Sign in to follow this  
devilray2k1

High schools...untapped branding goldmine?

Recommended Posts

I was thinking about this last night and the thought crossed my mind that even if you did get lucky with a school or two, I just don't see it as turning into anything significant, unless you plan on starting your own uniform manufacturing company. I think you'd probably have a better shot at finding out who does the uniforms and then contacting them to get your designs into high schools. You may not make it with a company such as Nike, but if your designs are good enough, someone might give you a chance. The major problem with this is the problem with all high schools, money. I've known of schools that don't even have a trainer on campus. I'd rather see the kids health on the field/court as more important than a logo or uniform.

You raise some good points. I've been outfitting teams since 1967. I've seen a lot in my 40-plus years in the business. But as others have stated, it all comes down to money and to a lesser extent, the latest fad of the day. I know for a fact that my local high school was the first in the area to have the players' names on the basketball jerseys (1974-detachable name plates). Schools knew that our company had done the work. Did it result in a flood of new business? The answer is "No." Most coaches didn't want to be "bothered" with details like this or there was a money factor, even though we sold the lettered nametags for around $5 each.

And as far as taking your ideas directly to a manufacturer, there isn't much choice out there anymore. Nike is the big dog on the porch right now. Russell does some as does Don Alleson, Teamwork and other cut-and-sew in-stock suppliers. Most of them make a selection of basic styles in the most-popular color combos and provide very basic lettering/graphic services (Clip-Art Central, not a lot of innovative ideas).

The bottom line is that the average coach doesn't have the first clue about uniform design (hey, they're basically just dumb jocks) or the school's budget has strong parameters. All the coach wants is that his uniforms are legal, cheap (inexpensive) and will last for four or five seasons on the varsity level before they are passed down to the junior varsity. It ends up with sum (money) over substance (design, uniqueness). :blink:

speaking as one of the "dumb jocks" B) who also happens to be a coach of two varsity HS sports (football and baseball) I guess I am the rarity who actually designed and continues to tweak my teams' uniforms. all the posts are correct about money being the issue... we fundraise to buy new uniforms for each sport as the high school I teach and coach at runs on a "four-year cycle" for buying new unis. it is extremely frustrating, but it is reality.

I have been able to incorporate some drastic changes in my team's looks over the past 7 years. football unis went from a bizarre screen printed, aztec-looking design to a traditional block, tackle twill jersey. I immediately purchased team socks (striped of course) for the program along with an old-school design of helmet numerals. the reality is that the socks, and helmet decals all come from my pocket. fundraising usually makes up for it..

for my baseball squad I completely redesigned our unis and incorporated a complete road baseball uniform, the first in the state of delaware. It is also mandatory for my players to wear sanitary socks and stirrups! players purchase some of the uni components (caps, sanitaries, and stirrups) wich helps defray costs.

what makes me laugh are the uniform salesmen who are always trying to push the latest horrendous designs and styles in uniform. I"m not sure what their goal is, but I will say that most coaches just go along with the garbage their uni salesman pitches... it takes an incredible amount of time and dedication being uni-conscious as a high school coach, but I would have it no other way!!

Coach, you remind me of my old coach/athletic director and scores of guys who were around when I first started selling uniforms. Most all of them took pride in how their teams looked because the team image reflected on the town, school, coach, players and family. It may sound corny but if you look good uni-wise you usually play good. A lot of the schools I've outfitted through the years have stayed with the basics as far as style and color on the chance they would have to fill in with extra uniforms on occasion.

A lot of schools around here buy the players' caps, hose, warm-up jackets and such through fund-raisers. My local high school baseball team has a pizza sale that defrays some costs for incidental equipment.

And I know salesmen who always push the latest fad uniforms. These styles are usually over-priced, take forever to make because of the "demand" for them (oh, you've got to look just like North Carolina or Duke or Ohio State if you want to be "in") and generally fall out of favor in a couple of years until the next new "fad" comes out by Nike or Reebok or adidas. All these salesmen see are dollar signs. Which a lot of programs can't really afford (when's the last time these big-shot companies gave you a break on the price? Can you say "never?"- Hey, gotta help pay the latest LeBron James' $57-trillion endorsement deal. Why not have the suckers in high school foot part of the cost?).

