Recall your favorite t-shirt, you know, the one that has the superman logo on the front, or says I ❤ New York, Cute Kittens or…well, you know the one. How about your favorite hat, the one that has “Make Cornbread Not War” embroidered across the front. Ever wonder how these designs make it on to your favorite garments? Most of the time it’s through a silk screen or embroidery process, and above you’ll see examples of the machines that make it happen. These machines are parts of an elaborate logo I designed for HP Custom Threads.
HP Custom Threads is an embroidery and silk screen company that also offers DTG (direct-to-garment) printing as well as other services. They created a custom t-shirt for me with their DTG process and I’m in love with the quality and durability! A quick plug for DTG: With direct-to-garment printing you can print high-quality full color photographic images onto garments. This allows designers like me to be more creative and less restrictive during the design process by not worrying about exactly how many colors can be used or whether to use Illustrator or Photoshop.
This logo design was an awesome challenge. I started by taking a lot of photos of the machinery at HP Custom Threads while figuring out the best angles and the positions of the machines. The company owner and I also had to decide what garments should be shown being produced and how to position them. Later at home I uploaded my favorite photographs onto my computer and started a tedious tracing process in Adobe Illustrator. Tracing may sound easy, but when you’re dealing with blurry pixels and minute details it is actually madness. Mid-way through the design creation I decided to add screens to the printing press, and I had to use my imagination for their size, structure and placement.
After my first proof to the client, she and someone she was consulting decided that they would like to have an eagle shown printed on the t-shirts, so I manipulated the design to show an approximation of how the printing press and screens would actually be set up in reality to produce the eagle. This was a very fulfilling process and speaks to my attention to detail.
Now is where I’m going to bring up one of my supposed faults as a designer, and it is that I can’t seem to keep it simple. At some point in history everybody decided to get on the bus that proclaims that logos should be simple, well I missed that bus, and now I’m blazing my own path down the road less traveled. My designs are often very elaborate. Alas, I care about my customers and decided not to completely ignore popular opinion, so I worked into the design a breakaway piece that can be used whenever a simple logo will work better. See below how “HP Custom Threads” is used by itself as a logo.
My client also wanted to try different colors, so I have included two color examples as well as the greyscale version of the design.
Being a graphic designer is a trip. When you are zoomed in to the maximum zoom capability of Adobe Illustrator to make sure objects are perfectly aligned or to work on aspects of a logo that will never be reproduced at a size large enough for others to notice, you feel like you’re a co-creator of the universe. I’m so happy to have received this project from HP Custom Threads. They had a creative vision that I gave my all to manifest, and I hope to see this design on some of their custom t-shirts soon.