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ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
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« T-Shirt: More RAM Than Apollo Thirteen | Main | Designing the endo icon »
Wednesday
Mar152006

T-Shirt Designs: Ideas and Questions

14276463_240x240_F.jpgI started the day listening to the SXSW 2006 Podcasts, in particular he Keynote Conversation with Jason Kottke (Kottke.org) and Heather Armstrong (Dooce.com). They spent around an hour talking about their blogging experiences: what they've learned about themselves, their audience, methods and limitations of funding approaches and more. Interesting podcast.

One remark in particular caught my ear, as Jason mention how Jon Gruber (DaringFireball.net) suggested he develop t-shirts for his blog as a way to help bring in some funding. Daring Fireball t-shirts are very cool, and that's where my question about t-shirts comes in.

T-Shirt Selling History
I have a history with this t-shirt, having setup a Cafe Press shop years ago for The Palm Tipsheet, offering t-shirts, mugs and more. In fact, that store is still open for business. However, in the 4 years since opening the Cafe Press store, I've sold 3 shirts, one of which was to myself, at cost. :-)

I've never felt anyone would want to a Rohdesign Weblog-branded t-shirt, let alone pay money for one. It's not that what I'd design wouldn't make for a stylin' t-shirt, — it's more the idea of someone wearing a t-shirt advertising my weblog.

Topical T-Shirts?
However, I could imagine people buying well-designed topical t-shirts, featuring funky coffee, cycling, PDA or other interesting, colorful graphics on them. So the question is, would you, as a reader, consider buying a Mike Rohde designed t-shirt?

I've already been playing around with a few preliminary coffee-related shirt ideas at the Rohdesign Cafe Press Store (see the image top right) but I feel as though I'd need to expand the designs for coffee or other topics quite significantly, and feature more colorful designs as well. I thought I'd ask you, my readers.

What Would You Buy and How Much?
It all comes down to the question, what would you, as a reader, consider buying? It might be worth my time to design some cool t-shirts, if there are folks out there interested in buying them. Here are my questions:

1. What would you like to have designed? Would you like funky coffee-related designs, or maybe cycling, PDAs or even pen or pencil sketches? What about other topics or ideas? I'm open to your thoughts.

2. What kind of t-shirt do you like best? White, black, color?

3. What's a reasonable price range? I'm mostly interested in knowing if the average price of around $15 for white, $18 for organic cotton and $20 for black at Cafe Press is reasonable?

4. Extra Credit: Would a limited edition (short run), traditionally screen-printed t-shirt, offered on a nice color fabric interest you? If so, what do you consider a reasonable price for such a t-shirt?

Feel free to leave a comment or email me with your thoughts.

Reader Comments (8)

would you be willing to do "one off" shirts by special request? ---something with acerbic humor?
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTim Dorr
Tim, sure thing. I think maybe custom t-shirts prionted at Cafe Press might be kinda cool. There's a good chance your idea might also be attractive to others, but one off is cool too.

So... what's the acerbic humor concept? :-)
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
pen / pencil sketches!

March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
Great! Any sketches of mine you like, or any to create that you would like to see?
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
A set of tees with rough sketches of people and their faces, each a different mood. Simple designs that don't look like you got it from a flea market, tongue in cheek caricatures or exaggerated facial expressions without the distortion. Something that would stun blank faced, over professional looking executives. Or maybe a feature on celebrities, past icons and their trademark faces, in ugly/ seductive/ angry/ lovesick looking moments? What I had on my mind was a sketch you did sometime back on random faces you caught, I think.
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
Black. The camera sketches would make cool T's!The Jazz sketches in your moleskine.Perhaps the whole design stage of Endo on a Black T.

I'd snap those up.
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDev Benegal
Hey, take a look at Goodstorm.com. They give you 70% of the purchase price on the shirt -- and use open source tools to power their platform. You can build your own store, set prices and all the rest -- but you get a much better deal and more control over your store.
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChris Messina
Chris, thanks for the suggestion! GoodStorm is a great service that I've no making use of after your suggestion. :-)
March 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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