Collaboration with Jessica Peng

Every year, the graphic design program at CalArts hosts the annual “T-Shirt Show,” as the major fundraiser for the department. Designs are collected from students, alumni, and faculty and printed on t-shirts and this year on tote bags as well. This year the event was entirely planned, designed, promoted and produced by Jessica Peng and myself. It was a much larger undertaking than we could have expected, but with the help of a few friends in the undergraduate program we were able to have a wildly successful night.

The event was designed to be the biggest t-shirt show ever, from how we advertised the event, down to the amount of garments printed. We used black and yellow as the colors to catch the eyes of everyone who passed by one of our gigantic poster ads. On these ads we’d use puns that would make the event seem inviting. At this point we researched different typefaces that had interesting “t” letterforms and created patterns. These patterns and puns went onto three larger than life posters that we hung in the stairwell, graphic design hallway, and the arguably the largest wall in the school next to the cafeteria. These posters were printed on tabloid sheets of paper, tiled and hung after midnight to ensure we wouldn’t be in anyone’s way and also couldn’t receive complaints. With a small team of five or less each time, we stayed until roughly 4AM on a few different days to get the posters hung in their spots.

With the advertising out of the way it was time to focus on printing the collected designs. For this we knew we didn’t want a lot of people in the lab printing because it had gotten too hectic in years past which led to too much waste. Last year we assisted the organizers of the event with their printing so this year we asked for their help. The Friday and Saturday before the event the four of us stayed until 4AM printing the 45 designs. Each design got 12 shirts in black ink, then we’d clean the screens and print the black tote bags. We had almost no waste, with less than 10 misprints and printed the 750 garments in different colors in 2 days, which I am still amazed at. We then proceeded to take over 6 dryers on different floors of the dorms to heat set the shirts.
The ball was then in my court to design the space to be as functional as possible but also find a way to incorporate our branding into the space considering the limitations that were placed on us. I then designed the wall with all of the tshirt designs and was able to gain access to the monitors in the space which was a fun way to mesh the final wall poster with the digital screens and make it cohesive. We also handed out “menus” which had smaller versions of the designs for people to look at while they waited in line. When the night of the event came, we had much more help selling the shirts and while it seemed hectic, it was very well organized and there were no major issues. In the end we sold out of most of the designs completely and had very few left over of the designs that didn’t sell out. Just as we had hoped, we created the biggest and best selling t-shirt show to date.
 Photos by Bryan Gelderbloom, Jessica Peng, Nadia Haile,Michael Worthington, and Oona Lei. Gif animated by Gian Montes. 
Bryan Gelderbloom 2020