I need advice

Hi guys, I’m from Mexico, I speak little English. I am new to designing shoes, I like to design shoes for basketball and athletics. I have sent proposals to Under Armour, but have not received responses. I wonder whether it is ethically acceptable to use the designs that I have shown to Under Armour and try to present them to other brands or make them public in portfolios. I have no idea of ​​how the shoe design business, I would like to know how to submit designs, because I can not leave Mexico, Can you work as a freelancer? How do you sell the designs? How much do they cost? How is copyright protection?

I thank you in advance for your advice, and greetings from Mexico.

I learned on my own using Photoshop, and experimenting I realized that a pencil sketch, but look good, does not guarantee that the final design is just as good. Conversely, a good design also finished, and even a physical prototype may look good, but in outline, simplifying their lines, might not look as good. I have concluded that it is important to know the design of a shoe in the sketch giving effects, or even draw with volume as close as possible to reality. It is important for me to do designs as realistic as possible, using Photoshop. Currently I can do a final design, with 10, 20 different colors and combinations, textures and backgrounds, in 10 hours. I dont know of professional work, I consider myself a beginner, and my effort of 10 hours to complete a design has given me good results, I think. I think it’s important to do multiple sketches, many, but I think it’s also important to know how the design might look in reality, using drawings with volume. I also think that it is inappropriate to design high quality shoe cough with multiple angles, perspectives, sole, etc … because I think that the time spent on them, it may be time to design it in 3D, and the result is amazing, and more professional.

I’d like to know what you think. I’m wrong?

Greetings Victor,

Can you post some images of your shoe designs so we can provide some constructive criticism and to see where you’re at? This way, we can help point you in the right direction(s).

Its all about having the skills and the drive, then knowing where to channel them both. Plus, a little luck doesn’t hurt either.

The designs presented at Under Armour, included a version of the logo, to strengthen the bond between the consumer and the company, intended to apply to labels and advertising in general. A logo design I added the words “you are”, which is interesting handle advertising. Obviously I do not intend to replace the Under Armour logo is just a variant for advertising.I like to represent concepts in design, and wrap them in a visual environment. This is one of the designs I submitted, and I would like to present to other companies, and even give it away to anyone wishing to make any of my designs. I wonder what alternatives there are, and know how is the shoe design business.

This is a design made with Corel Draw vector, and finished in Photoshop.

Yes, just upload images, what happens is that I want to know what the business. I sent some designs to Under Armour (I think it is the only company that openly soliciting proposals) and I want to know whether it is ethical to present to other companies. I hope you can give me advice. My English is bad, I try to express myself as best I can.

This design was not presented to Under Armour, because now I want to focus on more viable alternative, perhaps smaller companies, I do not know.

To answer your main question, yes it is okay to show these Under Armour designs to another company. Under Armour does not own them, so unless they have requested otherwise, you are free to do what you like with them. It is good to have many different brands in your portfolio, even if it is just your personal work and not paid. This is a good way to show that you are interested in all shoes, not just one brand, and that you understand each for their differences.

As for your prospects, I am not impressed by these renderings. They are good, no question, but they only show me that you like to use Photoshop. No company cares about this part, only you. If you show 20 images of the same shoe it is a waste of time. Interviewers will rather see 20 different shoes done in pencil. They are looking for a big imagination, not intense focus on software. If you are not able to leave Mexico I do not think you have a chance. Telecommuting is fine for much of the time, but travel is essential in footwear design.

I am sorry to be tough, but it is necessary. My advice is to forget shoes and become a digital illustrator. You have good skills with Photoshop, and I think you can be happy doing that without having any shoes involved.

Thank you for your feedback. I understand the need to make many sketches, but my question is: Help on something, the show illustrated designs in Photoshop? Not only present sketches? For example: Present 50 sketches of a concept, and accompanied by the selection of three of the best designs, and work them in Photoshop. And at the end, testing color and make design modifications, including various tests? It works in the shoe design industry?

Well that was my idea of how to make representations of shoes, after the sketches, without the need of 3D and faster. I suppose I have no idea.

