Archive for the ‘designs’ Category

My process

Friday, April 15th, 2011

So a few days back I was on the bus, riding around town. I noticed all these caution signs on the side of the road and thought it might be interesting to throw them all together as a design. You could have your standard ones like “falling rocks” and “curvy road” but then you could do some ridiculous ones, too, like dinosaurs and aliens and such. This time, before I started I decided to catalog my process.

The first step for me is always research, usually poking around the web for images that help refine the idea in my head. Since this design was more or less reconstructing something that’s already been done, I didn’t have to look far. Google images gave me a multitude of examples to reference.

The next step was to get the sign shapes just right. I use Flash for this. I’m not sure that many other designers use this as their preliminary tool, but I find it much more straightforward than the other popular programs (so long as it doesn’t involve drawing freehand). I saved the sign shape as a symbol so that any changes made thereafter would be universal, just in case I changed my mind about the color or shape later on. Individually editing several dozen shapes is a pain. I’ve done it!

One of the problems I perceived with this design was repetition. Even though the sign images would be different, the basic shape and color of each sign would be identical, so I decided to opt for several different styles and mix them together. Another advantage would be that it would provide differently-shaped canvases that I could choose from depending on the inner image. A triangle can be be a restrictive space for design sometimes.

Next came the fun part. Working from a list that I’d jotted down in my sketchbook, I put together the images for the warning signs. Because they would appear so small in the final design I had some leeway with details, but overall they look as good closeup as they do far away.

It was at this point that I started worrying about the originality of the design. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that someone else had problably done the same thing (and maybe better). What could I do to push this concept a bit further?

I went to the kitchen and made myself a sandwhich. My roommate and I talked about the movie Cloverfield. He hated it, I loved it. As I was being derided for my taste in cinema, I began to think of what JJ Abrams had said in an interview. He explained that the premise behind the movie was simple – it was Godzilla for America.

I began thinking about how monsters are regional – Loch Ness in Scotland, for example, Godzilla in Japan, etc. That’s when it hit me – this design would be so much cooler if it was actually an infograph of all the hazards around the world (real and imagined). Re-enthused by my idea and my sandwhich (it was delicious), I returned to my laptop and began charting out where everything ought to go.

Conveniently, I already had designed a map of the world for a personal project from last year (I was working on designing a RISK-style game, which will explain why some countries are missing above). Now it was a matter of filling in the blanks and figuring out what signs ought to go where.

Since I didn’t want to reuse any signs, I had to come up with new ideas for a lot of places, and consider movie and song references that might help. (For example, the broken heart by California is a nod to Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”) For some places, it was tough. Like Canada. Even Google couldn’t come up with too many Canadian hazards. It was at this point that I entertained the idea of naming the design “Let’s Move to Canada”, but I’d already settled on “Everywhere Sucks”, and the mood seemed to fit that name nicely.

Once all the signs were done, I went into photoshop for the finishing touches. I distressed the map to give it a bit more pessimism and mocked it on a shirt. I also put together a little emblem and copy to go along with the design as a “badge”. It should be up for voting on Threadless tomorrow.


UPC all gone!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Well as you may have noticed, over the weekend I sold out of my first tee ever: UPC! Crazy. It’s the 2nd most-viewed shirt on my site which is so weird to me. I really never thought it was all that spectacular, and as other designers have eagerly pointed out, it’s been done before. So do I reprint it? Hm. On the one hand I’ve gotten at least half a dozen emails asking me to do it, but on the other hand I want to get new stuff in the store…

Help me out guys! To reprint or no? Another thing to consider is that I’ve got 2 more white tees in the queue, and one that’s black on white just like this. I just don’t know if it’s a good idea to take a step back like this, even if it’s a seller…


Monday, March 3rd, 2008

They’re here! Linty Fresh belts! This was just a test run to see how they sell, so I’ve only made 5 in each style (and I’m snagging the Smile one for myself I think!)… So uh, get one!

Smile! Canvas Belt

Woodie Canvas Belt!

