On February 12, the world celebrates Charles Darwin and it feels like an apposite time to look at the evolution of our kit template style.
Given that the first proper kit art I undertook was a history of Cork City’s strips, we will stick with their 1989-91 home (voted the 45th-best ever). The original shape was shamelessly lifted from that of Andy Burton’s site, Classic Kits, and my lack of experience with any ‘proper’ graphics programs meant that Microsoft Paint was the main tool for output as well as some extra bits on Paint Shop Pro 7 (a ’30-day trial’ that’s now on day 19,368).
By 2009 and the launch of Pride In The Jersey – a Gaelic games imitation of Historical Football Kits – and Cork City Kits, a larger and more rounded model was used so as to allow for more detail and a black outline. It had a longevity of six years but the feeling persisted was that it was too crude and time-consuming.
If there was to be any progress with Museum of Jerseys, which had tentatively come into being in February 2016, then something better was required and so in May of that year the plunge was taken with the purchase of Adobe Illustrator and returning to the bottom of another trial-and-error mountain.
There was a continuity of sorts with the fact that the sock shape was retained from the previous iteration but, overall, it felt like life had suddenly become high-resolution – a bit like the change in the animation of the Simpsons between their Tracy Ullman Show debut and their own show. Within a year and a half, another change was required, though.
Having a penchant for mashups and the way teams can vary kit combinations, it was felt that the strips needed to be presented in a proper vertical format and so, after checking with Daniel Gellatley if it was okay to ape the sock style used on United Kits, that switch was made in October 2017.
Unfortunately, by this stage Pride In the Jersey and Cork City Kits had become dormant due to the fact that updating them all in the newer style(s) seemed like too big a task but Museum of Jerseys was doing well. And yet, there was a nagging feeling that this template wasn’t perfect, either.
The original shape had been based on an old American football jersey and it was restrictive in terms of properly conveying the cut of a shirt unless it was an early-to-mid 1990s baggy one. Anything with shorter sleeves had to be represented slightly incorrectly.
Changing again would mean having to once again redo the whole library but I reasoned that the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks. In addition, I resolved to now illustrate the backs of kits as well as the fronts – in effect putting more work on my plate but an addition I feel was overdue and hard to do properly with the previous template.
So it was that May 2021 brought about the fourth alteration. As with 2016, the socks are retained to give things a ‘Trigger’s broom’ effect. There may be some who prefer the earlier stuff, but I’m happy with things now.
Hopefully it’s the last change, but you’ve seen what I’m like.