Behind The Design: Admiral with Walthamstow FC and William Morris

Step into the wonderful world of William Morris, a kaleidoscope of different patterns and colours which look great in most contexts. Would it work as a football shirt? Things to take into consideration are: the repeat of a pattern, a short repeat is ideal for a shirt design, and the colours used. For the Walthamstow FC design we wanted to stay true to the original design and also adapt to suit the colours traditional to the club.

Looking upon the vast collection at the William Morris Gallery we settled upon four designs. After scrutiny from our in-house design team, mocking up designs in football shirt format, the Yare pattern from 1892 was selected.

Behind The Design Walthamstow FC William Morris Football Shirt

The Pattern

Strap in for a bit of history.

Designed by John Henry Dearle sometime after 1892, the Yare Pattern, was block printed on cotton at Merton Abbey and features scrolling green leaves with flowers in shades of pale blue, red and yellow on dark blue background. John Henry Dearle (1859-1932) was a British textile and stained-glass designer trained by William Morris who was much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Dearle designed many of the later wallpapers and textiles released by Morris & Co.and contributed background and foliage patterns to tapestry.

This all sounds like an ideal pattern for a football shirt right? Well it’s not as simple as you might think. The original was block printed on a textured background which means the repeat has movement and can’t simply be used directly for a football shirt.

To make it fit for a football shirt, we first located an area of the repeat pattern that was the most uniform and by scanning the area, we could, by magic, load the design into the digital world. The skill comes in the next part, and a fair amount of time by our design team who painstakingly mapped out and redrew the design in such a way that the repeat would work perfectly when scaled for different sizes and product releases.

Once the design outline is in place, the colours can be added making the pattern come alive, matching to the closest Pantone colours to be true to the Dearle’s original.


Behind the Pattern: Walthamstow FC and William Morris Football Shirt


The Crest

You may not be aware how many different options there are when it comes to building a club crest. We won’t go through them all but possibly the most difficult to execute is the Thermoplastic Polyurethane badge or TPU for short, of course, we went for this option for the Walthamstow Collection. 

TPU badges are extremely flexible and consist of high detail, vivid colours, intricate textured patterns and unique finishes such as metallic or matt. By using this technique the crest has to be designed with texture and depth in mind.

In this case, the Walthamstow FC crest, which was already a great design by the way, was redrawn and the elements raised and textured in the correct locations to maximise impact.


Behind the Crest: Walthamstow FC William Morris Football Shirt


Once the shirt design is mocked-up and patterns finalised, sublimated logos added and crests designed, it’s time to develop the garment. Cue the Admiral development team.

They take over from this point forward, selecting materials and factories that would work best for the sublimation process and garment style. We’ll fast forward a bit here, but essentially after a lot of admin, samples arrive at Admiral HQ for quality control. Once approved, we are all good to go.

The full allocation of shirts are sent off to be sold, in this case the William Morris Gallery and Pro-Direct.


Behind the Walthamstow FC Admiral William Morris Football Shirt


We hope that gives you a bit of insight into the design process of a football shirt at Admiral.

A big shout-out to the Admiral Design and Development teams who worked on the project. As always, they smashed this one out of the park. On to the next one!

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