Fantastic Rabbit Canvas Belt

Sally the Pirate Canvas Belt

Hans the Monkey Canvas Belt

March 1st goodies!

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

See! I kept my word!

This one turned out specTACular. The colors are a perfect match and I’m just nuts about my new custom tags printed on the inside! Anyhoo, this design is on sale now at Linty Fresh and I’ve even got a discount code for you guys: “SOFRESH”. If you use it now you’ll get 10% off your order, but every day it’ll go up by 1% more. I’m not gonna say when I’m deactivating it, so either buy now and get a guaranteed 10% or wait a little bit and see what happens… ;D

Oh, and my board worked great! Despite the breaking it in pretty rough with bails, ice, tree-crashes, and other wear-and-tear, it looks fantastic. And the slopes were great, too. One of the employees there told us it was one of their best days there at Cataloochee. We had a blast!

March 1st!

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

So in keeping with my goal to release new goods on the 1st of every month, the beginning of March will bring a new tee, “Fish, Etc.” and some other goods. The new tee design looks like this:

Fish Etc.

It’ll be the same colorway for guys and girls on chocolate American Apparel jersey tees, as always. This design is actually pretty old – a couple of years now. I submitted an earlier version of it to Threadless (which never won) and a second altered version (which lost as well). But both submissions scored highly and I received a lot of helpful feedback. The problem with the initial concept was that the objects weren’t arranged in this shape – it was just all in a giant circle, which was pretty boring. The second version introduced the whale shape but it wasn’t clear enough (in fact, most people thought it looked like a brain…).

Still, about half a year ago I got an email from a tshirt company asking to buy the design (version 2). I turned them down though, knowing that I wanted to release it myself. So here we are, in 2008, and it’s finally getting printed! It’s always exciting to see ideas go from paper to digital form to printed tee. It’s a long and sometimes grueling process of sizing, color matching, and close communication with the printers, but in the end, when I see folks buying the tees and sporting them around proudly, it’s totally worth it!

Now, as for the “other goods” mentioned… Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. I imagined I’ve established a bit of a reputation for starting things without finishing them, so I’m gonna keep my mouth shut until they’re in stock and ready to sell… But I will say that from the designs that have been submitted, I’m very excited with how it’s turning out! :P

New shirts on their way in…

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Well last week I put in the order for a new print… Well, technically it’s pretty old… I designed it almost two years ago as a threadless submission. It scored moderately but some suggestions were made for revising it, so I did, and resubmitted it. Again, just moderate. So I changed it one last time and instead of submitting it yet again I kept it in a file never to be seen again… Until now!

(I know this post is pretty lame without a picture of the design – I’ll upload one when I get a chance)

In other news, the new shirt is selling pretty quick (especially in girls’ sizes). So if you’ve been waiting, you may want to pick one up soon. Also, I’m in the early stages of getting things together for a mobile shop. I think I’ve mentioned this idea here before, but basically I want to deck out a minivan with decals and logos and throw in some shelves stocked with tees. Then I’ll cruise around Atlanta and see if anyone’s interested in making a street side purchase! It should be quite an adventure, and one I plan to go on again if it’s successful.

Anyhow, that’s all for now.

They’re here!

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Dude, guys, gals. It’s so totally stocked. And looking rather awesome. Custom tags are SIIIIIICK!

I’ve got the feeling these are gonna go pretty darn quick…

Oh snap, Jungle Book reference!

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Tee of the day!

Holy bajera this has been a sweet week! My Epic tee won Tee of the Day yesterday on Emptees and this morning in my inbox I had 3 cool emails: two were from apparel companies emailing me about some possible contract work. One’s a Georgia motocross clothing line and the other is some NY-based thingy so that’s cool beans! The third email (and probably the one I’m most excited about) was from, a trendspotting/consumer reports type site that will be featuring me on their homepage tomorrow!

I asked how they found me and they responded: “We were looking.” Ok then.

