This project was one that I was most excited for, but also the most anxious about. I was given a lot of freedom on the design I chose, and the only requirements I had were to understand and utilize good t-shirt design, to be creative, and to print my design on an actual piece of clothing using 5 total colors. This made me both excited and stressed, because the possibilities were endless.
After a long week of sketching, designing, scrapping everything, sketching again, and designing again, I can say that I have created a clothing design that I am proud of. Here is what that entailed:
Sketching Round 1:
I went into this project knowing that whatever I made I had to like enough to actually want to wear on my body. This was a challenge for me, because I am constantly finding things I can improve on in my designs. I decided to choose a topic that I, and many others around me, enjoy: The Office, a popular American television series that ran on the NBC from 2005 – 2013 and is now on Netflix. The Office is one of my all time favorite television shows, so I knew that whatever I designed would hold value to me.
I knew that I would have to keep the design simple yet recognizable in order to fulfill the 5 color requirement, so I started sketching some ideas.
Sketching Round 2:
After my initial round of sketches, I got some feedback from friends, colleagues, and family members, and picked a more focused idea: Schrute farms, a famous location from the television show. My initial idea was to create a vacation t-shirt that one would receive had they actually gone to Schrute Farms. Something along the lines of “I enjoyed my stay at Schrute Farms.” However, I was having trouble coming up with a design for this that hadn’t already been done or tried before, so I went back to the drawing board and did another round of sketching.
After this round of sketching, I felt much more confident and had a better sense of what my design should look like. I decided to simplify my original idea and instead of displaying Schrute Farms as a whole, I would focus on the main thing Schrute farms has to offer- beets. Schrute Farms beets are a running joke within the television show, so I knew that my design would be recognizable and fit the purpose I wanted it to.
After my second round of sketches, I took my ideas to Adobe Illustrator and worked on the design. I ended up with a design completely different than my very first set of designs, and was happy with the way it was turning out.
I ended up with 3 variations of the design and, after receiving feedback, decided on the design on the very right. After some feedback on how to improve the design, I made some small changes, add more detail, and took my final designs to the print shop.
The Final Design and Printing Process:
With my final design in hand, I took it to the print shop. After talking with the guy who worked there and showing him what I wanted, he suggested I stay and allowed me to help him with the printing process. This was probably my favorite part of the project. I was able to see the direct to garment process from start to finish, and was even able to load the printer and set the printer settings with the employee’s instruction.
In the end, I am proud of the design I created, and was grateful to be able to be apart of the design process from start to finish. I learned a lot about the different printing methods, and what it takes to make a good t-shirt design. This was one of the first times I’ve been able to see a physical end product like a t-shirt of something I designed, and I enjoyed being able to problem solve and work my way through it.