One day, when I was bored, I ended up looking up a bunch of old things about my hometown, Grand Rapids. After a while I stumbled across an insurance map from the 1800s (can’t remember the exact date) that had an absolutely kick-ass logo in the bottom corner.
I’m thankful that it was hi-res enough to magnify a bit, because I spent a couple minutes here and there for the next few months digitally re-drawing it, so I could turn it into a vector and then decide what to do with it later. It didn’t take long to realize I wanted to make it into a shirt design.
In a fun turn of events, I was speaking to one of my favorite bartenders at The Pyramid Scheme and showing him a few working files of this, and he told me he was a screenprinter, which I probably should have already known. Especially since he printed all of the bar’s variety of shirts hanging on the wall right by the bar.
So, he agreed that if I got him the blank shirts, he’d print a few samples to for me to try to sell to a vendor. We also planned to get a mobilized cart and wheel them around the city during ArtPrize, but that may have been the whiskey talking.
The Second Run
In 2015, I discovered a company called The Cotton Bureau. Their concept was absolutely what I needed: high quality materials, no inventory, and no need to print on my own.
So, after submitting my concept, it was accepted, and lived for two weeks to sell as many as could be sold. It made it up to 21 sales, just shy of my 25 goal.