If you want repeat business you give them a good product that's "timeless" in design work within their budget. You'll get more repeat orders because of a low-pressure sales pitch than you ever will by looking like a snake-oil salesman.

Very interesting discussion. It's true Nike calls the shots but where are the Sandkints and all the other old school, small outfitters that used to provide unique designs for each team? Sports business as it is today is like a pyramid with the guy on top making more than the entire first floor. It worked with NCAA teams and now it's coming to HS, proving there's always people downstairs to fund your sponsorship deal as long as they trust the buzz, even if you suck. They pay Lebron with cash that millions of wannabees spend to be like him by wearing his $200 shoes. Same thing with the $300 Niketeam Ohio templates except one could expect more responsibility from headcoaches and athletic directors, even if they feel their own pressure from the players like parents with their kids. The best example is all the college coaches you hear saying they switched to some brand because it would attract more talent in their school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was thinking about this last night and the thought crossed my mind that even if you did get lucky with a school or two, I just don't see it as turning into anything significant, unless you plan on starting your own uniform manufacturing company. I think you'd probably have a better shot at finding out who does the uniforms and then contacting them to get your designs into high schools. You may not make it with a company such as Nike, but if your designs are good enough, someone might give you a chance. The major problem with this is the problem with all high schools, money. I've known of schools that don't even have a trainer on campus. I'd rather see the kids health on the field/court as more important than a logo or uniform.

You raise some good points. I've been outfitting teams since 1967. I've seen a lot in my 40-plus years in the business. But as others have stated, it all comes down to money and to a lesser extent, the latest fad of the day. I know for a fact that my local high school was the first in the area to have the players' names on the basketball jerseys (1974-detachable name plates). Schools knew that our company had done the work. Did it result in a flood of new business? The answer is "No." Most coaches didn't want to be "bothered" with details like this or there was a money factor, even though we sold the lettered nametags for around $5 each.

And as far as taking your ideas directly to a manufacturer, there isn't much choice out there anymore. Nike is the big dog on the porch right now. Russell does some as does Don Alleson, Teamwork and other cut-and-sew in-stock suppliers. Most of them make a selection of basic styles in the most-popular color combos and provide very basic lettering/graphic services (Clip-Art Central, not a lot of innovative ideas).

The bottom line is that the average coach doesn't have the first clue about uniform design (hey, they're basically just dumb jocks) or the school's budget has strong parameters. All the coach wants is that his uniforms are legal, cheap (inexpensive) and will last for four or five seasons on the varsity level before they are passed down to the junior varsity. It ends up with sum (money) over substance (design, uniqueness). :blink:

speaking as one of the "dumb jocks" B) who also happens to be a coach of two varsity HS sports (football and baseball) I guess I am the rarity who actually designed and continues to tweak my teams' uniforms. all the posts are correct about money being the issue... we fundraise to buy new uniforms for each sport as the high school I teach and coach at runs on a "four-year cycle" for buying new unis. it is extremely frustrating, but it is reality.

I have been able to incorporate some drastic changes in my team's looks over the past 7 years. football unis went from a bizarre screen printed, aztec-looking design to a traditional block, tackle twill jersey. I immediately purchased team socks (striped of course) for the program along with an old-school design of helmet numerals. the reality is that the socks, and helmet decals all come from my pocket. fundraising usually makes up for it..

for my baseball squad I completely redesigned our unis and incorporated a complete road baseball uniform, the first in the state of delaware. It is also mandatory for my players to wear sanitary socks and stirrups! players purchase some of the uni components (caps, sanitaries, and stirrups) wich helps defray costs.

what makes me laugh are the uniform salesmen who are always trying to push the latest horrendous designs and styles in uniform. I"m not sure what their goal is, but I will say that most coaches just go along with the garbage their uni salesman pitches... it takes an incredible amount of time and dedication being uni-conscious as a high school coach, but I would have it no other way!!

Coach, you remind me of my old coach/athletic director and scores of guys who were around when I first started selling uniforms. Most all of them took pride in how their teams looked because the team image reflected on the town, school, coach, players and family. It may sound corny but if you look good uni-wise you usually play good. A lot of the schools I've outfitted through the years have stayed with the basics as far as style and color on the chance they would have to fill in with extra uniforms on occasion.

