Every time we mention our awesome line of Campaign Monitor t-shirts, our community goes completely mad. Is it the flattering cut of the American Apparel cotton tee, the crisp slogans, or simply the fact that they draw the envy and admiration of all?* To get to the bottom of this, we decided to pull Jarrod Taylor, our designer and t-shirt mogul, away from the drawing board to walk us through the creation of a Campaign Monitor tee.

Early ideas

Back in May this year, we held a competition with the goal of coming up with some snappy slogans for our new range of t-shirts. After reviewing an unbelievable 150 entries, we settled on 3 catchy phrases, including Ricky Cox’s now famous:

G’day, [firstname, fallback=mate]!

Jarrod was commissioned to design all three t-shirts. With illustration being his forte, he had the stellar idea to create a t-shirt design featuring oddball cartoon characters acting out the winning slogan. Taking inspiration from the awkward humor of Gary Larson’s ‘The Far Side‘ comic strips, Jarrod quickly sketched a variety of images before arriving at a suitable draft. After developing this draft further, he scanned it in and added color and texture:

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This design was liked by a lot of us here at Campaign Monitor, however still looked too similar to Gary Larson’s distinctive cartoon style.

Realizing the dream

Not entirely happy with the initial design, Jarrod re-drew his original characters with especially weird heads (reason: unknown):

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Apart from a healthy discussion on whether cartoon characters could source comfortable hats, the question arose as to whether a caption should accompany the design. Some options included:

  • ‘At that moment, Barry realized he had a Campaign Monitor problem’
  • ‘After a long day of email marketing’
  • ‘Campaign Monitor proves a little too addictive’

This semantic crisis was soon accompanied by another spot-fire – the realization that the elaborate background textures would be difficult to print on a t-shirt. Assailed, Jarrod went back to the drawing board and came up with the following design in Adobe Illustrator:

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Finally, it was decided that no caption was needed. Believing that we were near the end of the creative process, Jarrod created a variety of color variations to the earlier design:

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The team was split on which palette to use. Factions were formed. After some gentle persuasion, blue was selected. However, it was not over yet.

Whereas most purveyors of quality garments would choose to stop there and get the darn thing printed on a tee, this is Campaign Monitor.

A dramatically different design

Seeking the solitude demanded by all designers, Jarrod shook the dust off his sandals and purposefully bade us farewell to meditate on his t-shirt designs. After three days contemplating the zen of kerning, he broke the silence by announcing a remarkably different creative direction:

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We were thrilled. Each variation was a modernists’ dream – elegant, refined and featuring…

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Helvetica. Apart from being typography nerds and placing inherit value in the elegance of sans-serif, we felt that the simplicity of this design would appeal to a broader group, whereas the previous illustrations were considered to have rather selective appeal.

This final design was sent to our friends at RedBubble for printing and soon enough, a box of shirts arrived, just in time for the Web Directions conference in Sydney:

Thank you for submitting your cool, funny and often weird slogans, then loving our t-shirts as much as we do. Keep doing awesome things on our forum, listening in to our tweets and keep your eyes peeled for our regular Facebook t-shirt giveaways – we’re keen to get these shirts into your hands!

* Although not scientifically proven, empirical studies have demonstrated that you really want a t-shirt right now.

  • Bjarni Wark

    I like the middle one, nice and simple

  • zax

    Are the Email Newsletters featured in the Gallery still getting a shirt?

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi zax, that’s an awesome idea – in recent times we’ve been awarding shirts to competition winners and contributors to our blog and forums, but not so often to single gallery entries (unless they win a competition or take part in a showcase).

    If you have a newsletter design that has featured in the gallery, please DM us on Twitter with details – we may be able to work something out ;) Keep up the great work!

  • caroline

    Just tweeted – we had an eshot featured a while ago and I would love a tshirt! Am too excited…

  • Jason

    I just received one a few days ago. There are really nice shirts.

  • Morgan

    Why will you guys not open a CM store?

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    @Jason – Cheers, thank you! Please feel free to send in a pic via Twitter or Facebook, we’re really proud of the shirts, too :D

    @Morgan – We did have one previously, but now we’re quite content to give them away to cool customers, via events, giveaways and the forums. Free is much easier for everyone.

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