When designing anything, it is important to consider "who" you are designing for. In this particular case of pop-culture/nerd/animal t-shirt designs-I can say that I am honestly designing for myself, that is, t-shirts that I would like to wear.
I like owls [Threadless.com]
I would say this age group is early teenagers, to late twenties. Colour, composition and content are all important and things to consider.
I would say that brighter colours are likely to be acceptable amongst this audience, colours that stand out and attract attention may be exactly what the wearer is after. It is also important to consider what colour the design is and what colour t-shirt it is placed on. For example a mostly black design on a white background wouldn't be suitable for a black t-shirt. Also, some t-shirt colours may aesthetically not compliment the design if it is coloured.
As in positioning on the shirt. Centred or in the middle may send a different message than lower on the shirt or placed in the edge or in a corner.
I personally dislike designs that take up most of the shirt, a large and garish. I prefer simpler, more succinct designs that don't overtly contrast to everything I am wearing. However, from looking through galleries I can see that a lot of designs are placed blatantly large and dominating positions. This means I should consider what other people may like in regards to design placement if I wish to appeal to a wider target audience.
While the content is up to my own tastes, through searching other websites I can determine patterns and themes of subject matter. I have noticed that retro video games, movies, music and comical puns are commonly interested on popular t-shirts. The joke of the t-shirt has to be clever and unique, while still able to be understood and not too obscure.
While I still may like my designs it is important to take a step back and analyse the design like I would if I was going to actually buy the t-shirt. If I can honestly say that I would wear it then I can pursue and further work the design.
Getting a second opinion:
It then be at this point that I would also ask for peer advice and criticism on my work to determine of the design is accessible and works on an artistic and design level.
Threadless is one of the most popular t-shirt websites on the net, and one of my personally favourite sites for purchasing t-shirts. The designs are all unique and quirky, with a range of themes from animals, music, humor, typography and more. Threadless is a community based system, where designs can be uploaded by anyone and they are "scored" by the public. Designs that are most popular are turned into t-shirts and the designer receives money, merchandise and further money if the design is re-printed. The site has its own blog that has interviews with artists and competitions, this self advertising.
I picked some designs that I feel incorporate an illustrative quality, featuring animals and/or a clever meaning. These are the sorts of designs I aspire to create:
Cafepress is another user based website, it operates by facilitating designers to printing on products and selling them to customers. Designers upload their designs, cafepress displays them on mock t-shirts and other products and will print and post the product when purchased. They take a commission for the sale.
Other sites that feature pop-cultured themed t-shirts:
My name is April and I am a 3rd Year Natural History Student from the University of Newcastle.This is the first post related to my self-directed study course, in which I am using a blog as my journal for the subject. Watch this space for my process of completing a project from start to finish.
Here is something along the lines of my Project Outline:
My creative aim is to create a set of t-shirt designs that explore
the practical application of natural history illustration. I intend to develop
my own style of t-shirt designs that combine illustrative techniques with
quirky popular culture references. I am
interested in developing my own unique style in this genre. I intend to learn what is required in the
process of creating designs for print.
Industry Relevant aim:
The illustration industry is diverse, incorporating
imagination and skill while also exploring many facets of practicality. As an
illustrator I am trying to find niche markets in which to inject my unique
natural history illustration skills. In my project I want to research the
t-shirt design industry, design processes and final print requirements. It is
relevant for me to understand the means of creating designs and learning how to
produce a final product to market professionally.
So basically I'll be using this as a journal to research and answer a lot of questions I have about t-shirt design, post current trends and inspiration, as well as the development of my own ideas and any meetings with supervisors or clients I have.
And so the process begins!
My next post will be a collection of useful websites and inspiration.