By Phil Hecken
As you know, I get many tweaks sent my way, and I try to get every single one of them put down below in the “Uni Tweaks” section. However, every once in a while I get sent a set so well done that it really deserves more than just a mere entry in the tweaks. Today is one of those days. In fact, many of the concepts I’ve been sent recently have been excellent — and it all seemed to start when those Nike Pro Combat concepts went viral*.
*See the full set of NFL concepts following the main article.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago I received a set of tweaks, done in Nike Pro Combat style, for the entire SEC. Our concepter, Lance Hall, really put a lot of time and energy into the following tweaks, complete with full writeups. Let’s take a look at what he sent me:
By Lance Hall
Okay, so tweaking SEC uniforms is just a study in futility because most of them haven’t changed in 100 years and never will change. However, I came across this SWEET Nike Pro Combat uni design template before the season this year and started playing with it… Well, now this template is infamous for the fake Nike NFL unis… So, I thought you might be interested. What I liked about the template in the beginning was it treated the under-sleeve as a uniform element which made adding sleeve stripes and numbers very easy. I keep seeing the under sleeve design stuff pop up here and there and so I’ve tried to utilize it as much as possible in these tweaks. I’ve included the current uni and my tweaked one beside it for comparison. Some are small changes, some are complete overhauls… hope you enjoy!
1. Florida — Okay, so right off the bat I’m losing most people with this one. White helmet with the mascot instead of words… BUT, if you ignore my crazy helmet idea, the uni itself is basically the same, with the stripes moved down to the under sleeve. I’m not a big fan of words on the chest, but I like it if it’s a mascot name and that mascot is very unique. No one cares if you see “Tigers” on a uni, but if Richmond puts “SPIDERS” across their chests, everyone loves it. I’ve also lost the gator mascot logo on the chest since it moved to the helmet… The only other change is reversing the leg stripe colors. And honestly, I think the current Florida helmet is the one most in need of a redesign. It screams 80s high school to me.
2. Georgia — This one is closer to the kind of “tweak” I was going for. I refrained from the temptation to redesign the classic helmet, and only changed the face mask to black. The main change here is adding Herschel Walker era sleeve stripes to the under sleeve and taking out the black outline around the numbers.
3. Kentucky — I applaud the Wildcats for getting rid of the piping from a couple of years ago, but unfortunately they’re still going monochrome. At least their helmets match when they go all color, unlike some other schools who *almost* do monochrome. (Looking at you South Carolina!) For the tweak I started by losing the “UK” logo that is so similar to the “UH” of Houston that it’s almost distracting. I don’t know who had it first, but it’s like showing up at the prom in the same dress as some freshman girl. Anyway, I brought back the block “K” which to me is more traditional and I made the “Kentucky” chest logo smaller. I’d love to lose the words on the chest all together, but lets face it, Kentucky still needs to let people know who they are.
4. South Carolina — The Gamecock uniforms suck. They are my team and my alma-mater, but they struggle mightily in the uni department. I hate piping in general and the South Carolina unis have more piping than a Columbia sewer. It’s all over the place! There’s an identity problem with the Gamecocks, you can’t call them USC because everyone thinks Trojans, and you can’t call them Carolina because everyone thinks Tarheel basketball. So… I opted for the rarely used “Gamecocks” chest logo. I’ve also changed the helmets to garnet just in case Spurrier decides to go all garnet, it will actually be all garnet!
5. Tennessee — This is by far the craziest of the designs. One, I wanted to play with pulling a design from the shoulder to the undersleeve… and two, I think the Tennessee unis are some of the worst in the league. I tried to incorporate more black trim just to breathe some life into the colors. Don’t get me wrong, I like the simple and classic design of the current UT unis, but the colors just don’t contrast enough.
6. Vanderbilt — The current Vandy unis are a complete mess. Piping and *almost* monochrome when they wear the black pants. I based the tweak around the best part of the Vandy look, their helmets. I also added “Vanderbilt” across the chest even though I’m not a huge fan of chest words. I guess I felt the design was a little too close to a classic Georgia Tech look that there needed to be something with an Identity beyond the helmet logo.
1. Alabama — How can you tweak one of the classic uniforms of all time? Very carefully. Building off the single white helmet stripe I added a stripe and logo to the shoulder. Even that would make Bama fans jump out of windows, but I had to do SOMETHING to it, right? Oh, and I sneaked a uni number in on the pants. Now all the pieces are numbered.
2. Arkansas — This is the only team I used the away jersey for the tweak. The shoulder design on Arky’s away shirts is the most interesting thing about their uni system at the moment. They still opted for the name up the thigh, which is so WAC. The tweak loses the white and wordy pants, changing them to red and not so wordy. I also changed “Arkansas” to “Razorbacks” on the chest because, well one is waaay cooler than the other. I moved around the branding and SEC logo to make them more symmetrical. Lopsided branding is a pet peeve. Finally, the under sleeve has now become part of the system with a number on it… Oh yeah, and I redid the helmet with an oversized logo (a la Boise St. NPC look) just for fun.
