Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Field Day T-Shirt, 2012

I was commissioned by a local school to design their Field Day t-shirts. What's Field Day? It's a day-long, school-wide event where teachers, staff and students get together and go crazy with a bunch of games and contests. The photo above shows the final design on paper and on an actual shirt. I had a lot of fun designing this shirt, but we went through a few different versions before landing on this one. I'll go through the process below.

Ok, the first thing I had to do was get the design approved. I roughed out a concept based on one of the games the kids play during Field Day: Mummifying teachers in bathroom tissue. I went a little retro with the design, gave it that inky, comics outline with hatching and fun, bubbly text. I also created a caricature of the school's director and cast him as the "maypole" in the design. So, roughs, then pencils, then inks done in Photoshop. Approved. Time to move on to color...

Originally, I was given no limit on colors, so I went nuts and used twelve. Twelve!! Then the school got the printing estimate and we all stopped kidding ourselves and decided (reluctantly, but wisely) to reduce the number of colors. What you see above are some different passes on the design with different color themes. That first one was something friend/illustrator Pat Lewis threw my way. He's a huge fan of retro design so I figured he'd nail it. The warm colors Pat used hit just the right 70s note and fit the design perfectly. But the printer considered both the solid red and the red dots (skin tone) two different colors. That made it a five color design. So I tried both a four-color and seven-color design before settling on the eight-color design you see at the top of the post.


Here's a shot of some of the kids and faculty modeling the shirt on Field Day. You should be able to spot the school's director (and star of the t-shirt) at the back-right wearing the tie-dyed version of the shirt. I'm told he loved his caricature on the shirt. Note that I ran this photo through the Googly Cartoon Eye filter to protect everyone's identity.

And here is the entire Field Day crew wearing a rainbow of shirts (different teams, different colors) on the field, ready to begin the games. I'm told the shirts were a hit with both the faculty and kids and that Field Day itself was a blast. I had a great time working on the design too, so I guess everybody wins. -v


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Beth. It actually was a lot of fun to do. Apparently the kids picked up extra shirts (in various colours) and they're still wearing them around school. Nice to be appreciated. -v

  2. Of course they're still wearing them. (And no doubt the cartoon eyes, too. Reminded me of Roger Rabbit.)


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