Case Study: Empirical Designs x Legendary Apparel Streetwear

Every so often, Empirical Designs will release a piece of artwork inspired by a randomly selected prompt from a special deck of cards called the ”Oblique Strategies”. The method will serve as a tool that assists us to push the boundaries of the designs we create, by forcing ourselves to think outside the box for solutions and inspiration. This week’s prompt is titled "Use An Unacceptable Color".

This entry gives you a behind the scenes look into our collaboration with streetwear company Legendary Apparel.

Legendary Apparel is a clothing brand based out of my hometown of Staten Island, New York. Their goal is to create streetwear with a bold meaning and a higher purpose. They tout, Legendary isn't just a name - its a movement.

This week I drew a card with an unusual phrase, "Use An Unacceptable Color". I decided to go through my design work over the last year or so and to see what colors might be absent. And to the surprise of no one, I discovered that I really enjoy using old reliables like Black, White, Red, and Navy.

But of all the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, the ones that showed up least frequently in my work were yellow and purple. Being complimentary colors, I set out to combined them in a t-shirt design in collaboration with Legendary Apparel for their spring line of clothing.

We decided to use a design concept that's been on the back burner for a while. Since 1971, to be exact.

Before the Seahawks came to Seattle, there was a large push to bring professional football to the Northwest US. The proposed team name was the Seattle Kings, and they even created memorabilia to get football fans in Washington excited about their bid to bring an NFL team the area. My biggest inspiration for bringing this long lost team back to life was this article from David Eskenazi and Steve Rudman. If you're interested in the history of football in the Northwest, and how the Seattle Seahawks were almost the "Seattle Kings" or the "Seattle Sea Lions", please give it a read.


Legends 01.png

The crown is already a big focal point in the Legendary Apparel brand. We've done many iterations of the crown for different apparel designs. This time, we wanted to take the original look of that Seattle Kings logo concept and morph it into something new. We took the style of a vintage football helmet logo, in the vein of the Cleveland Browns and combined it with the old crown. We found images of helmet prototypes of the Kings, and colored in the design accordingly. I was able to get a close match on the typeface, to bring the same retro look as the original concepts.

We took the feel of worn and cracked 1970s plastisol inks, and incorporated the weathering into the shirt design. Leaving behind something simultaneously old and new, that uses those "unacceptable colors" we committed to.

Legendary Kings Helmet.jpg
Legendary Kings Crest.jpg

This t-shirt will be available for purchase at Legendary Apparel's web store in the coming weeks.

Check out their website and pick up fresh tees, hats, hockey jerseys, and much more.


The “OS” Series designs are handcrafted, one-of-a-kind works, and will be available for purchase on a first come, first serve basis. For pricing and more information, contact us here.