3. Auburn — The current Auburn unis are a close second to LSU for my favorite SEC look. They don’t need to be changed at all, although I did prefer their black socks/cleats last year to the whites of this year. I go back and forth on the great cleat debate, but Auburn definitely should return to the black shoes. My tweak basically incorporates all the rumors around the Auburn program about blue pants and a blue helmet. My only additions are extending the pants stripe onto the shirt, moving the shoulder stripe to the under sleeve so the TV number can be moved down to the shoulder and adding an orange outline to the numbers. In the end, this is my least favorite tweak. I should’ve kept the white pants.
4. LSU — I thought this was going to be the most difficult to tweak, but once I decided to go with purple pants, the rest fell into place. The pants tweak isn’t because I like purple more than yellow, but the only problem with LSU’s look is the pants and helmet are always a different shade of yellow… The Vikings have that problem with purples… So, the only solution was to make them contrasting, and I think changing the pants is a lot less end-of-the-world for LSU fans than changing their classic helmets. In this case, just having a contrasting color under sleeve was enough to make it part of the overall look.
5. Miss State — The Miss State unis are always boring and I think it’s because they basically have the same colors as Bama, Arky and SCar, the same mascot as UGA, and the same block letter logo (minus the “State”) as their arch rivals. They’re like the generic SEC team. What I tried to do with the tweak was pull in their second color (yeah they have one)… Gray. It’s not much, but it’s something! If you notice on their current unis there is a gray outline to the numbers. I ran with that, and used one of their mascot logos to make the helmet look a little more unique. The under sleeve stripes turned out great on this and would even better with matching long sock stripes… sadly long socks seem to have disappeared with under the arm stripes.
6. Ole Miss — Under the arm stripes! Heck yeah! Come on Nike, I know you can make a stripe go further down. Figure it out. My only problem with the Ole Miss look is the single red stripe on a navy background. I don’t like it on the Giants, and like it less on the Rebels. Red and Navy go together like peanuts and gum, so with a team designed after the colors of the Confederate Flag (come on, like we didn’t all know that) you MUST throw some white in there to mix it up. I do like their gray pants (another nod to the War of Northern Aggression?) and in my tweak and darkened them a shade or two. The under sleeve design here is probably the most realistic for how it would actually get implemented in real life.
Thanks for sticking with me through all of that!
Wow. Thanks Lance. I’m pretty amazed at those, and, even if none of them ever see the light of day, that was a tremendous effort. I particularly like how you even made the non-Nike teams work with the Nike template (and pretty well too!), and even the shoulder loops seem to work.
So what say you, Uni Watchers? How ’bout dem tweaks???
More Combat Tweaks
Hate to make this an almost all-tweak day, but those new toy combat uniforms released this past week for Oregon, Florida, Boise State and Texas Christian (I’m still not sure why Nike hasn’t released a hi-res graphic of that one — if anyone has or finds one, please send me a link or post it in the comments below — thanks) — those new releases set the tweakers here ablaze, as I received three separate submissions for the Ducks. Rather than post them in the tweaks section, I’ll just run them here:
Evan Schreiber sent this one which really takes the neon out of the highlighter.
Sean F. went the other direction and really went with a full on yellow uni.
Andrew Bushway used a different graphic, but thinks he found a way to better show off the neon.
Good stuff guys.
Of course, yours truly couldn’t leave well enough alone (in fact, Paul actually used a couple of my mocks on his ESPN piece this week). Except for the three designs above, here are a bunch of BCS uni concepts I came up with the day of the unveil.
But wait, there’s still MORE. Once it was announced Nike had won the NFL uniform contract for 2012, the various graphic artists on the net began having a field day with “concepts” for teams. So much so, of course, that many were duped into believing the concepts were what teams would be wearing. But there were even more tweaks released you probably haven’t seen — some are awful, but some are actually quite good. The “Ricko Compression Sleeve” idea seems to be quite popular and in the absence of actual jersey sleeves, it seems like such a logical appendage to the now vestigial sleeve. Anyway, if you have your sunglasses, have a look at some of those concepts, arranged by NFL division (yes, some of them are dupes, but they were culled from different sources and in some cases, the resolutions are different — I tried to grab the highest possible):
Like I said, some are awful, but some are fairly good. And a few of them are a lot better than what some teams are currently wearing. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Jim Vilk Grades The Ducks
What happens when we don’t have any real NCAA football for a week (excluding yesterday’s bowl games, of course)?
Jim gets antsy. Now, he had a whole mess of Div II & III playoffs to keep him occupied, but the 5 & 1 never takes a vacation.
So what’s he to do? Well, as a “favor” to me, he decided to compile a “5 & 1” for the Ducks, taking a look at each matchup throughout the Ducks undefeated (12-0) season. Of course, like most of his 5 & 1’s, he’ll be wrong — but I really would like to see how he grades them. I haven’t even peeked at what follows, but I’d imagine there won’t be too many matchups that don’t include school colors, meaning the sweet ninja’s and the carbon looks will be overlooked.
