Ever in the shadow of the big four soccer leagues, the French Ligue 1 has made recent strides to thrust itself into the upper echelon of European competition by gaining wealthy owners capable of bankrolling their teams. While this has allowed teams to bring in star players, the likes of which rival the best talents in the world, it has done little to change the quality of uniforms that have been ironically spewing from a country that prides itself on style and culture.
No disrespect to the entire French nation, though. After all, they were the king of jerseys at the 2014 World Cup. The club teams of the country, however, have failed to live up to the hype. Such is the case with Montpellier Hérault Sport Club. There’s no denying the quality of a team that won its respective league title as recently as 2012, and Montpellier is no exception. The problem is that the club has failed to establish a successful uniform design in recent years and the newest installment may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. So, I invite you to feast upon the jungle of mistakes that are the 2014/15 blue and orange, first-choice jersey and the white, second-choice jersey:
The biggest problem with both of these uniforms is that there are too many sponsors. While the empty jersey space may appear to be money lost, the inclusion of extra sponsors makes the jersey look less like a soccer jersey and more like a cluttered and unorganized racing jumpsuit.
One primary sponsor is all that should appear on a jersey. Aside from the sponsors, the color scheme is decent but orange and blue complement each other well when the blue is more of a royal blue instead of navy. The use of the blue in this jersey makes the entire thing look dull and ends up swallowing the vibrant orange. If one color was used to merely accent the other color, it would work. This, however, does not. The pattern of the jersey is similar to that of the USA jersey I critiqued several weeks ago and not much has changed regarding my opinion.The separation of color at the chest is a nice idea but separation of color is not enough. They tried to correct that problem by inserting the white line but it just ends up looking awkward and forced. Overall, there are just too many errors to justify giving it anything more than a:
As for the second jersey, the number of sponsors remains a problem, with one more glaring issue; why are two of the sponsors printed in red? There is no, nor has there ever been red in the Montpellier color scheme and, therefore, has no place on the club’s jerseys. Again, I’m not crazy about the pattern, but the colors make this one easier the stomach. Being all white, the line at the chest doesn’t serve to divide the jersey, but serves as a design, itself. As a result, it provides a good focal point in a simple jersey by using the blue and orange double-line.Unfortunately, this is just me stretching to find compliments in a jersey I don’t really like. This was better than the first, but still not good.
So, as I set out to recreate these jerseys, I did so with a few things in mind. I wanted to make sure I used the same color scheme, but my main goal was to create more of an identity for the club that has been consistently changing its jerseys in recent years. I believe I did just that:
The first step was to eliminate most of the sponsors so there was one, central sponsor. There’s a reason for why the majority of clubs make their jerseys this way; it looks better. In addition to getting rid of the other sponsors, I raised the position of the primary sponsor and made it smaller to make it more proportional with the other aspects of the jersey. After changing the sponsor situation I moved on to colors. Color allows you to establish an identity. Most major clubs have simple first-choice jerseys that are recognizable by their color. The funny thing is, not many teams use orange, leading me to use orange as the primary color. As for the design, I decided that a simple design would be necessary (to keep the focus on the orange color) and, as a result, opted for a dark-blue accent. To implement this accent I used the angled line idea that appears in the club’s logo. Instead of covering the jersey with this design, however, I decided to use a curved, thin line going around the entire uniform to contain it, making the jersey appear multidimensional in a way. Additionally, I made the sponsor and Nike swoosh white to make them stand apart from the blue lines. As for the collar, more material was needed above the angled lines as there is excess space below the lines. This helps balance the uniform. All-in-all, this uniform accomplishes the goal of making a classic but fresh, reuseable look.
For the second uniform I wanted to use the other two Montpellier colors (blue and white) as my base. It was at that point that I took another look at the logo and realized that the color scheme of the angled lines used in the first jersey could be used as a design itself. So, I implemented that design and used orange lining around the blue stripes in order to make the jersey look more sharp. I did not include the stripes on the sleeves, however, as such a design would look awkward with the movements of players arms during the game (considering the stripes cannot be made perpendicular to the arm or sleeve opening). Finally, the classic-style collar was used because the stripes, even if angled, are a classic design. When kept entirely white, the collar also balances out the uniform as it creates a source of solid white in the middle instead of just on the sides. Again, this is a new design that could help to establish an identity for the club.
Of course, I understand that in order for changes like this to happen, this team would would have to make some serious adjustments. I’m making a lot of requests, after all. So, if I’m going to commit to the recreation of this team’s identity, then I’ll have to commit 100% to the cause. That’s why I’d suggest an adoption of a new sponsor with the approval of my designs and, with that, the introduction of a new, fashionably appropriate mascot:
…and “Les Tigres” isn’t a bad nickname either!