I’ve written many times about my library of uniform catalogs. But the one shown above, which I just scored on eBay a few days ago, is different. For one thing, it’s devoted exclusively to bowling shirts. For another, there’s no printing — by which I mean ink on paper or on some other substrate — anywhere in the catalog. Instead, all the type and graphics are flocked.
Flocking, as many of you probably know, is the process of adhering tiny fiber particles onto a surface, usually to create a slightly raised area and/or a velvety-smooth texture. Remember how Manny Sanguillen’s helmet had that matte finish? That’s because it was flocked — it was covered in a felt-like coating of fibers that were supposed to mimic the effect of a cloth cap. (Here’s a better example, courtesy of Phil.) And flocking can also be used for graphics, instead of screen-printing or embroidery. In the case of the bowling shirt catalog, if you take a closer look at the cover, you can see the textured flocking. It’s really satisfying to the touch, too.
But the cover is just the start — let’s take a guided tour through this catalog, beginning with the other side of the cover:
This just blows me away, because it’s really just a page of terms and instructions — you’d expect that to be printed. But no, they flocked it! Almost all the fonts used throughout the rest of the catalog are shown here. With so much lettering on the page, the fibers create their own little landscape.
And that’s just the front and back of the cover — the actual catalog is comprised of big fabric swatches with sample designs. Here’s the first one:
So much to like here (esp. if you look at a larger version). I especially love that the guy is wearing a dress shirt and a tie, which would seem to defeat the whole point of the catalog, no? He should be wearing a bowling shirt!
Hmmm, that “M” looks awfully wide. Love the “R” and the “E,” though. And speed lines always look so damn cool.
Take a close look at this one — notice anything weird? Not only is “Team Name” radially arched, but it looks to me like the two “M” letterforms are radially arched as well. In other words, the two vertical strokes on the “M” aren’t actually vertical or parallel — they’re slightly V-shaped. Bizarre.
Oh no the pins are getting away! I’ve been a bowling nerd for a long time and have never seen anything like this image.
Simple enough design. Anyone else find it odd that one pin looks so much bigger than the other?
This is the back cover, so the design is
printed flocked on cardstock, not fabric. But it’s my probably my favorite design of the bunch. I love all the different angles, I love the bowler lurking off to one side, and I especially love all the flocked lines on the lane. The big problem here is that I feel compelled to touch those lines, to feel the texture, to rub my fingers over them again and again, all of which will eventually wear away the flocking.
That’s one of the problems with flocking, actually: It can sometimes flake off. That’s another reason why this catalog is so remarkable: All the flocking appears to be intact. As you can see, many of the fabric swatches are creased or wrinkled, but I’m going to do some careful work with an iron to take care of that.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Good pictorial history of Bullets/Wizards uniforms here (with thanks to Alan Chewning). … Here’s a video clip of the Manchester Monarchs’ red line being painted with a very cool pattern (with thanks to Erik Little). … Ever wonder about the evolution of the Batman symbol? Me neither, but here it is anyway (interesting find by Brian Sharp). … Matt Cunningham was surprised to find a football motif on his mattress tag. … Mike Shanahan doesn’t much care about uniforms (with thanks to John Muir). … The Texas Longhorns are retiring Colt McCoy’s number. … New hoops uniforms for Missouri and BYU. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: vertically striped sock alert! Those are the 1967-68 Taylor County (Ga.) Vikings. … Aaron Rich notes that Tim Hardaway Jr.’s NOB includes the “Jr.” … Here’s a good article on the company that makes most of the uniforms for sports-themed Hollywood movies (with thanks to Warner Bailey). … All of you who think Penn State’s uniforms are too boring will enjoy this article (with thanks to Chris Flinn. … Josh Shope found this amazing jacket seven years ago in a Niagara Falls Salvation Army and finally got around to sending in photos of it. “I can’t find anything online about the team, and the manufacturer’s tag has also been ripped out, so I don’t know who made it,” he says. … Here’s a really interesting video about how lapel pins are made. Highly recommended viewing (great find by Ben Traxel). … The Sabres will be wearing white at home tomorrow (as reported by Spencer Seaner). … Bit of controversy about the footballs with the pink ribbons (Chris Flinn again). … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Check out this awesome Mickey Mantle board game. Pretty amazing-looking, despite the red uni number.
Read this blog or we’ll shoot this kitten: The good news is that I am doing something so incredibly cool this afternoon in Manhattan, it practically defies belief. The bad news is that I’m not allowed to tell you about it. But I will say this much: It involves kittens — lots and lots of kittens. (And no, I’m not getting a new one.)
Details eventually. For now, let’s hope Tucker and Caitlin don’t freak out too much when they smell all the kitty cuteness on me once I get back home.