By Phil Hecken
Every so often, as a lede, I will run a set of uniform concepts from a single designer that are either so good, so innovative, or so special that they deserve to be set apart from the normal “Concepts” section.
Today’s featured designer should be familiar to most of you, since I’ve run many concepts of his in the past — in fact he was just recently a featured artist in a weekend lede. While he shared that with Kevin Miller, it’s time we get to meet Matt Malinoski (and see more of his concepts) in greater detail. So, here is my Q & A with Matt:
Uni Watch: Hey Matt. Great to finally get to discuss unis with you. Let’s get a couple easy ones out of the way: Where do you live and go to school? What’s was your concentration?
Matt Malinoski: I grew up and still live in Connecticut. I graduated from UCONN with a math/actuarial science degree and am currently a web applications developer.
UW: Have you always been an artist?
MM: I learned to draw at a very early age, and always had an affinity for typefaces.
UW: Did you have a favorite discipline?
MM: Art was definitely my favorite subject, but I didn’t pursue it after high school because I didn’t think I could make a living at it.
UW: The old starving artist, eh? What about your MLB concepts, those look professionally done. Do you have any training in CAD or graphics?
MM: I lived in Wisconsin for a few years, and took some graphic arts courses there. That’s where I learned to use Illustrator and the finer points of typography.
UW: When we set this interview up, I asked you if you had any non-uni art or projects, and you’ve given me three awesome ones. I’ll start with this drawing of Ted Williams. When did you do this [For this and every image to follow, click to enlarge]:
MM: I did this one in high school.
UW: Wow! High school? Awesome. Have you done others? (I know you sent me this painting of Yaz, which I also used for today’s splash)
MM: I’ve done several drawings and paintings of ballplayers and stadiums over the years.
UW: Incredible. And do you do anything besides paintings, drawings and graphic design?
MM: I also built a scale model of Fenway Park as it appeared in 1975 out of basswood, construction paper, and glass beads.
UW: And here it is:
UW: Before we get into your baseball concepts, have you done tweaks or concepts for any other sports?
MM: I submitted a concept for the Mavericks contest. I thought it was time somebody bring the checkered look back. Used an approximation of the font ‘Banger’ for the wordmark and the font ‘Kinghorn 205’ for the numerals. Did a vertical arch for the NOB.
UW: You mention fonts and typefaces. And clearly you love the Red Sox. Have you ever decided to document the Red Sox typography? As I’m sure you know, the Red Sox are the last team to still use the “McAuliffe” font.
MM: I created a website chronicling the evolution of the Red Sox typographical elements. This website came out of frustration with never being able to find accurate replica or throwback jerseys and caps. Roman used to make good 1975 and 1946 caps, but nobody makes a good one today. Maybe I’ll have to take up embroidery.
UW: Amazing. I’m sure you’d do that equally well. OK, a couple more questions and then we’ll take a look at some of your new baseball concepts. The obvious question is: ‘Is baseball your first love and favorite sport?’
MM: Baseball is definitely my favorite sport. I became obsessed with uniforms in the seventh grade after staring at all of the pictures in Donald Honig’s books on the American and National Leagues.
UW: You sketched Ted Williams in high school in pencil, right? Did you do anything else, or use color back then?
MM: I starting drawing concepts in high school using colored pencils, but gave it up for a while until I started reading this blog and submitted my first concepts (Nations and Red Sox).
UW: Did you create the template you use? I don’t think I’ve seen any of the other concepters using anything quite like it.
MM: The baseball template I use is my own, but I would like to come up with a mannequin template so it would be easier to see what it would look like if somebody wore it.
UW: Your designs seem like riffs on the classics, which I personally love. Would you say you prefer the older, more classical/traditional stuff, or do you lean towards the more modern?
MM: I like the traditional stuff, most of what I like is from the thirties to the sixties. A lot of my MLB concepts are obviously based on classic designs but with various tweaks. I do like some of the oddball or modern uniforms like the 1968 “OAKLAND” vests or the 1969 Expos uniforms which was a clean design despite its idiosyncrasies.
UW: Some of your concepts are really more just “tweaks,” yes?
MM: I’ll clean up a script or add stripes here or there. Sometimes I like to take an old, unused design and see if I can adapt it for an expansion team.
UW: I note you never put a player’s name on the back of the jersey. Is this just because you want a generic feel or is this on purpose?
MM: I am a big proponent of NNOB. It always looks better to me. Not a huge fan of front numbers, but sometimes they are needed. I love the old Wilson jerseys with large numbers like the old Phillies and White Sox jerseys.
UW: So far, except for the Mav’s concept above, you’ve only sent me Major League teams. And you’re almost done. Do you want to try your hand at any others?
MM: I’d like to try some minor league teams or schools because I’d have an opportunity to come up with some original designs.
UW: Cool. And other sports?
MM: I would also like to do some NFL and NBA concepts, and then maybe some NHL after that.
UW: So I guess we’ll be seeing a lot more from you down the line. Thanks. We will close with some of your new concepts and I’ll just let your describe them. Great stuff!
I fixed my Red Sox concept by making the letters all the same height, and raising the word “SOX” higher. I also enlarged the counters or negative space inside the “S”. I included a second road uniform with an outlined script. I can’t make up my mind which one I like better. I wish they would go back to this typeface. Such a clean look. Their current uniforms are a mess. I miss their striped stirrups.
