7 Figures Team Uniforms

Creating a team identity, from concept to production

In 2010, a group of friends of mine started a Mixed Ultimate Disc team in Los Angeles with the goal of being competitive and hard working, while enjoying the time we spent at practices and tournaments together across the country. In ultimate, 7 players from each team are on the field of play until one of the teams scores. “7 Figures” is a play on this, and nods to our Los Angeles home, where the million dollar salaries of athletes and movie stars living in the area are often referenced.

USA Ultimate, the governing body of our sport, requires matching uniforms for teams to compete in the Championship series, so our team needed two different colored jerseys, matching shorts and a team logo.

Creating a strong identity for the team gives its members additional motivation to succeed. It puts the “team” ahead of individuals, and in a team sport like ultimate, believing in the team is a huge step towards success. Knowing this I created the concept of the team being an aristocratic “Golf and Polo Club.” The concept fit into our “7 Figures” name. Adding the notion of an elite club took the abstract idea of “7 Figures” and turned it into something specific.

With this new direction in mind, I wanted our uniforms to stand out. The typical uniform is a a pair of  colored sports tee shirts. Making one of our jerseys a collared polo shirt like golfers wear worked perfectly with the team’s golf club theme. For the alternate color, I wanted something that also worked with the golfing theme, and wanted to avoid the standard athletic tee. The idea of a “sweater vest” came up as something that someone would wear over a polo shirt, and a layered sleeveless V-neck over the polo became  the alternate jersey.  Adding an argyle print as the front design to the sweater vest sealed the concept.

Making the jersey concepts into a reality was the next challenge. I have a sublimation printer at work which I planned to use as the graphic application method. The sublimation process requires 100% polyester material to print on, and works best when printing onto light colors. Using spot sublimation to apply the team logos, numbers, and graphics on the jerseys seemed like the most practical technique. Since we need to run, sweat, and print on these shirts means we need a material that can breathe, is lightweight, and is suitable for printing on. I also need them in a number of different sizes because these need to work for both men and women. After hunting for a shirt that fits this criteria, I found these. The colors are perfect. A baby blue vest over a sandstone polo.

The material in both is very breathable, and light enough for the sublimation printing process to clearly show the graphics.

The next step is designing the graphics that will be printed onto the jerseys. The numbers are Letterror ‘Federal’ Font, a font based on the font used on dollar bills. The word “Figures” is broken into three segments separated by commas to create “F,IGU,RES” so it looks like the separation used when writing out numbers in the millions, (7 figures). The polo jerseys should look like shirts that a golf club would give to its members, so I created a crest mimicking the look of a ritzy polo club that would be printed on the chest of the jersey. The fronts of the shirts are uncluttered and clean, a novel concept when most current uniforms overuse modern printing technology and crowd uniform designs with graphics.

The 7 Figures uniform has been the best received uniform I have seen in our sport. Every tournament our team attends has had numerous players from teams we play and onlookers comment on how incredible they are, and ask for spare uniforms if we have any. I have seen people ask for jerseys, but never have I seen such enthusiasm for our team’s theme, look, and execution.

I love creating team uniforms. If you are an ultimate player looking for help or advice on your team’s look, please feel free to contact me either by leaving a comment, or using the form on the contact page. I printed the jerseys after hours at my work, but I also have a friend with the same printing setup as I have. He can be reached through his website at http://www.ninjachicken.com/