Designing PDX FC
PDX FC, of the NPSL, has worked with Hummel as their apparel provider since its founding in 2017. For the first two year, the club proudly wore the Danish brand’s standard Core SS soccer jersey. However, behind the scenes they were working with Hummel to put out a custom jersey which accomplished two things: kept within the guidelines of their branding, to connect to the city of Portland, Oregon and to release a shirt that somebody on the other side of the country would want to wear. Mission accomplished.
The shirt was released mid-week sometime in May and within 48 hours, some sizes were sold out—this was unexpected and more shirts had to be requested from Hummel to fulfill the orders. Orders had shipped out to New York, California, and as far as Argentina and England. For something which took nearly a year to be completed, it was a bit of surprise to see the positive reactions. They knew the design was sophisticated but fell within the comfort zone of soccer fans, but really, the kit was always meant to lend the PDX FC squad an identifiable on-pitch branding.
From the onset, the club had always worn black and gold, with white as the alternate top. While some soccer fans love all black kits, others think they’re just a marketing gimmick and that clubs should stick to their team’s colors. For PDX FC, this is both and the results are elegant and original. Despite having reworked their badge in 2018, the team’s owners, Luke and Max Babson, insisted on sticking with the original colorways and it was a great choice – few clubs have a badge and a kit which stand out as original and professional.
From discussion early on in the discussion of a custom-designed soccer jersey, it was an imperative to make sure the design for the home shirt wasn’t too experimental, and worked within the norms of what soccer fans are used to seeing. Fans in Portland have always coveted a “Hoops” look and at the onset of planning, it was decided to go that route, but use subtlety rather than a big bold design to accomplish this. Sketches for both a black kit with gold trim, as well as a white kit with gold trim, were submitted to Hummel to create test kits. Both Alfonso Poblete, of Santiago, Chile and Portland soccer supporter, Aaron Flynn contributed to creating the 3D modeling which gave Hummel the guidance to create their mock-up templates.
When the test kits arrived in the fall of 2018, it was decided that the colors might need a slight adjustment, and that the club wanted to make space on the shirt for sponsors – this meant that the plan for sublimation and production had to wait until the sponsors and their respective location on the shirt had been decided upon. If you work in soccer in America, at this level, then you understand that this had the potential to be a lengthily postponement, but absolutely necessary to ensure that the sponsors would be well-represented on the shirts and that no additional printed would have to be done, getting all branding sublimated would be cost effective and ensure the longevity of the branding on the shirts.
By early Spring 2019, the sponsors’ location on the shirt had been decided upon and the final draft was sent off to Hummel to produce the primary kits. Budgets at this level of soccer are tight… like, very very tight. So only one of the two designs could be made. The owners went with creating a custom “home” kit first and sat on the design for the alternate, or “away” whites. Instead, they stuck with the tried and tested Hummel Core SS and added a couple of Hummel’s keepers kits to the order. In that time, PDX FC’s season began and they would be found wearing the alternates, which they luckily already had.
As the weeks went by, anticipation grew, everyone was eager to see something which took so much care to finalize. Finally, the call came in from the owner that the shirts were in, and that they looked as amazing, if not better, than expected! The announcement was made on social media, the product was added to the club’s online shop and before their first match in the shirts, they had sold out of a couple sizes and generated a little excitement. Since their release, the club have picked up a few wins in the league and looked pretty good doing it!
- Joshua Duder
For more information about PDX FC, or to check out their online shop: https://www.pdxfc.com/