School Nurses make you feel better!


As I kid, I was always getting into some kind of mischief, and the school nurse always bandaged me up and sent me on my way. Today I realize they help keep our kids safe and healthy while they are away from us. When the Gloucester County School Nurses Association (GCSNA) asked us to make some polos for them to wear on the job, we jumped at the chance to give back to the ladies kept me in one piece as a kid. The organization helps to keep the nurses in schools across Gloucester County, NJ up to date with the latest in nursing.

They came to me with a shirt that they had made years in past, so I redrew the logo from scratch, added a few flourishes here and there, and went to work embroidering them on a higher quality polo and some nice fleece jackets. The polos are made by UltraClub and are the Ladies Whisper Pique Blend and the Jackets are also made by UltraClub – the Ladies Iceberg Fleece.

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You can always come home… USMMA Homecoming.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy is one of the lesser known five federal service academies, and I should know – I’m a 2001 graduate. Homecoming was this past weekend in Kings Point, and it’s always a special occasion. My 10-year reunion was last year and it was great to catch up with classmates who I’d lost touch with and really fun to to hear about where their careers have taken them.

The members of the Class of 2002‘s 10-year reunion was this year, and they contacted me about making a t-shirt. The class planned to wear them as they marched on the football field.

One member of the class married a graphic designer who designed a stellar graphic that didn’t need any modifications…and we just went with it as is. The design pays tribute the recently ‘retired’ school ship – the Kings Pointer – which has just been replaced. The back is a great example of classy corporate sponsorship. Overall, it’s a great design that I wish I could take credit for…

A great shirt can be a simple shirt. This is a perfect example.


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Senior Trip to Philly!


Each year, members of the senior class from Good Counsel Academy in White Plains, NY take a trip to Philadelphia, and we’ve had the privilege of creating a unique t-shirt design for them each time. (All of which can be found in the Schools section of the Portfolio).

This year I used the Liberty Bell as the backdrop, and filled in some pertinent information about the trip in the the bell. It’s a fairly simple design, but I really like the way it came out. There are a few keys to the design for me. First is the GCA at the top where the ‘wood’ of the Liberty Bell would be. (By the way, in case you couldn’t figure it out – that’s Good Counsel Academy) The second is the iconic Liberty Bell crack, which I made sure cuts through the wording as well.

For the second year in a row we’ve printed these shirts on v-necks. It’s an all-girl school, and the v-necks add a touch of femininity. Overall, I think they came out great!


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New Records for Gore’s Life Sciences Venting

Showing off a Banner Year!

Jess and the team at Gore’s Life Sciences Venting division had a great year. In the face of a struggling economy, they happened to set some new records and wanted to showcase their pride. Life Sciences Venting at Gore produces Rolled Goods and Molded Components, so they wanted to play off of those words if at all possible. They are also building for the future with some big internal changes, and wanted to incorporate that as well.

They didn’t give me much to go on with the design other than a few slogans like “Keep it Rolling“, “That’s how we Roll“, “Breaking the Mold“, and “Molding the Future“. So I went to work, trying to pull this all together. And let me tell you – they hated my first draft! But that’s ok – I want all possible feedback and never want a client to hold back. My vision didn’t line up with theirs at all, but it helped them come to a bit more of a consensus as to what they DID want – which was good!

With a little direction, I was in a much better place to design a well-received T-shirt. They gave me a little more info, and told me they had record Sales, Profits, On-Time Delivery and DL Productivity. They told me they definitely wanted to incorporate their business name – Life Sciences Venting. Back to the drawing board again, and after a few drafts we were able to come up with something they were proud of.

And preparing for next year and beyond…

The front features the slogan “That’s how we Roll” with four ‘rolls’ beneath it on an upward track that feature each of their new records. The back is simpler, and is a continuation of the upward track of the front, with the phrase “Molding a Brighter Future” to play off the molded components.

They chose a nicer style of t-shirt to use for this project. Rather than a standard 50-50 blend, they chose the CVC crew from Next Level. It’s a lighter weight shirt that also has a fitted cut. The color used is Warm Grey.

Overall, it’s a great looking shirt, and I hope the the Life Sciences Venting group can wear it with pride! As we say in the Navy – Bravo Zulu for a job well done!

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Is Glow-in-the-Dark cool again?

