Designing My Own T-shirts

Having designed dozens of T-shirts in my career as a graphic designer, it’s a good thing as my husband would have nothing to wear if not for all the free logo shirts. None of the shirts are my style, or that is, cut to a shape I like to wear. So lately, I’ve decided to just design my own, one by one. I have a few with my Home Grown Logos truck on them, but for some reason, black and white graphics seem a little cool right now.
I’ve used cafepress and spreadshirt in the past for ordering custom shirts. Both with different results, and I tend to make my decision based on ease of art uploading and editing, but have been happy with the printing of shirts from both. Last night I used spreadshirt, as I wanted to make my images as large as possible, and print on the back as well.
I chose a gorgeous script typeface I took from a vintage show card book. The font was created in 1898 by John Smith, copyright of 1903, London. So I’m feeling pretty good about it being public domain at this point. (You can see more about my collection of such books on my other blog, Farm Fresh Creative.)
I have been in love with typography since I began my commercial art career in 1983 as a junior art director at an advertising agency in the midwest at age 17. Back then, (before computers,) to comp up anything, ie. ads, brochures, logos, etc., we had to trace type from a type specimen book to create a layout. I’ve traced a lot of type in my day, and one can’t help but appreciate every curve, serif and characteristic of a great typeface. So that being said, I couldn’t resist but design a shirt with a beautiful script as this. I placed half of the alphabet on the front and the rest on the back.
My other shirt is a silhouette straight out of a vintage clip art book, though I cleaned up a few lines. How cute is a jump-roping cow? Kind of gives a new twist on “Happy California Cows”. And did I mention I live smack in the middle of a dairy belt? Ah, Petaluma.

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