Huddy’s Buddies and Down Syndrome Awareness

Huddy's Buddies Banner Photo

Crissa and Lyle Schumann have the ideal life. They live in the quiet little town of Schleswig, Iowa, whose population is less than 1,000. They have three young, beautiful boys: Graysen, Samsen, and Hudsen. They work hard, are proud of their boys, and are a dog and white picket fence away from living the typical American dream.

And, like most families, the Schumanns have their fair share of unique trials and tribulations. Their middle son, Hudsen, is your average 4-year-old boy. He is smart, inquisitive, and happy, and his tenacity and vibrance inspires everyone around him. But what you probably wouldn’t realize about Hudsen is that he has a developmental disability that affects he and his family, every single day of their lives.

Hudsen, along with over 400,000 other Americans, has Down Syndrome.

Hudsen

When Hudsen was born, he weighed in at 4 pounds and 13 ounces. He spent 19 days in the NICU learning how to do things like eat and regulate his own body temperature. Because people with Down Syndrome tend to have fewer alveoli in their lungs, Hudsen frequently suffers bouts of pneumonia and other respiratory-related problems. Because people with Down Syndrome also tend to have smaller ear canals, he has had tube stations placed in his ears. And when he was just a year old, Hudsen went under the knife and underwent open-heart surgery, to help correct a hole in his heart (from birth).

And while Hudsen and his family live with the effects of Down Syndrome daily, they do not allow the disability to hold them back. In fact, according to Crissa, Hudsen, with his incredibly beautiful spirit, is the glue that holds the Schumann family together. Hudsen doesn’t “suffer,” from Down Syndrome, nor is he “afflicted” with it. And with the help of his Buddies, that message is being amplified in a very big way.

Huddy's Buddies Fundraiser Shirts

As part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Hudsen and his team, Huddy’s Buddies, will participate in an annual fundraiser for the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands, called the Omaha Buddy Walk. Their second year participating in the event, the team has increased their fundraising goal to $7,500, up $1,500 from last year’s goal of $6,000. Though ambitious, Huddy’s Buddies are positive that they’ll reach their goal.

Hudsen has been selected as the first ever Grand Marshal of the event, a distinction and honor of which his family could not be more proud.

The Omaha Buddy Walk is the main fundraising event for the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands, whose organization comprises over 2,500 members of Omaha and surrounding communities. Ninety-three percent of all funds raised for the event go directly toward the organization’s programs and administration, which provide service and assistance to over 350 families in and around Omaha (including the Schumann’s). The remaining 7 percent of funds go directly to the National Down Syndrome Society.

The Schumann Family

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. If you’re interested in contributing to Huddy’s Buddies, visit the link above, or click here. Donations can be made until October 3, at 9 a.m.

DIY: Removing the Background From an Image

Rush Order Tees DIY Series Banner Photo

Part of what makes Rush Order Tees different from other screen printing companies is that we’re not just about the bottom dollar. We put a lot of time and effort into ensuring the best possible buying experience for our customers.

And that’s why we’re proud to introduce our new DIY Series, where we’ll show you tips and tricks of the trade that’ll  make the process of turning your great design ideas into real-life products a whole lot easier.

This week’s blog is brought to you by our very own Tom Ingling. Tom is a supervisor in our graphic design department, and oversees all of the design elements on our websites, in our design studio, and on our customers’ products.

One of the most common questions our design department receives is about the removal of backgrounds from images. Luckily, Tom is here to help:

There are already hundreds of tutorials our there that tackle image background removal, but this one is a little different, in that I want to show you how to use a FREE web image editor named Pixlr. You don’t need to purchase any software or install anything. Anyone can use it, right now, for free.

To follow along with the tutorial, first, you’ll need to round up some images. I’m using this one, and this one. And, optionally, this one:

Go to https://pixlr.com/editor/

Click “Open Image from URL”  and paste in:

“https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/JFCrabtree31.jpg”

If you’re designing a t-shirt, you probably want to remove a background for one of two reasons:

  1. Because you have art that’s inside a colored rectangle that you don’t want to have printed on your shirts, or
  2. Because you want to cut out an object from one image to place it into another image.

