If esports has taken anything from traditional sports, it’s that fans love to represent their favorite teams. The color and design of a jersey is often a big task for any team, and fans will tell them if they don’t like their designs.
One team that has rarely dealt with negative feedback on their designs is FlyQuest. Their designs have been a breath of fresh air among esports teams, who often rock bold colors such as red, black or yellow. Their latest jerseys, which are pink and feature cherry blossoms, are just the most recent example of the ground-breaking designs.
FlyQuest breaks the mold
Phien Le, the designer behind every graphic you see at FlyQuest, has taken a different approach to jersey design.
“There is something missing, something that we should do that really fits with our brand,” Le told Nerd Street. “So with the Go Green initiative and also realizing our brand is very wholesome and very soft tones and light color schemes and everything, we thought it would just be the best fit of mixing everything together. … We wanted to go with softer tones, so that’s why we did watercolor.”
Read more: All the new LCS team jerseys for 2022
The FlyQuest Go Green initiative, which aims to promote sustainability and protect the environment, started in spring 2020, with an announcement post littered with watercolor flowers and soft designs. Following that post was a photo of the newest design, which featured the wood violet, the state flower of FlyQuest’s home state of Wisconsin.
The design featured the purple flower on the lower half of the jersey in a water color style. The reaction to the first design after the Go Green initiative launched was positive, and even the official League of Legends account commented that the North American teams were beating European teams in “cuteness levels.”
Who is behind FlyQuest’s jersey designs?
Le graduated from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design in 2017 and had a double major in marketing and art history. She played video games since she was about 10 years old and knew that she wanted to work somewhere within the gaming industry, but she didn’t know until she went to college that she wanted her career to be in design.
Growing up in Glendale, California, Le says her love of video games started because of her brother and her cousin, but she didn’t get a PC until she was in middle school.
“My first game was actually Counter-Strike,” Le said. “In high school, I started playing Call of Duty, and then I played Overwatch and Left 4 Dead, and then it wasn’t until I would say recently that my main games would be VALORANT and Apex.”
In middle school and high school, Le spent her time gaming, and also loved to play football. In fact, before COVID-19 hit, she still played pick-up football games every weekend.
After college, Le worked for a wide variety of companies before she landed at FlyQuest. She was gaining experience in the field, learning watercolor painting, hand lettering, package design and more.
Although she spent some time in different industries, Le’s goal always was to end up in the gaming industry.
“I actually catered my portfolio to all gaming-related things, but with different skill sets. But during that time, while I was applying for positions for different gaming industries, I still wanted to gain as much experience as possible,” Le said.
Then, in 2018, a friend reached out to her with a job opportunity for Bento, which is a multifaceted creative design agency that works within the live streaming, esports and broadcasting industry.
Her first client at Bento was FlyQuest. They had just announced their first rebrand, and Le helped them with social banners and graphics for their upcoming League Championship Series (LCS) split. A couple months later, she was applying to a full-time position at FlyQuest and landed the job.
The inspiration behind FlyQuest’s unique designs
Photo credit: Riot Games
The biggest inspiration for Le’s designs at FlyQuest has been the Go Green initiative. The Go Green initiative has led FlyQuest to raise money to plant trees and save coral reefs among other environmental causes. FlyQuest CEO Tricia Sugita was the one who brought up the idea of using nature and the Go Green initiative as the inspiration for the rebrand.
“[Tricia] was the one who suggested that we should actually go on the softer tone, and she actually knew that I like to watercolor and to hand letter and use that soft touch of the mixed media and InDesign portion of it, and so she actually pushed me on actually doing that for upcoming brands,” Le said.
Although she was extremely motivated by Sugita’s vision for the brand, Le initially felt out of her comfort zone, since it was completely different from what is typically seen in esports.
“You wouldn't expect to see watercolor floral on a jersey, you know, but just seeing how we wanted to become more of an esports team and just branch out with new ideas but also represent our vision and our purpose, I thought it would be like a great opportunity to do so,” Le said.
Since the original design with the wood violet, FlyQuest has come up with many designs that fans have loved, including the 2020 Worlds jersey that featured a dragon on the front, the 2021 spring bee-inspired jerseys, or the summer 2020 jersey featuring a cute turtle behind the logo.
FlyQuest continues to bring unique designs to their esports fans to this day, and most recently launched the 2022 Sakura FlyQuest jersey, which features Japanese sakura flowers on the bottom half of the jersey, with some flower detail on the logo as well.
As time goes on, more and more people are noticing that Le is the designer behind all of the jerseys, and fans have tagged her on Twitter to express their positive feedback. What some folks might not know is that Le also streams on Twitch.
With Le’s innovative designs, and FlyQuest’s Go Green initiative continuing to be the basis for the design themes, FlyQuest fans are in for a treat every time a new jersey comes out.
Lead image credit: FlyQuest