August 05 2020 – Mitchell Grimes
This week we caught up with football creative Mark Johnson to chat about his work with Umbro, meeting Eric Cantona, and a couple of his favourite kits.
Hey Mark! Thanks so much for chatting with us! Firstly are you able to talk a bit about yourself and your work?
Hey! Thanks for reaching out!
I am a Graphic Designer / Illustrator based in England. By day I am a Creative Artworker at Umbro, and in my spare time I doodle, create and collaborate with people all over the world. I have worked with the likes of the National Football Museum, BBC MOTD Magazine, Olympique de Marseille and BT Sport.
I would say my signature style is using paper rips within my work which helps me introduce other shirts from different years into the design. I am always experimenting with different styles to widen my portfolio.
Can you tell us about your background in football and how you became involved in the industry?
Growing up, if there was football on the TV I would be watching it! When I wasn’t watching football I would be playing down the park with my mates. As a young player I progressed to academy level with Stoke City, where I played for five years, but unfortunately I didn’t make the final cut. So what’s the next best thing to do if you can't be a professional player? Design for companies, players and football clubs around the world. I have always loved to draw players or boots, it’s a big passion of mine.
Building my audience on social media and collaborating with some great clients and photographers has helped massively with getting noticed and my foot in the door at Umbro. Creating personal projects and posting regularly really helps to build your audience. It also helps to develop your own style to separate you from everyone else.
Are you able to run through some of your favourite projects with us?
My stand out favourite would have to be collaborating with Bloodin Bloodout from Amsterdam. From creating a personal project of mashing up shirt numbers in print, to then turning one of them into an actual football shirt. To top it off Classic Football Shirts owner’s Matt and Dougie travelled to Norway to attend an event with Eric Cantona, they took my shirt with them and got it signed by the man himself!
What can we expect from you in the future? Anything you’re working on at the moment that we can look forward to?
Bigger and better projects. I do have some great projects in the mix but Covid-19 has put them on hold at the moment but I am excited for them to go live!
Which Kit have you chosen for your MY KIT?
It’s so hard to pick just one kit!!
Gremio 2019-2020 third shirt - This kit is part of a special collection of Umbro third kits which they launched for all their Brazilian sponsored teams last year. Called the Canal 95 campaign, all these kits featured 90’s inspired patterns.
What is it about this kit that connects with you?
The 90’s Umbro patterns have inspired me throughout my design career and coming up with ideas for my personal projects. I have always loved the teams that have been more adventurous when designing their shirts.
Favourite KIT I own based on memories?
Juventus 01-02 home
Which player/s immediately comes to mind when you look at the kit?
Del Piero, Davids, Thuram, Nedved & Trezeguet
Favourite Footballing Memory In this Kit?
Unfortunately the kit doesn’t fit me now but I got a lot of wear out of it down the park with my mates and when I used to watch Football Italia on a Saturday morning hosted by James Richardson. Those were the days!
Thanks Mark! To Shop our range or retro kits click here