We’re going with the second situation, but it works the same either way.

We’re going to pretend this photo of your Great Uncle, JF Crabtree, just doesn’t express the rockin’ party guy you remember him as. It’s time to spruce up his image from this old picture.

Pixlr supports a good set of keyboard shortcuts to help you work faster. Throughout this tutorial, the keyboard shortcuts will be shown inside [brackets], if you want to use them.

Whenever a keyboard shortcut says “[CONTROL],” if you are on a Mac, it use the “Command” key instead.

The Wand ToolWand Tool

We’re going to start creating our selection with the wand tool [W].

The wand tool, located toward the top of the toolbar, has some interesting and useful options when it is active: Tolerance, Anti-Alias, and Contiguous.

Tolerance sets how sensitive the wand tool is to changes in color — the lower the setting, the less it will select; the higher the setting, the more it will select. Having Anti-Alias turned on will make the edges of the selection look smoother. When “Contiguous” is on, the wand will only select regions of similar color connected to where you click. When it’s off, it will select areas similar to the color you click from anywhere in the image.

Set the wand to a tolerance of 20, with both “Anti-Alias” and “Contiguous” checked.

Next, click on the white background in the top right. Your selection should look something like this:

JF Crabtree Original Selection

That’s not quite what we want, but it’s a good start.

Hold down the [SHIFT] key on your keyboard. You’ll see a little “+” sign appear by your wand-shaped cursor. Still holding down the [SHIFT] key, move the cursor down a little and click on a light grey part of the background.

JF Crabtree Refined Want Selection

This picture shows where I clicked, and the resulting selection. We’re getting close!

Clicking a little further down with [SHIFT] held again, I got almost all the background, but now part of his face got selected, too! That’s no good.

JF Crabtree Accidental Selection Spot

Choose “Undo” (Edit menu -> Undo, or [control+Z])

Turn your tolerance down to 10, and try again.

With a few more [SHIFT]-clicks in the light grey areas at tolerance 10, I got this:

JF Crabtree Almost Perfect Selection

 

This is pretty good, but we can see a few problem spots, especially if you zoom in (zoom tool is [Z]).

JF Crabtree Error Highlights

This will often be the case when masking photos. The fastest way to get some of the selection you want is with the Wand tool,but it won’t get everything perfect.

The Lasso Tool

Toolbar Lasso Tool
Some tutorials say that if you can’t get what you want with the wand, an alternative is to manually draw the entire selection with the lasso tool. But you can actually combine both tools to work faster and get better results.

Zoom in on the section on the left [Z].

Switch to the Lasso Tool [L].

The lasso tool also has three options along the top. You can choose between the “Freehand Lasso Tool” and the “Polygonal Lasso Tool.”  And there are also settings for “Feather” and “Anti-Alias.”

The Freehand Lasso Tool draws a selection line wherever you move the mouse, so long as the mouse button is held down. With the Polygonal Lasso Tool, each time you click the mouse, it makes a straight-line selection between the points you click. For making a selection along straight edges, the Polygonal Lasso Tool is always better. When selecting curvy things, it’s a matter of preferences. If you have a pretty steady hand and a good mouse, you might like the Freehand Lasso Tool. If you’re on a little trackpad or just prefer more control, you can make selections along curves with lots of mouse clicks with the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

When using the Lasso Tool, holding down  the [SHIFT] key will add the area you select with the tool to the current selection, and holding down the [CONTROL] key will make it subtract the area you select from your current selection. (In Pixlr, you must still be holding down the modifier key when you let the mouse button up for the modifier to work.)

Use the lasso tool with these modifier keys to add and subtract from the selection you made with the wand tool until you’re happy with the selection.

JF Crabtree Perfect Selection

Now it’s looking good!

But if you zoom in a whole lot on the edge of your selection, you’ll see that it’s still not perfect. It’s really hard to get it “perfect,” and what’s perfect can be difficult to figure out before you have a background to see it against.

Photo showing detail on zoom

We’re going to use a trick that’ll help us adjust a bit later.