The sketches are the first and the most important, but 50 sketches, maybe only 5 are viable and beautiful, and of those 5 you have to choose one, it’s worth the design chosen work in Photoshop, make changes?

I like to spice up the final designs, presenting environments, This helps in something in the shoe design industry? Sorry my english is bad.

you are pretty close in how your understanding of the process, but to partially agree with Robin you need to show that whole process. so show a page or 2 of research, defining the consumer,design brief, competitive set, etc then show a couple pages of sketches with callouts or images as to what is driving your design direction, then maybe a page or 2 talking about materials or construction/function, then after all that has been clearly communicated end the presentation with one or 2 of the renderings you have shown above. that would be a basic outline to follow, it can be tweaked but all those things need to be represented to show your skills to a company as a designer, not just renderings.

Victor don’t worry your English is good and you have good rendering skills. You have learned to have good technical skills, but now you must learn to be more creative.

You are probably not getting a reply from UA because they are very busy and because your designs are very similar to other designs already on the market, so they offer nothing new and interesting to them. You must understand that Under Armour has a large team of experienced designers who offer new designs and solutions every day of the year, if you want to compete with them you have to design something unique and distinct that is rare.

You don’t need to show development sketches (unless you are interviewed), but you always need to show a good story for your design. I suggest you think more about a unique theme for your designs. Under Armour has been using much inspiration from nature recently maybe your story can be an evolution of that, like bio-mechanical structures in architecture for example. Also you should offer a unique design solutions like an interesting lacing system, or construction methods. Consider if the shoe can be more environmentally friendly, or help resolve some social crises.

You can also develop the concept of family in “You Are Under Armour” further so it is expressed also in your footwear design. How can family and unity be expressed in one design or an entire design collection? Maybe its a Pride design for a massive Hispanic consumer population in the USA or International markets. You can explore cultural themes as graphics or 3D features like weaving a shoe like a Huarache, or other influences to help connect Under Armour with other consumers. Watch the video below.

Creative solutions can be found in many design dimensions and not just colour and blocking. Think of as many solutions in as many dimensions as you can, then you can choose the strongest ones and the the right combination for your final design.

As Mexican designer you should not be worried about borders, there are designers at Nike, or Adidas from all over the world, Vietnam, India and New Zealand, probably also Mexico.

With the internet you don’t need to travel to meet the companies, if a company likes your work they will interview and hire you, pay for your visa, pay for temporary accommodation, airline tickets, rental car, its not very complicated because they will organize and pay for everything to help you, because you have a precious talent. But before all this you must be prepared to work hard to improve, face rejection and never give up if you want to be hired by a successful company. Eventually you will succeed, but it depends on how determined you are.

There are many footwear designers now working at Adidas and Nike who became known on internet design competitions such as the KicksGuide Artist Series.


Work hard in life and you will be lucky.

So the point is that you recommend me is also I need to publish the preliminary sketches to the completion of the final design. Obviously without a sketch, you can´t advance to the realization of “fine sketches.” Also an investigation, justification, materials manufacturing, consumer, and other characteristics. Some things I can not do. I can explain in my designs (Visual and written) in an environment, a justification and sometimes I like to add advertising, think of a product already wrapped, packaged, add slogan, close and complete concepts. But I do not know the material and technical specifications, I design instinctively, thinking of a concept and the consumer to whom it is intended. For example, Under Armour recommended me, do minimalist designs for basketball, because it’s the kind of line that they produce, which is why I adapted to the requirements, outlined and fluid designs that are not over-saturated characteristics.

Well, assuming that I now present sketches, select a final design, prepare it for advertising, do different color proofing, transfer it to Photoshop, presented research, specifications and consumer research. What is the next step?

This design was submitted for Under Armour, briefly explained the concept, with pictures and words.

In this poster, the player is in a position to attack, but holding the racket like a sword, or spear, ready to attack prey.

Orion is a design linked to Orion “The Hunter”, in Greek mythology. It is inspired by the wristbands and headbands, used in tennis. A band diagonally traverses the shoe sole in the heel area. That element is the main feature of the concept. I thought about linking the wristbands and headbands as a distinct element of the hunter, to close the whole concept.
Orion is for instinctive athletes, for players who select their moves, for explosive athletes, athletes who are not improvised. Orion is for hunters.