So ’08 is starting off on a good foot I’d say! And I plan on really kicking things into high gear. I’ve got the next designs off to the printers as of this afternoon and once that comes in I’m going to load up my mom’s van and camp out in some parking lots that get concert traffic. I always spot kids in threadless and the like, so I’m hoping they’ll have it in them to support their local underdog. ;)

Anyhow, I’ve been getting lots of great advice from the other merchants and designers on Emptees and have even set up a trade with the guys that run Seibei and Carraway. I think that’s been one of the coolest parts of running LF: networking. It’s so inspiring to hear the stories of these small-time designers that found their niche, started a little following, and ended up making a living out of it.

See, I don’t see myself as a fine artist by any means – I know I abandoned that path long ago by dropping out of my art major. But honestly, it wouldn’t have suited me. Working for days or weeks on a single piece… ack. I’m way too impatient for that kind of long-haul discipline. But the process of being a small-time merchant/designer is so satisfying to me. The design aspect is awesome because I’m not answering to anyone but myself. No clients to make senseless comments and inconsistent decisions, no deadlines, no set standard of colors or styles. It’s just whatever I feel like. And then the actual vending is super rewarding too. It’s not the monetary thing at all really. Honestly, my profits this year are so low because of all my dead end LF projects, but still, it was a blast for me. Every time I get an order it’s like the coolest thing – the fact that someone is willing to part with their hard earned cash for a chance to sport one of my designs is just the coolest thing to me.

Well that was quite a rant. So to contrast with all this upbeat crap, I have to announce some sad news – I totally ruined my Ponys tonight! I wasn’t happy with the markers so I painted over them with acrylics. That was stupid because acrylics are basically liquid plastic, so once they dry, they only stick to things that soak them up. And my shoes didn’t. So it’s all peely and ugly now. My final plan is to spray paint them, but that could be even more disastrous. And this was totally a business write off, so there goes $25 in profits for ’08… Lol.

I need to be more like corporate cat.

Consolation for finished sale

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Sailors added in the mix

These were made entirely in-house, from the initial design to the cutting of the paper to the pressing of the buttons to the packaging. And I gotta say, I’m pretty happy with these little fellas. There’s something especially fresh about them. Anywho, you can get them on the site for just 3$ (for a 4-pack).

The sale is finally over, though. I let it go for a week longer than I’d planned because it was really moving some of the older designs. I’ve said it before, but it never ceases to intrigue me that designs seem to sell much better once a newer one comes out. I don’t understand how it works at all, but that seems to be the trend with every new batch… Huh.

Paper ToyOn a slightly different note, here’s a preview of a little project I’m working on that may be available for purchase soon on Linty Fresh. It’s a toy made out of paper (110 lb) and designed after one of the sailor buttons. This was largely experimental since I’d never done anything like it before, but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, minus a few details that I plan to work out. Anyway, more on that later.

Speaking of side projects, if you’re wondering what happened to the other toys, well… unfortunately I scrapped that project. It had been ages since I’d worked with polymer clay and my skills (and the materials) just weren’t up to the task of the clean lines and sharp angles needed in the design. It sucks, but I’m constantly learning stuff with this little venture of mine, so I’m not too bummed about it. Ideally, one day I’ll get a factory to do a little line of full fledged vinyl toys with my designs. That would be entirely too awesome. For now though, I’m sticking to the small stuff. ;)


Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I never know what to call these things, but take a look at the pics and you should get the idea pretty well…

LF buttons - (monkey set, pin 1)LF buttons - (monkey set, pin 3)
LF buttons - (monkey set, pin 2)LF buttons - (monkey set, pin 4)

These will hopefully drop at the end of this week but more than likely it’ll be the week after; I still have to order the mylar plastic sleeves for packaging and then mini tyvek packages to ship them in. The buttons will be 1.25″ and will be pinned to dryer sheets cut to match the size of the sleeves, so they won’t slip around in transit. I’m probably also going to make up some generic LF ones to ship as freebies with orders. It’s nice to have something small like this in between prints.

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