Here are my NL Central concepts:
Brewers: This concept is derived from the 1943 AA Brewers home uniforms. The colors are reversed, based on what I have read about its color scheme. I got the idea from the uniform that “Owgust” is wearing in the illustration from one of their program covers. I used the “M” from their 1942 set because the 1943 caps had a very plain sans-serif “M” and I added a white outline to it. These have a button front instead of a zipper because the zipper breaks up the “w”. Made a barrel man patch on sleeve. Road uniform is a gray version of the home uniform, instead of the red-and-white one they wore. Included 1940s jacket. This was my entry for the Youniform contest.
Cardinals: I went with the 1965-70 uniform, but added red soutache added to gray pants in order to match the home pants. I also used the serif MLB Block numerals. I decided to use the current birds-on-bat logo. No front number. I created an alternate based on 1949-50 set but with current logos and red undersleeves. I used the 1956-63 cap logo with serifs on both terminals of the “S”. I included the great early seventies two-tone jacket.
Cubs: Sixites set with current circle logo, sans registered mark, but with a thin outline. The current logo looks like a bullseye to me. I thought it needed to be toned down. I added red stripes to the stirrups, like the 1938 set. I fixed the numbers from the last one I uploaded. The current set of numbers they use are too square. I don’t know when it changed, but they need to go back and look at the older uniforms through the 1980s. I used the cub patch from the mid-seventies that has bear ears instead of the earlier one with the Mickey Mouse ears.
Pirates: Sixties set with sleeves and an alternate sleeveless. No front number. I love the poster logo of the seventies, which I added to the sleeve. These are the home Rawlings letters as opposed to the road MacGregor letters that they use now.
Reds: 1967 one-year design with no front number and a Mr. Redlegs patch. I like the narrow block letters inside the “C” better than the ones they use now. I love the MacGregor numeral font with the top-heavy “2”.
Thanks Matt! Matt also sent along an NL East set, but I’m going to save that for another time. We’ll be hearing much more from him, I’m certain, down the line.
Readers? What say you? How great are these designs and how about the drawing & painting of Teddy Ballgame? And that Fenway model? Wow.
Make sure to say something about him in the comments below, and I’m sure if you have any questions, they can either be answered here (comments section) or when next I feature Matt’s designs. Until then. This has been Designing Minds, Volume V.
Breaking Out the Negro League Unis in Pittsburgh
Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing as the Homestead Grays (a look they have undertaken for many years, in different eras of uniforms) took on the Cincinnati Reds, who played as the 1937 Cincinnati Tigers.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the game (or even any highlights) but from the photos, the game looked great. Pittsburgh always does Negro League games up beautifully, and they always attire their opponents very well as well. Some photos:
You can see even more photos here.
Update: Also, and I missed this earlier, the Braves and Nationals played a Negro League throwback game. Lots of photos from that game are here.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Got a small set again today, and three of the colorizations are of the same image (a reader request), but as always it is a treat.
Click on each image to enlarge.
We begin today with George Chilvers, who took on last weekend’s reader request:
As requested on Sunday.
George also did his own colourization, replete with a story:
Hi Phil (again)
And another one. This one has a bit of a story to it, in the shape of a newspaper article from the Chicago Daily Tribune of 26 December 1913:
GIRLS’ TEAMS PLAY SOCCER
Bloomer Blues Tied by Blue and White Skirts in New York.
ONE MISS FORGETS RULES.
Runs with Ball in Hands Instead of Kicking It and Penalty Results. If a tall girl with brown hair bound around with a blue ribbon, and with blue eyes hadn’t caught the ball in her hands and started to run toward the goal with it the Blue team would have won the women’s soccer game.
I suspect that the game was between two sides from the same club as an exhibition match, and I note that in this picture we have bloomers and skirts.
The epithet “girls’ ” soccer team is pushing veracity to the limit though, I’m afraid. There’s a phrase we have locally in the North of England. “A face that would frighten the horses”. :)
Next is Paul M. Doherty. Paul also took on the reader request:
My submission, thanks
Paul M. Doherty
And we close with Gary Chanko, who completed the triumverate of reader request colorizations:
From last week’s Colorize This challenge: Nick Shundich, University of Cincinnati 1948-51. And here he is from a couple of years ago.
That’s it for today. Thanks as always to George & Paul (and welcome aboard). Great stuff as always. Lets keep those colorizations coming Uni Watchers!
That’s just about it for today, but three bits of news, two of them Uni-related, and one of them Uni Watch related.
• West Ham has some new home and away kits for 2013-14. Nice! (h/t to Jake Edwardes for that).
• A high school seems to be in a bit of a kerfuffle over Native American imagery, and the team just happens to have the same name as a certain professional NFL team from Washington.
• Finally, in case you missed it (and I’m guessing most of you did), Paul was interviewed on the radio (“On The Media”) about his recent UW piece on troll Joe Johnson. Give it a listen, it’s pretty great.
And that’s really about all I have for you this fine first Sunday in June. Big thanks (again) to Matt Malinoski for that great segment. Make sure you throw some nice props his way, OK? OK!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Baseball players wearing camouflage military-ish uniforms does as much to honor our troops as wearing blackface does to honor the civil rights movement.”