As a graphic designer, I have worked in many different avenues over the last few years. I have done the “freelance” gig, the “independent contracting” gig, the “one of 2 in-house designers at a company” gig, and the list goes on; but never have I experienced what I get to experience on a daily basis as a Senior Artist here at Ink.
Something I’ve learned about myself though the years as a designer is that, though I love the end result of designing something awesome, that’s really not the reason why I love design. I love design because of the entire process start to finish. I love getting to be a part of seeing a client's vision, their dream, come to life right before their eyes.
Designing shirts is what I do all day, every day, and it never gets old, because designing a shirt is so much more than making a cool graphic. Just like with any design work, it’s all about the process.
Every day we wake up, walk to our closet, and we choose a shirt to put on. Here at Ink, my team and I work hard to figure out what it is that will make people choose the shirt we did for them and wear it with pride.
When starting a new project, there are many questions to answer. What type of people are going to be wearing these shirts? What should the shirts look and feel like? What style, size, and design placement carries out our client's vision best? What’s going to keep people wearing our client’s shirts for years and years to come? Answering questions like these are just a small piece of the t-shirt designing process that I love so much. My job isn’t over when the artwork is exported from my computer. To be honest, the fun has just begun!
It’s incredible being 1 of 5 in-house artists here at Ink that get to work on software just 50 feet from where the hardware is making it happen. I can walk directly into our ink room filled with over 200 ink colors to find the perfect color. I get to see the design printed first hand and be a part of the process of making any changes that might be necessary. Our job is to make sure what goes out the door is exactly what the client is expecting. The speed, angle, and pressure of the squeegee along with the screen mesh count are all factors that play into making sure this happens.
Learning the foundations of screen-printing and having direct access to so many resources is helping me become a better artist each day.
I found out the other day that since Ink's beginning, we've designed over 20,000 shirts that have gone to print (which doesn't even include the bajillions of designs that never made it to print). For us, that's a very exciting number to hear! There's no better feeling than being at my favorite coffee shop and seeing one of our designs walk through the door. That feeling is how we measure success - not because we did it, but because we get to silently fist-pump behind the scenes while our client's brand continues to grow.
That, my friends, is why working at Ink is about so much more than simply designing t-shirts.
(PS - To view some of our work, check out our portfolio!)
About the Author:
Alesha is a Senior Artist at Ink Custom Tees. Along with her passion for art and design, she also loves exploring photography, music, and the great outdoors. Alesha and her husband, Cody, currently reside in Conway, Arkansas.