The Client

Blipshift is an automotive-themed apparel company. They feature rotating limited runs of novelty T-shirt designs and accessories for automobile enthusiasts.

The Project

While blipshift does employ several of their own designers, as well as collaborate with other automotive outlets, a great deal of their designs are sourced from submissions from independent artists and fans. One of my big passions going back to my childhood are cars. I saw this as an opportunity to combine that love with my design abilities. Being compensated for it is nice, but I really wanted to put myself to the test to see if I could come up with designs that blipshift would want to sell.

What I Did

How it Went

Working with blipshift has been a lot of fun. Not just because I get to work on ideas related to one of my favorite subjects, but has also been a great way to practice my skills in several different areas. The team at blipshift are great to work with. Their keen sensibilities help provide great feedback and insight.

I've worked on a number of different designs for them. My submissions weren't always all winners picked up for printing, but it has provided excellent experience. I've gotten to practice pitching ideas, developing concepts, and receiving thoughtful feedback.

image of my first completed design for blipshift

This was my first design chosen for printing by blipshift, and only the second concept that I had pitched to them. The image above is the finalized design. It went through a few rounds of revisions from the initial submission. Titled "Fuzzball," this is a reference to the unique exhaust note of a particular German hot hatchback. The model earned its nickname due to comparisons to a well-known sci-fi race of tall and hairy beings.

One of the things I enjoyed most about collaborating with blipshift was coming up with concepts and making the submission. It was a great feeling hearing that I had what they thought was a winning concept. None of them were ever ready right off the bat, but I gained valuable experience working with them to develop and refine different designs. The team at blipshift always had excellent insights and feedback which helped me make a better artist.

examples of in-progress development of my first design

For the "Fuzzball" design, it actually didn't change too much during the process of finalizing the design. I worked on multiple variations with feedback and critique from the blipshift artist team. We refined colors, detail, and type until it was at a place that both parties with satisfied with.

I got a nice confidence boost after that first successful design. I continued to work with the blipshift team over time on new ideas. Many didn't make it to print, but that is the nature of things. Not all designs can be winners and rejection is not something to take personally. Regardless, with every submission I always learned something new and grew whether my idea was accepted or passed on.

examples of the design development of my second design

My second design that went to print, "Special Snowflake." Named for a classic and iconic alloy wheel pattern. It went through significant changes during the concept development unlike "Fuzzball," but is all the better for it. Even so, with the first initial idea and pitch, the blipshift team knew I had a solid concept. I enjoyed working with them to arrive at the final design (right), which was very strong in comparison to where it started.

I had a few other designs make it to print. Coming up with design concepts could sometimes be challenging, but I found it to be a worthwhile exercise. Other designs they sold by artists were a great inspiration at times. Seeing which others sold best was a helpful barometer in submitting a successful idea.

image of my another design printed by blipshit

Another one of my printed designs, this one titled "What's in a Name?" featuring a play on words with an Italian supercar.

sample of one of my shirt designs that has been reprinted four times

I'm proud to say that all my designs that have sold on blipshift have had multiple reprints based on demand. My most popular "Flappy Paddle" design has been reprinted four times thus far.

My Takeaways

Working with blipshift has been a lot of fun and I feel has helped me grow as a graphic artist. Their team, with the collaboration and feedback I got from making submissions, had me thinking about how designs can tell a story, even with a single illustration. Plus what it takes to not only make a design, but one that will sell. It helped me develop my creative mindset and gave me some real experience putting myself out there and making a case for my work.

I also got more experience designing for print applications where certain constraints exist. With a limited number of colors allowed per design to meet budgets, and learning what details have to go or can be kept for printing on apparel, gave me a chance to look at my designs in a practical way. I had to think about how to create something that fulfilled a vision while still being technically feasible.

Lastly, it's really cool to see people get excited about something you created or see them wearing a design that you produced on social media. Someone was even so inspired by my first design to go to print, "Fuzzball," that they vinyl-wrapped their car one year for an annual car meet. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with blipshift on more fun stuff.

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