Superwoo, Thank you for your advice. You know, it’s hard to compete, and even more difficult if you do not have a university degree attesting to your capabilities. But although I did not study a career, I like the overall design and advertising, art, clothing, footwear. You know, Under Armour has long operated a line to Basketball which will not change much, ie, remain true to style, this year, for the progress I’ve seen, their prototypes, they will launch a line, which is very similar to the previous one, they say they worked well, so well kept. So, at the suggestion of them, I did some designs similar to the concepts they handle. Under Armour is a brand that strengthens their products with stunning visual proposals with much retouching in Photoshop, is a characteristic of them, and one advantage is that they have a page to receive proposals from the public. That is something that is appreciated in these companies. If. you’re right about the slogan “You are Under Armour” is something I wanted to introduce UA, because I’ve noticed that their products have a narrow doorway to the consumer, perhaps should be more flexible and cover a range of familiar products . This is very evident in UA, I did a design called “Justice” and the slogan is “And Justice for all” That is, everyone deserves the shoes “Justice”, and of course … also deserve “Justice for All”. I wanted to cover an even larger spectrum, adult children, women, and more.

Another topic that interests me:

How to measure the success of a shoe? For sales, acceptance, good reviews?

If a design is purchased by the consumer for which it was designed, is a success?

If a design is accepted by a consumer who was not planned, it is a success?

Or the success of a shoe is based on the threshold covering the consumer, that is, if a shoe is accepted by young, adolescents, adults, women and men, is a success?

Thank you for your feedback.

Victor, don’t worry you don’t need a degree to be creative, draw well and do good design. I know some successful designers with no degree, but with plenty of feeling a passion for their design field, and many people with design degrees and no job.

But you need to offer more than the bare minimum. If you draw products similar to what UA make today there is nothing new and no evolution. Every progressive company is hungry to evolve, you have to help them. Today they use much Photoshop retouching, what about tomorrow, what about in Summer 2014? Photoshop retouching will be old in 2014, so you shouldn’t focus on it too much. Invent, create, guide them to somewhere new. No joke, UA are about to send their Summer 2014 designs to the factory this month, or maybe next, do you think retouching in Photoshop is still their big story? If so how are they bringing it to another level, can you bring retouching in Photoshop to another level, or is it time to look at something new?

You seem a bit resistant to change and you trust your design logic. But you have little experience, my biggest advice to you is that to be constructive you have to be destructive first. To be creative you need to destroy many preconceptions that you have. Be fresh, not old, or middle aged.

So you have good Photoshop skills (but not the best) But you still need to improve your composition, unfortunately the lines on your designs do not express very much. They are disconnected and random. You use bold colours and gloss filters to compensate for your design inexperience. But as they say “you cannot polish a piece of caca”.

I would suggest you trace some existing art, or geometries, maybe choose some parametric designs from Photos - Grasshopper and apply it to the upper this way you can get a better understanding of composition and continuity.

If the “You are Under Armour” slogan you sent UA footwear design is not expressed by a good footwear design it’s worthless to them. And if UA marketing decide to use it why should they hire you if you have no marketing experience and do they have to compensate you?

You seem interested in numbers, measuring success. I suggest you focus on creativity, creating dreams (not just lines and colours) and later designing the best quality product within your budget (and a significant evolution to what is already at retail).

Success is working as hard as you can and doing the right thing, don’t worry about things which are out of your control like how many pairs it sells and who buys it (you are a designer, not a manager).

Thanks for your advice. Well, the reality is that I have no experience at all, but I’m getting better with practice. There is a television commercial that says: a person can have many ideas, but those ideas in the mind are nothing, you have to make them happen. And because I have ideas and I want to expose them, and if I can make money, much better for me. Design is a funny profession, and I love marketing. I would like to know how to expose companies (large and small) visual proposals and advertising I do. What is the best way to propose concepts? How to protect the work to maintain the authorship? A standard price for the designs and proposals?

