When I started working at Software for Good in November of 2013, one of my first Crank-n-Drank tasks was to design the company t-shirt. We’d tossed around some initial ideas for logo placement on a white or black t-shirt, but the results were a bit, well, corporate looking.
Jamey suggested we take a different approach—get rid of the corporate t-shirt feel, and make something that was less ‘company t-shirt I have and never wear’ and more ‘t-shirt I’d actually buy’. With the freedom to letter something awesome, not constrained by branding, I started some quick pencil sketches. We’d decided on a lettering-only vintage/sports inspired approach.
From the initial pencil sketches, we narrowed down the field to a few iterations. These were turned into tight pencil comps, which were eventually inked to better reveal the letterforms and layout.
This led to the selection of the final design. You may notice that the final selection was not an original sketch. I ended up combining the aspects of each design we liked best and created a happy medium between the two.
It would have been possible to stop at this point, scan in the final design, clean it up in photoshop a bit and send that to the printer. However, there were a few rough patches here and there and in general the lettering needed some adjustments, so I moved into vectorizing the design.
This was done in Illustrator, with the final inked design as a guide. Usually, I’ll start from scratch when tracing lettering, but I wanted to preserve some of the quirky not-quite-right aspects of the lettering—some of the ‘wonkiness’ if you will. So, I started from a live-traced vector and cleaned the piece up by hand.
In this screen capture, ‘Software’ is partially cleaned up and adjusted, whereas ‘for Good’ still needs some adjusting.
Once the lettering was completely vectorized, we sent the final off to the printer.
The result was a t-shirt that we were stoked to wear, and that other people were excited about, too. We ended up reprinting an additional run with three new t-shirt colors added for friends and family that wanted a piece of the action.
Interested in a shirt? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do.