As a child of the 80’s, I had plenty of things that glowed in the dark. Everything from sneakers to sunglasses to stars for your ceiling and Nerf games seemed to be incorporating this new fad. Glow in the dark technology has other uses outside of the fashion and toy world (who knew!?), but if you ask me, nothing beats playing football in the dark with a ball that glows. It was fun, and cool, and all the rage. But Glow-in-the-Dark as a fad started to fade as the 90’s progressed.

Our first use of Glow ink

A few years ago, our friends at the NJ Lighthouse Society approached us about incorporating Glow in the Dark ink into one of their shirts. They had seen the ink color on when I showed them our ink color swatches, though I had never really noticed it before. I was hesitant – I didn’t know if it would work, and all I could picture were those hideous “wolf pack” T-shirts. We ran with it and it came out great. The shirts looked great in the day, and when the sun set, they glowed for a while. I’m still kicking myself for not getting any photos. It was cool the way the top of the lighthouse glowed like a real lighthouse would have.

This is the front of the shirt – Hover to see it Glow!

We’ve since done Glow ink on other shirts; the best example being the Churchkey Run Club shirts from a few months ago…and I was able to get some great photos of the shirt this time. Applying Glow ink to a shirt is surprisingly easy. It takes two coats of ink – a white or flourescent green ink that serves as as underlayment, followed by an application of the clear Glow ink. In the light, the Glow ink looks the color of the underlayment, but in the dark it glows that familiar green light. Take a look at the pictures to see what I mean.

Anyway, I ran across a Mental Floss article this morning about how Glow-in-the-Dark items work that I found interesting, so I thought I’d pass it on. The author also remembers all the fun we had with Glow-in-the-Dark items of the 80’s and 90’s, and I still have the Glow-in-the-Dark Football.  In the end the Glow ink is still a gimmick, but if it’s applied correctly it can be a fun addition to your custom shirts.

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Bad Typeface follow-up

A few weeks back I posted a Blog entry titled “Anything But Comic Sans” about the importance of typeface. A little while after that I came across an amazing example of poor typeface design that I just had to share with you. While on Navy Reserve Duty aboard a ship owned by Uncle Sam, I came across this safety sign:

Not only does the sign use the dread Comic Sans font for the majority of the text, but when talking about “SUDDENLY VIOLENT MOVEMENT,” they use a font that is more appropriate for a 10 year-old’s lemonade stand – I belive it’s called CURLZ. This is a serious sign that is attempting to convey the importance of properly stowing equipment for sea, but instead comes across as a comic strip. Not heeding these warnings can lead serious injury! …And don’t get me started on the ‘WordArt’ title up top!

 Have you seen an egregious use of typeface? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!


Running in the Dark

This is the front of the shirt - Hover to see it Glow!

Eva, Steve and their Run Club in Washington, DC participate in the American Odyssey Relay every year. This relay is different than most relays you may be familiar with. Teams of 12 runners start in Gettysburg, PA and they run 200 miles to Washington, DC non-stop through the night. They run for two days and one night, running in shifts. When they aren’t running, they are sleeping in a van that is driving alongside their runner. All in all, it’s an impressive event and any team that finishes deserves to be proud. This year’s race is this coming weekend.

Eva contacted me about making shirts for their team after hearing that we had used Glow-in-the-Dark in on a previous shirt. She thought it would be fun to use Glow-in-the-Dark ink on their shirts since some of the running was done during the night. The Glow ink is actually clear, so we just overlay the glow ink over the white ink on the shirt using the same screen. It came out great – hover your mouse over the pictures to see the shirt Glow! (Actual photograph!)

This is the back of the shirt - Hover to see it Glow!

They wanted the art for the shirt to be simple- CHURCHKEY is the bar in Washington that sponsors their team (“Run Loves”) and the post-race afterparty, and their team name, as well as the text on the reverse, is written in the font Fatboy Slim. They asked me to draw a heart in place of the ‘o’ in ‘loves’ in the same style as the font, which wasn’t a problem. As for the make and model of the shirt – they used Next Level CVC Crew in turquoise. They had received a Next Level shirt from a previous race and really liked the fit and the feel and of the fabric. It’s a great alternative to American Apparel, and it’s cheaper as well.

Steve even modeled the shirt for us when we delivered it. Good luck in the race this weekend!



Sometimes it Rains….