A lot of schools around here buy the players' caps, hose, warm-up jackets and such through fund-raisers. My local high school baseball team has a pizza sale that defrays some costs for incidental equipment.

And I know salesmen who always push the latest fad uniforms. These styles are usually over-priced, take forever to make because of the "demand" for them (oh, you've got to look just like North Carolina or Duke or Ohio State if you want to be "in") and generally fall out of favor in a couple of years until the next new "fad" comes out by Nike or Reebok or adidas. All these salesmen see are dollar signs. Which a lot of programs can't really afford (when's the last time these big-shot companies gave you a break on the price? Can you say "never?"- Hey, gotta help pay the latest LeBron James' $57-trillion endorsement deal. Why not have the suckers in high school foot part of the cost?).

If you want repeat business you give them a good product that's "timeless" in design work within their budget. You'll get more repeat orders because of a low-pressure sales pitch than you ever will by looking like a snake-oil salesman.

Very interesting discussion. It's true Nike calls the shots but where are the Sandkints and all the other old school, small outfitters that used to provide unique designs for each team? Sports business as it is today is like a pyramid with the guy on top making more than the entire first floor. It worked with NCAA teams and now it's coming to HS, proving there's always people downstairs to fund your sponsorship deal as long as they trust the buzz, even if you suck. They pay Lebron with cash that millions of wannabees spend to be like him by wearing his $200 shoes. Same thing with the $300 Niketeam Ohio templates except one could expect more responsibility from headcoaches and athletic directors, even if they feel their own pressure from the players like parents with their kids. The best example is all the college coaches you hear saying they switched to some brand because it would attract more talent in their school.

The names of companies that are now out of business reads like a "Who's Who" of the uniform business. General Athletic, Fab-Knit, Rich-Knit, Coane, Oliver Bros, Felco, Empire Sporting Goods, Post Manufacturing Co., Zwickel, Gamemaster and Knig-O'Shea were all custom uniform manufacturers that specialized in high school, college and even a few professional uniforms. General made the best all-time hockey sweaters (jerseys) while King-O'Shea made top-quality basketball and football duds. Sadly they're all gone, driven out by the greedy SOB's like Nike, adidas and Reebok, to name a few.

SandKnit is alive and well doing business as Ripon Athletic and run by an old SandKnit hand, Hank Derleth. But they are a bit "pricey." But the quality is still there.

DeLong, which took over Spanjian several years ago, stopped producing uniforms this fall. We still get our custom uniforms from LeTrell Sportswear in Knoxville, Tenn. They offer a full line of both custom and stock uniforms or they will make special styles. I know-they've done it for us.

Unfortunately most of today's uniform salesman don't know :censored: from Shinola when it comes to selling a uniform (just push the suits, pal). All they do is have the coach or team pick out a style from the company's basic five or six design templates, basically "color-by-the-numbers" and voila! your team looks like U of Miami or Louisville or whomever. There's no originality or uniqueness in uniform design anymore. Most of today's uniforms look like they were "designed" by a bunch of pre-schoolers with the "Big 64" box of Crayolas. Sheesh!

Most coaches are products of their environment. I've always worked with my coaches on design and we've come up with some distinctive, great-looking combos. It ain't rocket science if you care about what you're doing. I always treat my uniform orders like they were my children. I want them to be distinctive, classy and reflect positively on their origins. But then again I'm very old-fashioned and conservative. :cry: :cry: :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At the high school I teach and coach at we have adopted a common wordmark and logo. In the past each team had their own look. We decided that this wasn't good for our athletic programs. This started at the start of this school year. Each team has boughten into it. As for uniforms, each team will make the switch the next time they get new uniforms. But the logo and wordmark, must appear on team t-shirts and other items. It started off as an athletic department overhaul and now the entire school has picked up on it.

