Behind Jersey Designs

Yakob Sayuri attacked from the left-hand side of the Iraqi team's defense. He managed to outwit the opposing players and then broke into the penalty box. He dribbled the ball again before crossing. Unguarded, Marselino Ferdinan freely received the pass and kicked the ball into Iraq's goal, scoring Indonesia's first goal in the 2024 Asian Cup. Not only did this beautiful goal attract attention, but the jerseys that the Indonesian national team players were wearing also caught the eyes of the crowd. The red collared jersey with white accents successfully combines classic and modern impressions. Fajar Ramadhan is the person behind this design of the national team jersey.

Fajar himself has long worked as an apparel designer, especially jerseys, after graduating from the Industry Product Design major at the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology. His career began with his passion for creating fantasy designs for football jerseys while in college. At the time, he also took part in a jersey design competition. According to him, with this educational background, he learned about the detailed design process and methodology and research in design. Before joining local brand Mills as an Apparel Designer, Fajar worked for Riors and League.

Back to the matter of the national team jersey. This jersey was first released and produced by Mills. In designing the jersey, Fajar brought the concept of "Bring Back Glory" which was inspired by the national team jersey at the 1987 SEA Games, the last time the national team earned the title of “champion”. Fajar developed the diagonal pattern on the old jersey to suit the knitting technology currently used without losing elements of the original design. On the inside of the neck, Fajar made a design of the number 35 which follows the shape of the shield as a commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the SEA Games gold medal achievement and combined it with a pattern taken from the shape of the roof of the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

Aside from the visual, jersey design also emphasizes the public's accessibility to the jersey. What's more, this jersey is a national team jersey and, as such, should be accessible to many groups. “The jersey itself is set not to be slim fit, both the replica and authentic versions. "So that the general public, whose bodies may take different shapes from that of an athlete, are also able to wear this national team jersey comfortably," Fajar explained. It’s worth noting that in general jerseys are made in two versions, namely authentic jerseys, referring to jerseys with the same specifications as the jerseys worn by players, and replicas as the "economical" version of authentic jerseys.

In Fajar's view and experience, jersey design begins with determining the material. "For the material, it’s determined at the beginning because it also affects the execution of the jersey, whether it will be sublimated, debossed or anything else. "For example, when a jersey already uses jacquard fabric, in my opinion there is no need for busy graphics anymore because jacquard itself is a plus, adding extra value to the jersey," explained Fajar.


“The jersey design process is just like the design process in general, really. Starting from ideation, then elaborating the concept after that goes to design draft, design revision, sample revision, until the final result is the final product that is launched," he said, explaining the stages he usually goes through in designing a jersey. Apart from the Indonesian national team jersey, in his nine year career, Fajar has made jersey designs for many domestic professional clubs, such as Persija, Persela Lamongan, Bhayangkara FC, Arema Malang, Persid Jember, Persikad Depok, and PSKC Cimahi. Not only that, he also designed the jerseys for Tranmere Rovers, a Division 4 club in England.

In designing jerseys, there are several elements that can be applied as design derivatives. For example, the nameset or font on the player's name and jersey number. "As for namesets, not every jersey design has a nameset design, though. It's a different story if you reach the national team level. We also provide special designs, for example the 2022 national team jersey

"It's complete right down to the nameset," Fajar said. "For example, at Mills, where I work, I prepare a nameset design that can be used by all teams that work with Mills and I set the age of the nameset design at two years. "After two years, we will design a new name set again."

"Now, with the industry growing, it's different from when I started my career. Now apparel designers are valued enough to earn a living [just from that]. You can say that’s roughly what it's been like. Your career prospects can start from freelancing first. Then try applying to a bigger brand. If you're lucky, it's not even impossible to go abroad to [work for] a global brand," he conveyed his views on the profession as a jersey designer.

Fajar's professionalism can be seen in various layers. In the realm of the design practice, apparel design shows the multidisciplinary skills crucial to a designer. A designer must have complex knowledge, not only around visual matters, it is also essential to master skills regarding materials and production. Meanwhile, from an industry perspective, apparel designers have the potential to develop as the market is starting to form, so that this profession can be pursued and become a solid career path. On the other hand, the public should also pay special attention to the visuals of the jersey. Behind the charming jersey, there is a design based on professional design principles.

About the Author

Daud Sihombing

Daud Sihombing has been writing professionally for the past 9 years. This fervent alternative publishing enthusiast prefers his quaint little town over the hustle and bustle of the city and doesn't let sleep stop him from watching every single AS Roma match.