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Creating a decent Tabard

June 23, 2010
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A problem posed to every aspiring Guild leader and perhaps its Officers. With the arrival of the news about the updated changes to the guild system in Cataclysm, chiefly that you will be able to Purchase mounts, tabards and heirlooms emblazoned with your Guild logo and colours. This is a nice change for all those Guilds out there that take pride in wearing their tabards to every Guild event and feel like it identifies them better than a simple extra line of text above their heads. Now that guild pride will be able to be shown in multiple ways, Guilds should really make sure their tabard is what they want it to be.

For instance, when I joined my current guild, I was still wearing the Guild Tabard from my last one. It updated, as it automatically does. I went ‘eew,’ and de-equipped it. It wasn’t so much that the design was off, it had just been put together by someone with no regard for good colours. It was a dirty dark yellow on a black background, and in most Northrend environments, that yellow turned a sickly green. It wasn’t until I heard this news that I approached our guild forum’s officer section with a proposed update to the tabard, to swap the dirty yellow for shiny gold. Our illustrious leader was happy to do it, and I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about it since. It was, as Rydia put it, ‘Like Zal had just brought them back from the cleaners.’

You can see what it now looks like on Zal to your top-left. I wear it with all my sets now, happily. Guild pride for the win.

One of my favourite tabards from a past guild was my friends and family guild <Frogs of War> back on the Horde side. The guild leader was a Star Trek fan, and when I approached him on what the tabard might be (design wise) he came back with a Star trek uniform colouring that worked well. Again, the use of Gold really brought the design to life, alongside the royal looking red. (Purple and gold also makes for a good royal look, as does Purple and Silver.) I will remember that Tabard as a symbol of the guild and all the fun behind it.

Yet another example is our tabard on our Crashed Realm characters. We created a guild, chose a name, picked a tabard. Seeing as we were all in the DK starting zone gear with little chance of ever moving far on, (especially since the problems that caused us to make our Crashed Realm chars seem to have been resolved) we designed the tabard based on the gear we had.

So, (because this was meant to be of some help) here’s my guide to creating a good guild tabard:

  1. Base the design on the name. This can be anything from direct reference (Legion of the Octupus Guild: Tabard has wavy border and octupus icon) to parody/irony (Deathwalkers Guild: Fluffy border, bunny icon)
  2. Borders: In my opinion, the best one is the smooth one, but in some cases, the others work well. For example, the Voodoo Temptations tabard we made had a fur trim to it, which matched our DK gear well. If your guild is something like ‘The Walking Dead’ and your icon is a skull, go full out and use the bones border.
  3. Colouring: Now I can’t expect everyone to have the same artistic standards or caring for colours as me and my art college friends do. However, here’s a little guide for you, take a moment to absorb it:
  4. This is a nice way to look at things. If you want a properly complicated sheet with every variation and shade, Google ‘Advanced colour wheel’ and look for yourself. If you’re using two colours, neither of which are anything between and including black and white, you want to be using this. You either use one colour, and the one opposite it, or a colour, and one 90 degrees round from it. There are a few exceptions, but you’ll find out for yourself. If you’re copying a colour scheme, like my friend’s Star Trek homage, you can be pretty sure that you can create something similar with the palette available.

So, that’s my little talk and guide, I hope it helps. I’ll see you all in Cataclysm when I’m riding my own <Flames of the Phoenix> Elekk!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2010 12:41 pm

    Because I’m silly (and because I really don’t like my guild’s current tabard), I’ve been known to sometimes go to the tabard vendor and play around with colors and designs. For upwards of an hour at a time…

    Don’t judge me.

    Anyway, the thing that makes tabard design really difficult in my eyes is the fact that they don’t look consistent across races. Speaking from an Alliance perspective, things that look good on, say, a Human, look stretched wide on a Draenei and stretched tall (often times to the point of being unrecognizable) on a Night Elf. Dwarven beards usually cover any tabard you’d put on, rendering it moot point. I’ve never tested on a Gnome because I’ve never rolled one…but I’m sure there’s a size issue to consider there, as well.

    I realize this is a result of trying to generalize a tabard model across the character models of 10 different races (soon to be 12). And I’m not sure there’s no easy solution for this problem, if there is a good one at all. But it’s frustrating when you look at your character and think “that should look good, but it doesn’t.”

    • Zal permalink*
      June 23, 2010 12:47 pm

      Yeah, I know what you mean. Gnomes beards can cover tabards just as badly as Dwarves 😛 Tabards are hard things to get right, I guess you just have to go with what looks good in the designer and hope you don’t recruit too many lumpy characters!

  2. Lazaros of Llane permalink
    June 29, 2010 5:11 pm

    I’ve found that contrasting colors tends to work best in WoW. As you show in your images above, one dark and one light tend to make the most impact.

    I also fully agree with the interesting variables in tabard design depending on race and sex. I really don’t know how the Horde do it some days.


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