Successful Techniques for Great Looking Custom Jerseys


It's a Black and White thing.

When you design your jersey make sure you have enough difference between either the design color or the color of the jersey and the color of the lettering. Many team colors are on the darker side. Colors like uniform navy, forest green and maroon do not look good with black outlines or dark jerseys. White outlines generally look great and set your lettering apart but care should be taken when pairing with ligher colors like columbia blue, yellow and pink. Bolder larger fonts will still work nicely and have a softer look but finer detail and busy fonts may be difficult to read.

football jersey black with gold and white lettering

Light Colored Lettering like gold on white can be difficult to read.

Mason Patriots Baseball Jersey with Black Piping

Dark colored lettering like Dark Green with Black outlines may be difficult to read


Be Complementary

Most people know that black and white are the most opposite but colors also have opposites. Meaning they are furthest apart on the color wheel. These are called complementary colors - On the opposite side of yellow is purple, opposite of blue is orange and the opposite side of red is green. Throughout history, variations complementary colors have been used to represent significant events - red and green for Christmas, pink and blue for boys and girls and they also make great team colors. Purple and yellow for the Vikings, Teal and orange for the Dolphins. You don't have to use the direct opposite but when you're picking your team colors, thinking about colors relationship to each other is a good place to start.

 Color Wheel

Primary Colors are red, yellow and blue. Secondary colors -- Purple and Yellow, Orange and Teal, Red and Green figure prominently in team and other important color schemes.

 hornets custom football jersey purple and gold fan wear team name in problock

Purple and Yellow has a great look for effective team uniform color scheme.


The Bold and the Beautiful.

There are many fonts to choose from and they are not all created equal. When using a font that you want to be seen from 50 feet away choose one that has a bolder and thicker body. Also avoid ALL CAPITAL LETTERS when using script or fancy fonts like Baseball Script or Old English. These fonts can become difficult to read in all caps. The longer the message the more difficult to read.

 old english with outlines on cheer shell

Camels - Is difficult to see in Old english font

 purple old english lettering on referee jersey

Though the outline here is slightly better, this is still difficult to read.


Make it Stand Out.

Outlining your lettering is an excellent way to make your message stand out. This is especially true with pinstriped jerseys and referee jerseys.  This is especially true when you are using a color to match the pinstripes for example navy blue lettering with navy blue pinstripes and with a smaller and longer font. The words can blend into and get lost in the pinstripes. So make it jump out by outlining it in white or grey for dark colors and black or red for light colors.

 chefboyz with tail on pinistriped jersey

Note how not only all upper case script font but the navy blue pinstripes obscure the legibility as well.

 Alfred Music with outlines on pinstriped jersey

The outline on the alfred Music logo makes the artwork pop out. Numbers are easier to read because of the boldness but outlining everything makes for a nice uniform look.


The Cutting Edge.

With new technology you can put just about any image you want on a jersey for minimal cost. The two most common methods that don't require a lot of setup, minimum order requirements and cost are cad cut vinyl and cad cut digital imprinted film.

With cad cut film you have a variety of colors of film to choose from. This works great for 1-3 color designs. Images that are relatively simple without a lot of detail work great. You can acheive professional results using stock images, your own logo or custom design with minimal effort or knowledge of design.

Cad cut digital imprinted film works best for more than 3 colors or full color photographic images. You will need to find the best, clearest image that you can.  Special design software can help convert images to be used but the end result is only as good as the original artwork. Don't expect a tiny 1 inch image to enlarge to a full chest size logo and look good.


Northwestern University custom soccer jerseys

Simple and effective for fairly complex designs. Cad Cut vinyl comes in a variety of colors and materials for just about any use.

 mccartney-fans-on-the-run-concert-jersey football jersey


Cad Cut Digital imprinting can give an stunning impact with no limit to color. You will need to keep in mind that a cutline will need to be provided and minimal use of knock outs are allowed. These both use a combination of regular single color vinyl for the names combined with digital imprint for the artwork.


Knock it out.

Have a long team name but you don't want to squish it all on one line?  Have part of the name "knocked out of the tail. There is no extra charge for this. The knock out font is generally problock or varsity and can be used with or without an outline. If used with an outline the color will be the color of the outline. If used without the color will be the color of the shirt.

 custom-illinois-innocence-project-baseball-jersey corporate event promo charity

Simply put - the name is cut out of the tail portion. Since this is a one color logo the color of the lettering is the shirt underneath.

 mt rainier mesh baseball jersey with tail

If a two color logo is used then the knock out color will be the background or outline color.


Ask for a proof.

The design tool is there to provide a close representation of how your final product will look but it in no means will serve as an exact copy. This is especially true when using custom artwork like a baseball tail. The tails are displayed in one size but the length of your message will obviously vary.   Your name will be custom fitted to match the tail for the best look by a designer with a trained eye. Emphasis will be on


Online design tools provide a basic idea of placement and provide a visual tool to check colors, fonts and spelling but do not show the end result.

 custom two color team name with tail in orange and black on black pinstriped 1751p jersey

Shown here the tail is joined with the end of the name, enlarged to fit and the outlines are all standardized to create the professional look.



The best design is the simplest design. Think about the Nike swoosh, New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers, Toronto Maple Leafs. These are logos and logo marks that stand the test of time. They convey the message without a lot of hoopla.

 blue devils custom logo on full button baseball jersey

A simple supplied mascot graphic and some text create a fun and effective baseball jersey.


Two graphic elements are put together to create a custom look. These are customer designs and are easy to do.


When in Doubt  - Let us design for you.

Confused and overwhelmed by the options and variables? You don't have to come up with the perfect jersey design on your own. The designers at HK Sportswear are happy to assist with any level of the design process you need. From help converting a simple logo or using a custom font to a complete re-design for your entire uniform package. In most cases there is no charge for artwork or setup.

 basketball jerseys with various designs

A youth basketball camp wanted some fun jerseys to represent their favorite schools. These were quick and easy designs to come up with and the kids loved them.

 hockey jersey with puck head design

A quick and easy design that we were happy to assist with. From simple to complex, no job is to big or too small.