Best bets for watching your vision come to life
It’s a thrilling moment when a new marching band uniform is revealed for the first time, and a performance – either on the field or on the floor – brings your vision to life. In this blog post, we share some behind-the-scenes advice from our own design shop. Here’s what we’ve found works best with clients to get maximum creative results – and the best possible uniforms!
- Share your concept via an overall theme, title, or keywords.
When it comes to design conversations, most companies that design and/or manufacturer uniforms for marching bands have heard and seen it all. They are experienced in being able to take a concept and bring it to life. So if you have a very specific ideas about the look-and-feel, fabric, colors, bring them!
If you have a title for the show, but haven’t completely fleshed it out, or if you only have a concept, bring that, too. Part of a good design process is that the company will be able to ask the right questions to tease out the information they need to bring your design to life.
If you’re familiar with the online world, think in terms of “keywords,” too. “After-life,” “heaven,” “blue skies” are all examples of keywords for one concept, as are “zombies,” “decay,” “post-apocalypse!” Can you see how strong an image just those keywords provide for a creative mind?
- Music plays an important element in the design process
Sometimes you may be far enough along in your planning that you know the actual music for the show; other times, you may have a particular musical style determined, but not exact music. How is music used for a design? Well, in our shop, the designers will play movie soundtracks, pop songs, classical music, and other choices that capture the direction a client has proposed. Music inspires a uniform design in the same way it inspires your show.
All assets are helpful – if you have past efforts, old costumes, photos of uniforms on other bands that you liked, all good! EXTRA CREDIT if you can provide your school colors in Pantone!
- Be as flexible as possible within your design framework
If you can come to the process with some flexibility, and an open mind, you may be amazed at the results that can be produced. Of course, a good manufacturer can create the exact look you want if you’ve already envisioned everything down to the last button. But we’d invite you to give your designer a free hand. Our clients are often amazed at how we can come up with ideas they haven’t thought of. Your design company can also be a great resource for figuring out how to give a uniform more than one look, easy ways to update a uniform for the future, and complementary props and accessories.
- Perspective is everything
When you get a design to review, or even if you’re simply committing your own thoughts to the screen, keep in mind that what you see on a computer monitor is very different from what can be seen from the stands. It’s kind of counter-intuitive to think that those who create shows with such precision and careful thought as to the overall look from a distance will get tripped up by this design challenge, but it happens. Common problems: colors that are too close in hue to show a contract from a distance, uniform details that look great up close but are lost when viewed from more than 5 feet.
- What do you NOT want?
Yes, after all the questions about what you do want, it’s also very helpful if you can articulate what you DON’T want. Do you always want to avoid a certain color or style? Is there some past uniform that you don’t want to mimic in a new design? Are you working with a certain budget that can NOT be exceeded?
Good uniform design and production is a collaborative process. The more you can bring to the designer’s table, the most likely the designer can take your vision through the process and produce a uniform you’re proud to own, and your students are thrilled to wear.