We got the work done by a member of this board at a really good price. We have gotten lots of positive feedback on it.

that sounds really great.

it seems a lot of you are caught up in the money issue and what I was suggesting wasn't exactly some type of huge greedy corporate overtaking of the market I was thinking much much smaller than that. I wouldn't think a low priced logo from a pro just doing a labor of love gig or a small freelance gig for some PS3 video game money is gonna throw off the entire school's budget or take away the science department's microscopes or disband the orchestra all together...I mean...let's not get carried away here

I went to a high school were everything was pretty hodgepodged...I remember actually finishing up football practice and our coach was browsing through some huge order book with generic clip-arty type images to order our helmet stickers from....I don't remember the prices but it was relatively cheap..I don't see why it would be so completely outrageous to just give them another option or speak with an athletics director and see if it's feasible

but overall, some really good insight was given and I think it's a good debate

if someone does it, please post about it and let us know how the process went

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At the high school I teach and coach at we have adopted a common wordmark and logo. In the past each team had their own look. We decided that this wasn't good for our athletic programs. This started at the start of this school year. Each team has boughten into it. As for uniforms, each team will make the switch the next time they get new uniforms. But the logo and wordmark, must appear on team t-shirts and other items. It started off as an athletic department overhaul and now the entire school has picked up on it.

We got the work done by a member of this board at a really good price. We have gotten lots of positive feedback on it.

that sounds really great.

it seems a lot of you are caught up in the money issue and what I was suggesting wasn't exactly some type of huge greedy corporate overtaking of the market I was thinking much much smaller than that. I wouldn't think a low priced logo from a pro just doing a labor of love gig or a small freelance gig for some PS3 video game money is gonna throw off the entire school's budget or take away the science department's microscopes or disband the orchestra all together...I mean...let's not get carried away here

I went to a high school were everything was pretty hodgepodged...I remember actually finishing up football practice and our coach was browsing through some huge order book with generic clip-arty type images to order our helmet stickers from....I don't remember the prices but it was relatively cheap..I don't see why it would be so completely outrageous to just give them another option or speak with an athletics director and see if it's feasible

but overall, some really good insight was given and I think it's a good debate

if someone does it, please post about it and let us know how the process went

I am sure many of the designers won't like how I started the process, but it started on this board in the request area. I placed request stating that our Athletic Department was making the move to a common logo and wordmark within the next couple of years. I stated what teams were using at the time and how none of them looked professionally done. A few designers said they would give it a shot, while others said no because of the low pay for it. We went with one of the designs and worked out a payment for the work.

The look is starting to gain lots of attention around the city. A local bank that works with our marketing department has made it an option for our ATM cards. The Athletic Department gets a cut of each one that is made.

I am proud when I see the logo and wordmarks around town, in the newspaper, on clothing, and in the programs for our teams that have gone to state.

I don't want to say the designers name because I don't know if they have the time to do more. I just know that the logo and wordmark are great.

I will try to post them when I am on the computer I have them saved on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well if this helps my high school just re-branded the football (and football only). but that meant new jerseys, new helmets, new logo, (the pants stayed the same).

i can only guess how much that cost them but it may be profitibly if that is what you are looking for.

it was elabrite too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok before i write this, let me just say I have never been in the design business so I may sound really stupid and be wrong but this is just an idea... I think that most schools won't pay for a redesign, since 99.9% of the general population could care less about logos and jerseys ( were the .1% as someone once said on here), but I think that maybe they wouldn't mind getting a good jersey design and good logos, but won't pay for it, so if you're looking for something for a portfolio or resume-type thing, you could do this, because I'm sure they would be willing to say that you did that and they were satisfied with it if you were ever applying somewhere. Now, if you an actual designer that already works for a company, I would totally forget it, since you really don't need anything for a resume.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my high school has an original logo

untitled-7.jpg

(best i could find)

though were a rich acedemic school, lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an example of a sweatshirt I did for a school I do some work for. The team name is "Blue Streaks" and I found the logo tucked away on their website a while back. Generally, they go with some type of clipart, but I really liked the possibilities of this one.DSC00584.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

COUGAR-1.gif

That is my school's logo. We also sometimes use the Oregon "O", but I like this much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's an example of a sweatshirt I did for a school I do some work for. The team name is "Blue Streaks" and I found the logo tucked away on their website a while back. Generally, they go with some type of clipart, but I really liked the possibilities of this one.DSC00584.jpg

nice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this