New Layers and Filters

If you’ve never really done this before, the whole process can be a little confusing. I went ahead and made sure to take a few different screen shots that should help you understand exactly what you need to do, and where you need to go to do it.
In Pixlr, go to the “Layers” panel and click the “New Layer” button.

New Layer Button
Next, go to the “Edit” menu and choose “Invert Selection.” This switches from the background being selected, to Uncle Crabtree being selected.

Choose the Paint Bucket Tool [G], and make sure your current color is Black.Tool bar paint bucket

 

Now, click on the image.

It should look like this:

JF Crabtree Silhouette

Deselect (Edit -> Deselect All or [CONTROL + D]).

Now, go to the filter menu, choose “Guassian Blur,” enter “15” for the amount, and click “OK.” This should blur the edges of Crabtree’s silhouette.

Go back to the Wand tool [W], and bump the tolerance up to a high number (I started with 80), and click inside the black silhouette of Mr Crabtree.

In the “Layers” panel, uncheck the checkbox to the right of Layer 1.

Layer Checkbox

Then double click the lock icon to the right of Layer 0.Right click on Layer 0, and from the pop-up menu, choose “Add Layer Mask.” Your background should disappear.

If you’re trying to remove the background to print your art on a shirt, simply create a new layer, move it to the bottom of the list on the right-hand side, and fill it with a solid color. We recommend picking a color close to the shirt color on which you’d like to print. In this instance, I’m using a picture for a background, so I’ll do that, instead. Either works!

To open a second image, go to the File menu and choose “Open Image URL.”

Paste in “https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Mark_Larush_23rd_EBS_Symposium_in_germany..jpg” for the URL and click “OK.”

Select all (Edit-> Select All or [CONTROL + A], copy the image,(Edit -> Copy or [CONTROL + C]), and then close it. Paste (Edit-> Paste or [CONTROL + V]. In the “Layers” panel, click on the new “Layer 2” and drag it down below “Layer 0.” Go to the Image menu and select “Free Transform” [Control + T]. Use the controls at the edges of the image to adjust it to fill the area behind Uncle Crabtree.

Now that you have an image in the background, you can get a better idea of how good the background removal was. In this case, there’s sort of a “glow” along his shoulders and hair.

This is why we made the new layer and dyed it black. Rather than starting over, we can quickly change to a line that cuts off a little more of the original picture.

In the “Layers” pallet, click the checkbox to turn Layer 1 back on, and click on Layer 1 to make it active.

Go back to the Wand Tool [W], and bump the tolerance down a little bit. This time, I’m going to try 45.

Click with the wand inside the silhouette again. Uncheck the checkbox to hide Layer 1 again.

Next, right-click on Layer 0 again and choose “Delete Layer Mask” to get rid of the old mask that showed too much. Now right click on Layer 1 again and choose “Add Layer Mask,” and it will make a new layer mask with the more limited selection you just made with the lower wand tolerance.

This one looks pretty good!

JF Crabtree With New Background

It just needs a couple more things to finish up the look.

This step involves some skills that go beyond the scope of this tutorial, but I manipulated the Disco Ball file listed at the beginning of this tutorial and placed it in front of the background. Because I can do that.

Lastly, being an old photo, poor Crabtree looks a little washed out and faded. The darkest shade of black in the Crabtree image is a pretty bright grey compared to the rich blacks in the party people behind him. He needs a little more help blending in in this crowd.

Click on Layer 0 to select it, and the go to the Adjustment menu and select “Curves.”

Click on the bottom left hand corner of the line that stretches across the “Curves” window, and drag it to the right across the bottom edge. You’ll see the darkest parts of the image fade from grey into a rich black. My final curve looked like this:

Final Curves Settings for JF Crabtree Photo

Click OK.

JF Crabtree Complete with Disco Ball

And there we are! Uncle Crabtree, just as we remember him!