This is one of the proposals which would submit and be considered for companies large and small. Shoe design is inspired in the herons. The shape of their legs and feet, their way to land. I’ve thought about designing a shoe line with the concept of “landing”. Inspired in animals that requiring landing constantly and have special characteristics different from each other. Also in vehicles, aircraft and landing pads built by man. These representations of shoes, made ​​with different logos. Which of all makes better fits the concep inside brands?

In the design of the adidas brand, the shoe is holding the ball, like a bird’s claw. In the design of Li Ning looks good silhouette of the heron, and the logo appears the wing. In the Nike brand, the logo fits well to create interesting proposals.

Thanks for your comments and time spent.

take it back a few steps,
show the pages where you are illustrating the things that influenced you about the Heron leg/landing sequence. then show some things that would make me believe that the extreme joint/flex are you have created in the forepart area actually (A) is physically possible in the construction of a shoe, and (B) provides any sort of performance benefit in the sport of basketball. what you have shown is the least important part of a project, what you have NOT SHOWN in the most important.

what you have show is a graphic logo study which most shoe companies wont care about, and you talk about the influence from the Heron, and you mention getting your ideas out… for me you have not gotten your idea out at all. All you have done is shown a rendered shoe, really getting your idea out would be showing the inspiration, then the way you translated that inspiration into say 5-10 possible shoe/outsole designs, then looking at how a couple of them would work and perform… then, and only then would i be interested in seeing a polished rendering after you have determined which one would work and look best.

Those things i have mentioned are what separates the better footwear designers from the average ones who just crank out renderings. Right now i can just look at all these renderings and it just comes down to whether or not i like this particular design. Also, its not particularly a good thing that you think that your design can be for any brand and just put the logo in a different spot, that would be like a generic shoe that you would find at Wal Mart, Target, etc. your language should relate in some way to the brand you have chosen, or make up a brand as you have mentioned that is all about the landing aspect.

show more sketching and and research info for your concepts and less renderings, in fact i dont think we need to see any more renderings, its not worth anyones time to try and give feedback from a single rendering when your goal is to become a better “designer” not just a renderer.

Hi, dziner, thanks por the feedback. I want to share the beauty of this concept. Herons, by themselves are beautiful, but the basketball court is preferable rudeness, okay, we merge beauty and toughness. The anatomy of the herons may be a mystery even to science, if I could explain it and apply it to some shoes, for sure I would be sitting today in a leather armchair in a NASA office… The beauty of the herons is similar to the physical qualities of a basketball player, is admirable as being so high, elongated and stylized with a capacity of balance and stability, both can fly, both can land on one foot, that is the concept .

I think the design business is a competition of time, the ideas are there, in nature, we must apply them discover and display, the one to do first is to get the benefits. The aircraft industry is focused on research about pelicans, their ability to fly level with the ocean, the breasts of those birds almost touch the waves, wind resistance and gravity (do not ask “why” because i dont know) and that inspired the scientists to apply to aviation technology. Kind of think about the Herons, can be applied to some extent, that “biological technology” at the service of man, but that’s not my job, because I have no such capacity I will never, mine is to translate dreams into products.

Let’s face it, many brands of shoes that apply special characteristics to shoes, handle that just as marketing. And that is what the business of selling managing products with a “plus”.

Several years ago I thought of applying the essence of the technology of carbon prosthesis for athletes with disabilities, this year it occurred to me that I like to design shoes, did some sketches, but … surprise! The Jordan brand shoes had a line of shoes on the market that inspired in that.

This is a competition to find, and not be afraid to imagine and propose, I think that is the spirit of leading designers.

I’m not a professional, I’m not a designer, I have not got a degree, I have no experience, I have only ideas.

What do you think?

I had the idea to make an animated banner for my project HERON, I think that was creative. Here it is.

This is one of my latest designs.

This project seems interesting, to apply to basketball. Inspired players requiring additional protection, and compression at the ankles, I was thinking light heavyweight players, as were Karl Malone, Barkley, Rodman, but very defensive: Pippen, Payton, Big Ben. Old school. Inspired in constrictor snake, I make the analogy about defensive player that retrieves a divided and contested ball, wrap the ball in his arms to protect it by applying a constriction.