So, without further ado…let’s see what he selected:
It’s the holiday season, so in the spirit of “peace on Earth, goodwill to all,” I have a special present for the man who has given me the keys to the weekly 5&1 lists. Phil and I debate all college football season long, and usually our debate centers around the Oregon Ducks. He thinks they’re worthy of making the Top 5 and I know they aren’t, but that discussion is put on hold today.
Instead, I’ve agreed to be Santa’s little helper and grant Phil his Christmas wish. Sort of. After looking at photos of all their games, I put together a 5&1 list just for Oregon’s magical 12-0 season. Remember, it’s a matchup list so I’m not just rating the Ducks, but their opponents as well. Here we go…
5. Arizona/Oregon — My two least-favorite number fonts in the NCAA, but at least the colors are nice.
4. Stanford/Oregon — A little “mono a mono” action.
3. Oregon/Arizona State — No exorcist needed for this matchup.
2. Oregon/Cal — Can’t bring myself to say I’d wear that…but I’d watch that.
1. Oregon/Tennessee — Leave it to the SEC to salvage this list.
And the worst one: Portland State/Oregon — You thought I’d pick one with even less school colors, but it’s a matchup list and the Vikings were the Ducks’ worst-looking opponent.
Well, there you go, Phil. Thanks, Merry Christmas and all that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get some eye drops.
That’s actually not too bad, Jim. I’m shocked that two games on your list featured carbon pants, although one of those was your dreaded “1.” Why am I not surprised their two greatest looks were completely left off the list? But thanks for throwing us Duck supporters a bone, Mr. Vilk.
Merry Xmas to you too Jimmy. Did you get that neon kool aid I sent you yet?
WHAT? You just spent 3/4ths of this article on tweaks and concepts, and you’re still posting more?
Yes, Virginia, I am — there are many still to get to, and I promise I won’t post any more tweaks until next year. OK? OK.
If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
So with that, your final set of uni tweaks for 2010. Lets go off on a good note:
Starting off the show is John Lemein. Like our featured artist today, John will be using the pro combat template for his submissions. However, they are also fantastic. No wonder, John is a graphic designer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Check these out:
Attached are some uni tweaks that I mocked up of the Chicago Bears, Northwestern and U of Chicago using the Combat template. I think, when used for good, the template can yield nice results. They all have a “faux-back” feel to them. And with the compression shirt, stripes have their proper place and prominence again.
Bears – Throwback helmet, retro brown pants
Northwestern – Big Northwestern stripes and less black than current unis
U of C – A classic, retro look fitting of a former Big Ten school
Next up is Thad Ballsworth, who has a Niners home & away, and a whole mess of Pitt Panthers tweaks:
I have attached a set of tweaks to the 49ers using Teambuilder.
I have reverted to the 1980s set with a couple tweaks. I used the current logo but replaced all the black with gold. (The black in there always bugged me since it wasn’t used anywhere else). The jerseys go back to three sleeve stripes and I moved the TV numbers up the shoulder.
It also bugged me that gold was such a huge part of the set but didn’t show up on the jerseys. I fixed that by adding a gold outline to the numbers.
The socks were added in paint. They don’t look great on this program but at least it completes the concept.
Here’s a big set of tweaks to the Pittsburgh Panthers using Teambuilder.
In my opinion Pitt lost its identity when it went away from its Pitt script logo and changed its colors from royal blue and yellow to navy blue and gold. I changed back with this set.
I also added an option for white pants and a white helmet, creating eight different combinations (four home and road) but reverting back to the traditional looks for the standard home and road uniform. Seven of the sets are wearable in my opinion, and I included the eighth just for the sake of completeness.
I also added socks in paint, and yes, the adidas logo for the sake of authenticity. I know that Pitt is now a Nike school, but used adidas because in Teambuilder, the black shoes are only adidas.
Next up is W. Barrett, who has an idea for the Buccaneers:
Watching the Ravens play the Buccos in their Black unis made me wonder how Tampa would look in pewter tops with white pants.
I think it looks pretty cool! Thoughts?
That’s it for today — I realize is been a very tweaky day, and to those of you who aren’t into this sort of thing, I apologize. For those who are into it — well, you got a full fix today. Thanks to all who submitted. Back with more tweaks next year.
All right fellow Uni Watchers — thanks for your patience with me today. Had a rather rough personal day yesterday, so I really didn’t get a chance to do a main article — so Lance’s supremo stuff had to substitute. This will be my last weekend post of 2010, since next weekend is Christmas & Boxing Days, and we’ll have limited content. To all of you who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas to you all. I’ll probably have one weekday article sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and of course, I’ll be back to open the 2011.
Thank you all for a fantastic year and for all your support. It hasn’t been the greatest of years, but I do have many things to be grateful and thankful for, and not the least of which is the wonderful Uni Watch community, and Paul for letting me bring you the weekend (and the occasional eighth month of the year) madness.
CHEERS & HERE’S TO 2011!
Call them the Toronto Buffaloes, the Toronto Multi-Colored Bills, the Toronto Bills…whatever. But the Toronto Argonauts are not for sale. — Mike Engle