Designer Cenk Ünal opens up about his design process

Recently we revealed the final concept kits in Residency. But we’re not done just yet. We have more content to bring you in the coming days, starting with this interview with the main man himself Cenk Ünal.

We spoke to Cenk about the sorts of things he draws on for inspiration when creating kits, and asked him to give us a sneak peak at his design process.

Q: Why did you start designing football shirts?

A: I used to draw a lot when I was a child and the majority of the time I was drawing football players. One day I realised drawing the shirt was the best part of it since I could use my creativity.

Furthermore, I’m a Beşiktaş fan and used to think we have to wear better shirts then the current ones. I then started to design football shirts.

Q: What was the first shirt you designed?

A: I’m not sure what my first design was but I remember this Manchester City kit is one of my first designs from 2014.

Q: What is your favourite design?

A: To be honest I don’t have a favorite one but If I have to say the one I would say this Italy kit is my favorite.

Q: What inspires you?

A: Actually everything inspires me, it can be food, a church, or a pair of shoes. When I’m designing a shirt I really like to use architectural elements and patterns from retro shirts.

In the end, if something comes to my mind such as a colour or detail when I see something that’s enough for me.

Q: How long does each design take you?

A: It depends on the idea. If there is something specific in my mind it takes around 1-3 hours. On the other hand, sometimes I finish a design but I don’t like it at all, one week later I change things on the shirt and complete the design. For example, for that Italy shirt that I mentioned there are 4 different versions of this shirt. I only post designs if I’m happy with them.

Q: What process do you go through?

A: First I decide what is the key thing about the inspiration, it can be a pattern, colour, logo, etc. After I decide, I start to complete the design around this key thing, working on things like the details of the shirt, the collar, sewing, etc.

Q: Can you share a photo of your design set up?

A: I’m using my laptop and if I’m drawing something with details I use my second monitor for it. The set up is nothing special to be honest.

Q: Can you share some photos of your draft designs?

A: I couldn’t find my first sketches but some of these are pretty old. During quarantine, I started to draw again. 

Thanks a lot to Cenk for sharing more with us. Be sure to check out all of his 24 designs from Residency, and follow us on Twitter and Insta to hear our exciting news about the series first…

Phil Delves

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