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Utopia Power And Light Co.

The Utopia Power and Light Company started out as a happy little concept for my club volleyball team that I was playing in with my high school friends in a very small midwestern town that could be easily described as being in the middle of nowhere and to the left of everything...

But there was something about the name that just stuck with me for all these years... here was our first mock up of a jersey/kit/ used t-shirt from 1981:

Okay, look, I was a high school sophomore in 1981, and I had to talk our art class teacher to air brush the lettering under the logo that I had designed because I had even less talent in that...

(My actual game worn jersey/jumper//used t-shirt I gave away to a french girl named Flo along with my heart, thinking that she would always keep both nearby.... ah, well, c'est la vie....)

As I look at it, the front numeral and the wordmark would change from this, to have a band of red fade to a gradient blue horizontally, like the bar that runs across, but of a fade that the striping you see there.

I'm asking myself now why red and blue and at the time, I haven't the foggiest, except in all these 32 years that's always how it has been.  (I've had two color chips that I've always held on to since my days working for a color seperator to patch the PMS specs...)

Oh, and here's the back::

On the final shirt, the band on the front ran all the way around the back at the same location as on the front, the jersey number was a little smaller, and would go above the bar, and player name plate was some blocky looking font that was easily cut out of a silk screen and air brushed with red on top and fading to a blue on bottom....

The blue and red stripes you see on these sleeves actually ran all the way to the collar, and that is much closer to the style of the striping that ran across the midsection.

The design seemed to meet with acceptance for the most part with the other guys, but I don't think they really could have cared less about the aesthetics than it looked like it was something that made us look like we were at least on the same sideat the bare minimum on one aspect.

I only heard one somewhat negative comment, which I had heard in only semi-mocking tones, when a guy across the net had asked me who 'Ulopia" was... and although he said, yeah, he got it, he knew what the hell I was going for, it still looked like that to him... 

Hmmm. Okay.

Well, the club would last for more two more seasons, and then we would all go off in our myriad directions after graduation. I would use the UP&L name in fantasy basketball leagues that I played up in Ft. Wayne (along with the Antioch Radicals and the Kramer Royal Grays)...

Then computer games and video games would soon emerge, and with the ability to customize franchises and uniforms, the Utopia Power (as they have become more recently and poplarly known by, since the entire length of the name is beyond the ken of every computer and video game known to Western Civilization) has taken form as baseball, hockey, football and a futuresport known as Gravball that is taking some 3 centuries in the future....

With all that multisport branding, it was necessary to create a workable logo that would fit within the parameters of the crude computer systems back then, and what I designed has pretty much remained unchanged as the iconic symbol for the team:

The only other alteration I think is that the initial logo did not have a lightning bolt, but I think I changed that some 6 months afterwards, and it's been pretty much been this or very close to this for just under 30 years...

And yet here I am, still thinking about the design, thinking that if I was a little better at Illustrator (read didn't try to do everything in Photoshop or AutoCAD) I could have a professional looking design that I would be pleased with (until I found something utterly wrong and unliveable with).

I've also been inspired by the good folks at UniWatch to try my hand at some DIY projects.  Here's my hat:  

(Which, for really not knowing what the hell I was doiong, didn't turn out too bad...)

I'd also used the design scheme for painting my table hockey players when we played somewhat competitively at where I was teaching university. I had never worried about shorts or pants all that much before, but knowing I had paints and I could do any damned thing that I pleased, well, let's see where this would take us...

Hockey doesn't lend itself to white pants, however, and typically, if I remember this correctly, the white jersey also signifies the away team, so, hmmm. Considerations.

Well, I only painted up the one team. I had started on one player for the home version of the kit, that with a blue jersey with the red and white style striping as seen on the away jersey...

 As you can see, the typical red, white and blue color scheme, the white jersey with the blue and red unique striping treatment on the shoulders and sleeves (Yeah, white skates. Go fig. I think only the old Oakland Seals and tried white skates before, but black skates with the design looked like 10 degrees of bad...

From the 1/4 back, you can see that the front part of the pants are divided by the lightning bolt so that it is red in the front and blue on the back... you can also see the location of the number in relationship to the bar as it was on the very first design, and the player name below that bar...

(The lightning bolt has just always looked cool to me, and not just because it worked with the power theme. I think it was solidified for me when I saw a Grateful Dead shirt that had a very similar treatment... )

The town I grew up in was renowned/notorious for it's counterculture.    I was just anti-social. This didn't hit me until years after I graduated college...

So, of course you design that into your goalie mask.

Here's the rest of the thugs:

So, my project will probably be centered around creating the 2013 hockey jersey and shorts (it gets pretty warm here in Florida, but I fear that I am soon to be in North Dakota), one that I can eventually make myself,  and a home, away, alternate and maybe a BFBS version if I am feeling especially broody....

Lastly, kicks and grins, I had been doing some sideline work with a girl who was a former Pussycat Doll in Las Vegas who  had a website with some of her pinup shots on it... she had one where she was modeling a Philadelphia Eagles jersey and green ::ahem:: "shorts".

I made her wear another jersey, the 30th Anniversary jersey, for Utopia instead.

The icon you see immedaitely below is the patch that appears on her rupper right chest  (no, no, higher... higher.... yeah, right by her hair, there ya go...)

If I knew Illustrator better, I know for sure this would have looked demonstrably better as well. I mean, I like the fist with the lightning bolt (I've used similar iconography in different experiments throughout the years) but what the hell is that chevron looking thing? Why? Why?

Ah well. Alicia's a pretty girl, and I don't think she would mind if I turned her hair pink...  but the shirt you see her in has been for the most part unchanged...  except for the word mark.

(Btw, I've got one other pin up, but I don't think it appropriate to post on an open forum at this time...)

Speaking of the wordmark, I've made but few changes to that throughout the years...   after the "Ulopia" incident, I changed the location and the position of that T to be a little more prominent or clear at the very least...

This is fairly indicative of the initial re-design 30 years ago, although I played with italic, not italic, descending leg on the A, no descending leg....

Only recently have I played around with updating the wordmark, something that was little more cohesive and balanced:

(Sorry, I couldn't find a color file readily available, but I'm sure if you stare at Alicia's chest again, you'll have it slowly come to you what and where I was going with this design.... )

And now that I look at it... the "I" looks really -thin- to me now... geez.   Ah well.

So that's it... if you need more information or data from me, let me know...  and I'll be more than happy to provide. Utopia has been one of many, many semi-imaginary franchises that I have created over the years, and it pleases me to no end to be able to learn concepts and techniques to further flesh out  and realize sport uniform design theory... 

4/22/2013    First Iterations, first project done in Illustrator,  about 3 days of experience on the software so far...

Home and Away versions of the Utopia Power hockey versions... a lot more conservative, a lot more conventional and minimal a design as I would normally do, and not just because of my limitations with the softs at this point:

(Changes: Redeigned U secondary wordart, changed the color blue to be a touch darker, primary UTOPIA wordart changed to make the I thicker, the pants are now mostly one color, with the bolt outlined with the other color...)

(Changes: Changed the blue to a "royal', less subdued color, replaced the POWER logo with the U Bolt symbol....)

(Changes: Replaced the font with the older design Ambient font... )

(Changes: Well. It's black, white and silver... not sure how I feel with the original color U Bolt on the upper back, if I should not also change that color as well...)

(Changes: Inverted colors of the Front chest U Bolt...)

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