Apparel Design

Milwaukee Bucks Alternate Road Uniform

 

In 1995, I was assigned the task of designing an alternate road uniform for the Milwaukee Bucks. In those days, the alternate road uniforms were typically a bit more offbeat than the standard home and road versions, but the Bucks weren't a "coast" team that would likely approve something too far from the center.

 

So, I dove into our archive of concepts that had been developed during the Bucks logo redesign of about three years earlier (seen on the leg of the shorts). I came across a concept sketch by illustrator Dick Sakahara that was stunning, but not your typical athletic logo quality. Working around that drawing and aware that I had access to a great printing process called dye sublimation, I was able to render Dick's sketch in Adobe Illustrator and use gradients to make it appear that the buck was emerging from the mist.  The uniform was a great hit and lasted for four seasons.

In 2012, Bucks fans were asked to vote on their favorite Bucks uniform in the team's history, and my design was chosen over all others.  The NBA re-released it as an alternate road uniform for February and March of 2013 and it was worn by the players for those two months. It was  also released in a consumer version for the season.

New York Knicks Alternate Road Uniform

 

Early in my career at the NBA, probably about 1992 or 1993, I was asked to develop concepts for an alternate road uniform for the Knicks. My boss, Tom O'Grady (one of the all-time great athletic Creative Directors), passed the project over to me, even though I was freelance at the time.  I still don't know why he gave it to me, but I was determined to do well, even though I had no idea as to what a basketball uniform should look like.

Going through a selection of photographs of the existing uniforms across the league, and looking at some historical photos as well, one thing I noticed was that many of the uniforms looked baggy and straight - not very flattering. Going through a merchandise catalog that we had produced (one of the first projects I worked on with my friend Barry Gottlieb), I found a winter ski jacket that looked tapered at the waist, but wasn't.  It was an illusion created by using diagonal lines.  Trying this visual device on the jerseys I was working on, I found that when paired with the broad shoulders of the players, the visual deception of the angled lines would give the illusion of tapering and make the uniforms appear to be fitted, instead of baggy. 

The illusion must have worked well, because the "black tint" uniforms (as they became known) lasted for most of the 1990's.

Spotswood High School Class of 2016 t-shirt

 

Kids, especially teenagers, are great arbiters of what is acceptable or not, what is cool or not.  My son Jonathan graduated from high school in 2016 but in 2011 I was asked by one of the PTA parents to design a "Class of 2016" t-shirt for the then-eighth grade students. I wanted something that the kids could feel good about wearing, knowing full well that the shine of the new t-shirt would probably wear off within a year, as many class t-shirts do. 

Much to my surprise, when 2016 rolled around the halls remained full of students wearing these shirts - a few dozen students had kept them for all those years and preferred them to the class t-shirts that had been offered to them later on.  Almost none of the students knew I had designed it for them, and that's perfectly okay by me.

NBA Referee Uniform concept

 

I've always felt sort of bad for sports referees.  Many of the uniforms they wear remind me of the old uniforms my gym teachers used to wear, and that made them look a little dorky, and a lot like they were stuck in the 1970's.  When I was asked to develop new uniforms for the NBA referees, I was determined to avoid this issue as much as I would be allowed.

While my concept was never approved, I believe it was superior to what was eventually used (a design chosen by one of our uniform suppliers), and may even hold up to the current uniforms they wear today.  The addition of a soft collar and thin pinstriping lent an air of masculinity to the plain grey, collarless shirts that are often used and are seldom attractive.

OFFL 25th anniversary shirt

 

Some of my friends and I have been playing football together for more than 35 years.  Not in any league, but on our own because we enjoy the sport. We used to play neighborhood against neighborhood for nothing more than a mouth full of mud and bragging rights.

 

After a 10-year hiatus where we went off to college and got real jobs, we decided to get together again to play.  Gathering the weekend prior to Super Bowl, we have trudged through ice, mud, three foot snow drifts, rain, wind and have suffered broken bones, torn tendons and ACLs, broken glasses and the perpetual torment of getting one-up on each other each year as some of us slow down and some of us speed up.

As we are set to play our 25th annual game, I designed an "official" logo to signify the moment and provide everyone with something more respectable than the cold weather gear and torn clothing you'll usually find us carousing in.

Spotswood High School Class of 2023 t-shirt

 

For several years, I have designed the "class" shirts for our incoming freshman students. Many of the parents and students have expressed that my shirts are infinitely better designed and more personal than those that are available to the general public, and this is a great honor for me.

All work copyright 2019 Schwartz Design