8 Ways to Stay Fresh and Creative as a Sports Designer
There’s no denying that being a sports designer is great; but like most great things, it comes with challenges. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the trends. Sometimes, it’s difficult thinking of new ideas. Sometimes, it’s easy to get stuck.
When that happens, these tricks will help you stay fresh and creative.
1- Keep yourself up-to-date with the sports design industry
You like sports and you like design, but where can you learn more about where these 2 worlds collide? Sports design podcasts are a great place to start. The Makers of Sport Podcast is my favourite place to stay up to date through engaging conversations with industry leaders. Uni Watch is another good way to get in a good dose of sports uniforms design.
Twitter is big in this Industry so make sure to check out hashtags like #sportsbiz or #sportsbranding, Knowing what is going on in the world of sports will help you create relevant, good, creative ideas. So turn that game back on :)
2. Learn from other sports designers
See what other sports designers are creating out there and get inspiration from their work.
The mind is like a giant bag. Once you see something, your mind will hold that information somewhere in your consciousness, whether you remember it or not. Over time, it keeps track of these things and will help you create something completely new.
Search for Sports design Tutorials.. Here is a perfect example of a great Sports design tutorial done by one of the industry leaders: “fraser Davidson”.. Seeing how other designers work helps add diversity to your creation process.
3. Improve your presentation skills
So you have been playing around with a lot of ideas and sketches. You have put together a really nice piece of design which is more than ready to appear on a soccer team’s t-shirt. Then you excitedly show your work to your clients and they just can not see how cool it will look on the team’s t-shirt.
That sucks, right? It can be REALLY frustrating.
But the truth is: What we designers come up with in our head can not be explained in words. It needs to be well displayed visually so that other people can see it the way we see it.
A poor presentation of your design is not going to help your career, and of course it doesn’t help cultivate your confidence and creativity.
Make your stuff look real! In sports, realism is king, since your client needs to see how it will look in real life application. Present your design in a convincing way. a 3D template is something that will forever change the way you present your designs.
I cannot stress how important it is to make your work look Realistic, especially in branding. Context is everything. Seeing a logo on a white background in a PDF versus seeing it stitched onto a uniform or mid-court on a basketball floor are difference-makers in selling work.
4. Talk to outsiders / talk to sport fans
Thinking outside the box is crucial to finding creative solutions.
But it’s not that easy when you are the person who’s in the box.
The easiest way to think out of the box is to go out and talk to people who are out of the box. Talk to somebody who is not a designer, and ask them what their favorite sport team is, what sport uniform gets them excited, and other questions about design. I’m 100% sure a doctor will tell you something different than an engineer. And they will both have different opinions from yours.
Listening to other people’s perspective will freshen up your mind and help you see your design from different angles, which will help keep your designs fresh and creative.
5. Leave your desk often
Sitting in front of your desktop screen working solid hours on your designs kills your creativity. Stand up, do a squat, or just simply walk around.
Try a system of 90 minutes working diligently, and then a 15 minute break away from your desk. You’ll be shocked to see the effect on your work.
6. Sketch more
Oftentimes you sketch to put all of the design ideas you have got for a sport kit out on a paper. And you probably sketch so often that you forget how enjoyable sketching is when we do it just for sketching itself.
The beauty of sketching without worrying about the client and the stressful deadline is that it allows you to connect to your creativity. It helps you capture your thoughts and ideas. Just a few words or a quick sketch is usually enough to capture the thought. Then at a later time, these ideas can be explored, nurtured, and matured to their full artistic potential. Who knows, a random sketch from yesterday afternoon may be the inspiration for one of your best sports designs in the future.
7. Consider the power of a good morning routine
Many successful creative people attribute their success and focus to their morning routine. It makes so much sense: Part of what feeds your creativity is energy — physically and mentally. And a good morning routine will revolutionize your energy.
Try it out. Sketch a few things first thing in the morning. Drink a glass a water. Write a few things that you are grateful for. Whatever it is, do it every morning. And take notice of the effects on the rest of your day.
Every good sports team has a good strategy. And every good sports designer should have one too.
Make a calendar of sports events that are happening over the next twelve months. Be sure to include sports you don’t follow too. Keep an eye on big sports news so you can pounce on any opportunity that arises.
You could be the guy that gets his “goodbye Kobe tribute design” shared by the official NBA Instagram account when Kobe Bryant announced his retirement plan.
Be genuine though. It’s easy to tell when someone’s heart is behind a design, and when it isn’t.
Since I started working with sports design, these eight tips have been a lifesaver. What do you think? Do you have other methods to stay on top of your game?