas’s stable...

But it was another German manufacturer - Puma - who took over the contract. The 2016 primary release still shared much of what Steevo had come up with.


A designer we haven’t mentioned yet, Taggo, created something pretty striking for a St Pauli-themed competition which was judged by Jason Lee - who was then designing St Pauli real life kits for Hummel...

But he wasn’t responsible for the 2016-17 St Pauli Third shirt design which resembled a watered down version of Taggo’s competition entry.


A design by He Who Should Probably Not Be Named - “BP” doesn’t actually stand for “British Petroleum” in this case - certainly wasn’t the first example of animal print being used in football design, but it’s fair to say it wasn’t a common sight in post-Tailored By 2013...

So much so that when Juventus launched this adidas design three years later, it still raised eyebrows.


Now one genius that enchanted us for all too short a period was “Corstorph”, who was an ideas factory that delivered this Panathinaikos kit in 2012...

The 2018 Greece Away shirt from Nike had a similar, albeit more subdued look, and rumour has it that next season’s Barcelona Home shirt will be similarly styled.


This Portugal kit from Baranfootballdesign in 2017 included a concept we’d not seen before, and didn’t think we’d ever see again...

The Puma 2019-20 Borussia Mönchengladbach Home, however, was apparently a brother from another mother.


Steevo’s been calling Liverpool releases for nigh on a decade-and-a-half now, so this beautiful upload from 2015 always had a chance of being close to something we’d see in reality...

The New Balance Liverpool kit for 2019-20 - the Reds’ first Premier League-winning season no less - was almost a fraternal twin to the concept.


And then some, like this 2014 upload by giannakakis, are merely in the spirit of something that would follow…

The 2019-20 Leeds United centenary Home kit also kept detailing and branding beyond the crest in grey, and the special edition Centenary release had even lighter embellishment.


While the 2018 World Cup saw a host of 1990s styled adidas releases, the brilliant ozando’s Besiktas upload was still from leftfield…

Which made it all the more remarkable when adidas’s 2019-20 Besiktas Home shirt was uncannily similar in principle.


This Hull City design by Dave19 from 2017 may have followed the animal print Juventus release above...

But it managed to get out ahead of Umbro’s 2019-20 retread of an early 90s Hull City classic.


And, finally, a Barcelona concept which was uploaded to in 2017…

Is a product of the same sort of thinking that gave us, in this Crystal Palace Away release, one of 2019-20’s finest shirts.


So there it is. A selection of instances of DF forerunning the real world.

Thanks again to Chris for his work in putting these renderings together - be sure to subscribe to Kitbliss on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and a Patreon subscription is money well spent!

If you can think of any other DF designs which came before a similar kit saw the light of day, be sure to bring them to our attention on Twitter.





You have no rights to post comments

Sign in to add comments