Skyd has worked with Breakmark on a couple sublimation items as of yet. Breakmark worked with us on the first set of jerseys for the Skyd All-American Teams in the Open and Women’s division of the 2011 College season. For the upcoming 2011 Club Championships, we went back to Breakmark to partner on a new project – Skyd Playmakers (which has yet to be officially announced). Skyd Playmakers awards several players in each division at the 2011 Club Championships for doing something sicknasty on the field. Similar to our All-American team jerseys, Playmakers recipients receive some totally unique (if not beautifully eye-searing) sublimated shorts designed by yours truly. However, I can’t take all of the design credit. Developing sublimated gear with Breakmark is very much a collaborative process that I’ve outlined below.
While this may seem a bit like a fluff piece for Breakmark, in a lot of ways it is. Breakmark has been very accommodating to our ideas and excited about working with us to help recognize the Ultimate community. They did it with Skyd All-American, and they’ve done it again with Skyd Playmakers. In both cases the concept of our award was clear: we wanted a unique sublimated item to award some great Ultimate players.
The concept for All-American was clear enough. We wanted a jersey that was loud and screamed America/Freedom/Anover-abundanceofinvasiveandunecessarysecurityproticalsatairports. Red, white and greatest country in the galaxy. After the concept and item are defined, we set up a design session with Breakmark’s partner Ace Sports.
Going into the Breakmark sublimation design session, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I had a lot of non-concrete ideas for the All-American jersey, but no real images to work with beyond the Skyd logo.
Logging into the design session was easy (I was directed by phone call what link to click on), and to my surprise, I found myself staring at the virtual desktop of the Ace-Sports designer Marc. Marc had Adobe Illustrator opened up with a jersey template.
“So,” Marc said over the phone, “what are your ideas?” I went on to list off my thoughts for the jersey design: stars on the shoulders, an American flag, tie dye. After I mentioned each item, Marc would update image with a new vector element, pulling items from his computer as if he had researched my mind before the session. “Like this? Or more like this?” he’d ask, comparing different star patterns until I found the one of my liking.
When a particular item was missing from his design stock, Marc would do a quick Google search and together we’d locate the perfect fit. Sorry, if this is beginning to sound like a love poem.
Before I knew it, we had an awesome working mock-up for the All-American jerseys. The whole process took about 30-45 minutes and allowed me to feel like something of a movie director – telling the designer what worked, what I wanted and seeing it magically come together. We even had time to put together a completely alternate All-American jersey design complete with a pattern of eagles, skying and guns. This design may yet rear its head in the SkydVerse (that’s a Skyd/Universe combo).
After the design was set, Breakmark , Ace Sports and I made some final design tweaks over email, each time I’d receive an updated mock-up of the jersey.
Finally, the jerseys were printed and Breakmark sent ‘em out to our All-American Team selections.
The process was such a breeze that going back to Breakmark to sublimate shorts for the Skyd Playmakers project was an easy choice.
The Final Word
Admittedly, I don’t have much experience in the sublimation process department with other Ultimate apparel companies. In general, I have a love/hate relationship with the look of sublimated gear. But the entire design process from conception to production was a ton of fun with Breakmark, and a process Skyd will likely do again.
- Come to the table with some basic ideas and design elements.
- If you have specific design items you want to include, be sure to have high quality computerized version of them ready.
- Be deliberate in your design session. Say exactly what you want and what you don’t want. In my experience, they were very open to tweaking things to perfection.
- Nothing is impossible (see: Playmaker Shorts, geez. What was I thinking?).
- Don’t sublimate something ugly. This has nothing to do with Breakmark and more to do with me. Sublimation can be sweet, but only when it’s tasteful. If it’s supposed to be a team jersey, make it look like a team jersey and not a jean jacket. Then again…