WHO ARE YA? (The Mighty) John Devlin, author & illustrator of the True Colours books


(The Mighty) John Devlin

1) Who are ya?

John Devlin, 44, author and illustrator of the True Colours football kit history books and truecoloursfootballkits.com website.

2) Who do you support?

Main club side: Liverpool  Local side: Southend United  Football love: Scotland

3) What was your first game?

I think it was a 2-0 win for Southend Utd against Darlington in 1978. But I may be wrong.

4) What do you do for a job?

I own a graphic design company, The Design Practice, based in Maidstone, Kent. We design brochures, logos, websites, stationery, posters, packaging, signage etc. This takes up a vast amount of my time these days. I also contribute football kit related articles/illustrations for various football magazines/club programmes.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Apart from contributing to various club programmes and websites (inc Man City, Aston Villa, Derby, Oldham, QPR, Coventry, Leeds United, Sunderland, Scotland, Charlton Athletic, West Ham, Hull City) no.

6) How did you get into it?

Football kits? Originally inspired by the Observer Book of Football in the late 70s that included a colour plate section of football kits. I loved seeing the designs/colours displayed in such a way. Years later a major part of my final graphic design degree was a large project on football kit history/design (2001). This was the start of True Colours.

7) What do you get out of it?

Football kits? Immense satisfaction when tracing a club’s kit history, especially locating rare away/third kits in the pages of dusty old programmes. The response and comments I’ve had from readers of the books, visitors to the site and people within the sportswear design world also make it very worthwhile.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Find time to keep blogging, writing and researching. And don’t expect to be paid much.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I’d probably have taken up the offer from my then publishers to produce an International version of True Colours. At the time I didn’t think I could have done it justice given the amount of work it would have required. Now, years later, I think there is enough material available online and a lot of people I have made contact with that could have helped me make a good job of it. Also wish I’d had more time to work on various kit projects and raise my profile in that field again. Finally made more of a push to try and get employment within football kit design. So many regrets!!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

As a Liverpool and Scotland fan whose family north of the border are big Celtic fans there can be only one: Kenny Dalglish.

Many thanks, John.

If you’ve yet to buy one or other of the True Colours books, and shame on you if you are, then you can get them from all decent book shops, auction sites and Amazon – although True Colours 1 seems to be unavailable.