Polo Embroidery

The Navy has teams of engineers who manage the installation of Machinery Alterations (MACHALT) on ships around the world. While not getting into the specifics of their job, they need to make sure the sailors know who they represent. A year or two ago they approached us and we made some sweet-looking embroidered polo shirts (in a few different colors) that the engineers could wear on-board during installations. They worked out great and the team liked being able to represent themselves professionally.

Jacket Embroidery

Now you might think working for the shoreside Navy is great – think about it – you’re always near the beach. Lots of these installs happen in sunny San Diego, or Jacksonville, FL. But…they also do work in places like Bremerton, WA, and Norfolk, VA. Well guess what – it rains there sometimes. And in the case of Bremerton, WA, it rains there ALL the time. So they came back and asked about some rain jackets. After a lot of deliberation, they finally settled on the Ultra Club Adult Micro-Polyester Full-Zip Jacket with Hood (try saying that five times fast) and they chose to get them in a neutral color (Sand). Anyway, We just finished them and I think they look great. Take a look!

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“The other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes…”

Mickey Mantle in training mode

Spring is here, which means it’s time to shake of the rust that has gathered over the winter and get out there an exercise…or at least watch people exercise. And what better way to do that than to join your company softball team. A few beers on the sidelines, with spurts of activity in between – it’s a great way to exercise.

-You know why the Yankees always win, Frank? 
-‘Cause they have Mickey Mantle? 
-No, it’s ’cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes…

Catch Me If You Can

You may not be the Yankees, and you may not have Mickey Mantle, but you need to make sure you look good. In order to look good, you need a uniform, and a custom t-shirt is an economical way to make sure everyone looks good. Over in the portfolio, we’ve got a bunch of shirts for different sports teams we’ve designed – from Softball to Kickball to Volleyball. Most of these are fun, tongue-in-cheek team names.

But for you business owners, sponsoring company team is a great way to encourage staff team building, foster company pride, and advertise. The shirts we are delivering tomorrow are a prime example of that.

McKean Defense is a defense contractor located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and they sponsor a softball team in the Philadelphia Sport and Social Club. They use their company logo on the front of the shirt while encouraging employee creativity on the back. I’d say number 10 is a pretty big fan of How I Met Your Mother. As for the Incredible Huck…well let’s hope he’s a muscular guy!

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Anything but Comic Sans

I consider myself a bit of a font junkie. When charged with the task of creating a design for someone, my hardest decision is often choosing a typeface. I’ve got a few hundred installed on my computer, and sometimes I find myself scrolling through all the different fonts I have to try and find the exact right fit.

Why are fonts so important? The font sets the mood, your eyes go to the words first. J. Barnbrook of Virus Fonts says:

“A good typeface creates an emotional response in relation to the message it is conveying. You’re trying to get that tone of voice right – you can shout or whisper.”

We’ve all see posters or power-point presentations where it’s obvious someone used the wrong font; the internet loves to point out when you shouldn’t use Comic Sans. But if everything is right – we shouldn’t even notice the typeface – it should just feel natural.

The Brands of Helvetica

We’ve all identified brands by their typeface – you know the Google font (Catull), you know the Facebook font (Klavika Bold), and you know the Twitter font (Pico Alphabet). You know products that have their own, custom, fonts – like Coca-cola, Disney, and ESPN. And then there is Helvetica, one of the most used typefaces in the world – used by brands like Crate & Barrel, American Airlines, Jeep, Microsoft, CVS, and the NYC Subway system to name a few.

We’re even guilty of it ourselves. The Whizbang Concepts logo is created using Helvetica. The the proliferation of Helvetica throughout the world is explored in the 2007 documentary ‘Helvetica’, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Getting back to using fonts here – I have a few ‘go-to’ fonts that I use more often than others. But I’m always trying to use them to convey the message. In the Music In Our Schools Month t-shirt, I wanted to emulate the Got Milk campaign, so I used Phenix American. In the USS Mesa Verde and BLK’s Brawlers shirts, I wanted to portray a certain strength and volume, so I used Reservoir Grunge. For a shirt about the Military, I may use Stencil or Airborne, and for a sports team I like to use Ballpark Wiener. This shirt for a senior class trip to Philadelphia, I used a less formal font called DKBabysitter.

The point is – every design needs a typeface, and choosing the right one is just as integral to the design as everything else