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ADDY Award Winning Buffalo Map Screen Printed T-Shirt

2017 | Apparel Design

This design was entered in the 2018 Buffalo Advertising Awards and received Silver ADDY recognition through the regional level American Advertising Awards from AAF Buffalo. It can be viewed in the 2018 AAF Buffalo ADDY Award Show Book.

This was my final design project during my time at Canisius. It was different from our typical projects because we were able to transform our designs into tangible pieces, utilizing a new screen printing lab.

This project really surprised me. I was very stuck on which of my design ideas to pursue and I found myself dreading this project. I am not a person that easily brushes off imperfection with my work, it is one of the main reasons that I am in the field that I am in… there is always a way to undo when you make a mistake. Because of this I tended to shy away from physical forms of art. However, this class forced us to design and produce with real application in mind. We were not designing to view on the screen, but designing to print or construct and create beyond the computer.

For this project, I was immediately drawn to designing something that was desirable and scaleable. Thinking of future potential, I chose a simple concept that could be easily replicated and customized based on location. I love maps and am always drawn to them as design elements. I had been looking for an excuse to experiment with map design so I chose to use that as my graphic element in my shirt. I drew a large area map of buffalo from scratch, which was painstaking but beneficial. After that, I spent a while experimenting with how to apply the map to the design. I played a bit with the scale and placement of the map and landed on placing the map within type, creating a design that embraced negative space and the relationship of the design and the shirt.

The printing process was a learning curve for everyone. After lots of failed attempts, frustration and ruined t-shirts… we finally discovered a screen and ink combination that gave us a successful print. From there, knocking out several shirts was easy and very successful. Silk screen printing seems a lot more daunting and difficult than it actually is, the process of preparing the screen is very simple and the final product is so rewarding.

This project ended up being such a surprising success. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning to screen print and I have gotten an overwhelming response from people I shared the shirts with.

There is so much unrecognized value to stepping away from the computer and creating physical art as a graphic designer. This is not an opportunity that we are often presented with and it can be very intimidating. It is so rewarding to hold (and wear) something that you have worked incredibly hard to create, from concept to final product. It gives us a new appreciation for what we do and strengthens the skills that are necessary to be a great designer in any medium, whether it be a computer screen or a t-shirt.