Company management sits down with the marketing team to discuss branding strategies. At some point during the meeting, somebody from the marketing department suggests redesigning workwear uniforms to be more in line with the image they are trying to project. Everyone agrees it is a great idea. What next?
Since Alsco first introduced uniform rental back in the 1800s, companies have tried to incorporate branding into the clothing their workers wear. The reason should be obvious: uniforms are the most visible example of a company’s brand on those occasions when employees and customers interact. That makes every employee a walking billboard. It only makes sense to design uniforms as a brand enhancement.
Knowing all of that, here’s a question: can an artist help design better looking uniforms by contributing things to the discussion that are outside the realm of the marketing department? It is something to think about.
Analyzing NFL Uniforms
Both the idea for this post and the question posed in the previous paragraph were motivated by a July 16 (2018) article published by the SB Nation website. The site, which caters to lovers of all kinds of sports, looked at current NFL uniforms in light of the upcoming season. Writer Charles MacDonald asked an artist friend to analyze team uniforms to determine which teams needed an upgrade.
That artist, a man named Nate James, developed three different categories to describe uniforms he believed needed to be upgraded:
- Outdated Modernism – Uniforms that looked ultramodern when first introduced but now simply look dated.
- Nike Hatchet Jobs – Uniforms in this category have been redesigned by Nike, but not very well.
- Fauxbacks – Finally, fauxbacks are uniforms designed to be modern interpretations of past uniforms. They are considered faux because they really don’t do justice to the genuine throwbacks.
The most interesting aspect of this whole thing is the concept of having an artist analyze the uniforms. Why is it so interesting? Because artists have a unique perspective that does not necessarily translate well into the marketing world. Marketers tend to focus on colors and images that get the attention of consumers. Artists tend to focus more on how colors, shapes, texture, and lighting work together to create a pleasing image.
Artistic and Marketable
Getting back to workwear uniforms, it is obvious that they are quite different from the uniforms worn by pro sports teams. And yet, some of the basic concepts of branding apply universally to all uniforms. Just take color as one example.
The marketing team might want a color combination that is bold and ‘in your face’, as it were. Such a color combination will surly get the attention of consumers. But what if those consumers find the color scheme annoying? Worse yet, what if the colors create a negative image subconsciously? These are things the marketing team may not understand. They are things an artist easily recognizes.
It turns out that branding can be both artistic and marketable at the same time. And if that is true, so can workwear uniforms. It just takes a little bit of cooperation among management, the marketing team, and an artist willing to lend his or her expertise to designing new uniforms.
The only question remaining is whether it is worth it to bring an artist to the table. In a word, absolutely. Coming up with the right combination of artistry and marketability does wonders for brand enhancement. A good combination translates into extraordinary uniforms that not only sell the company, but appeal to consumers on a level even they do not necessarily understand.