Design Tips 101 - Choosing a new netball dress design

Have you recently become Uniform Coordinator at your Club and now have to come up with a new dress design?  Or maybe you’re an old hand on the committee but everyone wants a design revamp, and its your job?  

Choosing designs can be a challenging task especially when you’re managing lots of different opinions.  We’ve put together a list of tips to help your decision and reduce stress! 

Remember, ultimately design is a subjective process.  We see lots and lots of patterns, colours and design combinations and tastes.  Choosing a Club design has lots of practical considerations as well as aesthetic considerations.  There is no 100% right or wrong answer and it is impossible to please everyone! 

Key Points:

  • Colours: Most colours can be made to look great, but avoid light colours in important places (underarms, necklines and the lower part of the dress)
  • Get a clear brief: from the Committee before you start searching.  Sometimes there’s only appetite for a very minor change so you’ll save your self lots of headaches finding this out early.
  • Bibs: remember that bibs take up quite a bit of available design space, especially on smaller sizes.  Bib-friendly designs are easy, just build it into your planning.
  • From big to small: a 6-year old girl’s dress is much much smaller than a Ladies size 22.  Your design should work equally well for both sizes.  Ask your supplier to help with this. 

All Colours of the Rainbow 

Your dress colours will usually be pre-determined  by your Club’s colours (usually in the logo). On face value, sometimes these colours might seem like a challenging combination (e.g. red and purple) but subtle design techniques and the introduction of a neutral third colour (e.g. white) can make most combinations look great. 

Do avoid white or pale colours around the arm holes and neckline if possible. Also lots of the girls do end up sitting on bitumen in their dresses, so avoiding light colours on the back lower part of the dress can be a wise choice too (e.g. can be worse for wear when girls are sitting on the bitumen).  

A Design Brief

Netball dress designs tend to be relatively conservative and follow traditional structures.  Part of this is history, and partly its the middle of the dress is obstructed by bib patches.  If you’re looking to take some new design concepts to your Committee, ideally you can get a brief from them before doing too much work. 

Start with the current design e.g. what do they like and not like? What do they want to change and / or keep?  Is a minor change all they’re looking for, or could you go for something very different. 

Once you have some pointers, coming up with 2 -3 different options is a good start.  These are conversation starters more than anything else. 

It can be worthwhile letting the committee know that you’re trying to narrow down the options, rather than being tied to a particular design. 

The internet is usually a great place to find different dress designs.  Many teamwear suppliers advertise their templates on their websites. But going to Instagram is often a good way of finding some more original design ideas.

Your overall design should also consider other parts of the dress, especially bib placement, club logos, personalisation (names or other text on the back), and if you are having side panels. 

All Shapes and Sizes

Most clubs have teams across all age groups, which means uniforms will come in the very smallest sizes (C6) to the larger ladies sizes (L22 and above). 

We think the best looking designs scale their patterns across all dress sizes, so you C6 dresses are basically identical to the L22s.  That means the designs are not cut off at the top, bottom or sides for smaller sizes.  Your teamwear supplier should cover this off with you as part of approving the final artwork.  Be sure to ask that the pattern will be scaled for all sizes

You should also be able to request extra length on dresses (for part or all of your order, Gorilla Sports offer this service at no extra cost).  If you have some dresses with extra length, make sure the design can accommodate this. 

Is it Your Design?

Who “owns” your design is important if you decide to change suppliers.  If the Club owns the design e.g. the club created the concept, then you should have no problem transferring to another supplier and using the same design. 

If you have used a standard template from supplier, they will own it.  This will mean you’ll need to make some minor changes (or start with a completely new look) if you decide to move to a new supplier. 

Chat to your current or new dress supplier to be clear about this upfront.  It will avoid hassle down the track. 

Still struggling? 

Give us a call with any questions.  We are happy to help even if you are getting your dresses from another supplier.  It usually takes no time to clear up design questions and we are happy to share our knowledge! 

About Gorilla Sports

We are a teamwear business that loves Netball!  We supply clubs across Australia with dresses, bike shorts, singlets, polo shirts, jackets and more.  Most importantly, we are an Australian owned business that supports community sporting organisations.  Contact us today for a chat about your Club!


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