Image Editing Options

This tutorial was done in Pixlr because anyone can use it immediately without downloading or installing anything, which is great. Big shout out to the folks from Autodesk for making it the fast and free choice. Pixlr is fantastic for a free web tool, but its features are still very limited. There are at least a dozen masking techniques I use in Photoshop that are not possible (yet) in Pixlr. If you want to get more advanced than you can get through Pixlr, you might want to step up to a more powerful photo editor.

There are many out there, but here are a few top Quick Picks

The 600-Pound Gorilla

Of course, the king of photo editors is Adobe Photoshop, but it’s an expensive, subscription-only software.

With Photoshop, if at any time you ever decide to stop paying them whatever they decide to charge every month, the software will stop working and you will lose access to your own images saved as Photoshop files.

Affordable Heavy Hitters

If you are on a Mac, an amazing option is Affinity Photo, which can do a huge amount of what Photoshop can do, runs faster, can even do some things better than Photoshop, and only costs $50.

On Windows, there is Corel Paintshop Pro, which is only $80 and can also do a lot of what Photoshop can do for a whole lot less.

Free

While it’s not quite as fast, polished, or capable as Affinity Photo or Paintshop Pro, GIMP image editor is free, runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and has all the tools most users will need.

 

Note: we hope you find this tutorial useful. It’s fun to learn how to do things like removing the background from your photos, and compositing images together. But if you’re only going through this because you’re ordering t-shirts from us and need the background removed from an image you want printed, there’s an even easier way to get a professional result: JUST TELL US in the notes on your order that you want the background removed, and one of our professional artists will do it for you! No tutorial or software is going to make it easier than we do!

C.D.O.T.W: Flights of Our Fathers Air Show & Fly-In

 

CDOTW Flights of our Fathers Banner PhotoThis week’s design comes to us from the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum, for their t-shirt design for the 8th annual Flights of Our Fathers Air Show and Fly-In. And although while we hate to say it, it won by a bit of a landslide. Don’t get us wrong — we had plenty of great submissions, and had a lot to review, but our panel loved this one so much, it took all of 10 minutes for them to decide.

Our panel loved this design for its succinct design elements, beautiful complementary color palette, and its fittingly nostalgic font selection. The blend of colors on the planes was incorporated masterfully, so as to add depth to the images without making them appear “bulky,” and without making their dimensions too complex. For a more in-depth analysis, let’s look to our judges:

Flights of Our Fathers Design

Joe: On the wings of great conflict and economic boom came a distinguished and timeless style of design, which this design manages to pull off very well. Its use of strong geometric shapes and bold sans serif fonts paint a strong visualization of a time gone by, meant to concisely get its point across. This 1950’s time capsule accurately portrays the style and vibe of the event and gives off an air of nostalgia.

If the many air shows I have viewed atop my father’s shoulders have taught me anything, it’s that this shirt means business. The simplified rendition of a MiG – 17 fighter plane (also produced in the 1950’s) is beautifully done, retaining the detail needed to portray one of the most commonly used planes by air forces of the time. The font choices scream drive-ins and sock hops or, perhaps in this, case fly-ins and sonic booms. I dare to say this design is “Nifty!”

Flights of our Fathers Shirt Proof

Mike: This design has a lot of great things going on. It’s an awesome example of what our customers can produce, and what’s possible with screen printing. Despite being limited to flat layers in screen printing, this design shows what great effects can be achieved using different shades of colors to make things appear as gradients. The plane image is great, especially in how nicely the low detail planes in the background translate when viewing the whole image. The typography and design around the central image is top quality. I’m really in love with this one.

Brian: This design utilizes excellent typography, consistent with its retro theme of antique planes. A lot of designs lose depth when they are simplified, but this design retains a great amount of depth, even though the planes are simplified to three or four shades of gray. The planes in the background add to the depth of the image, and really add a lot to the design, overall. The red circle draws a lot of attention to the planes, and contrasts well with the more neutral color palette of the design and shirts. The metal plaque mimics some of the detailing on antique planes, and I really love that — I can imagine it as a label on the dashboard of one of these planes.To be honest, there isn’t a single aspect of this design that detracts from its overall message.

The 8th annual Flights of Our Fathers Air Show and Fly-In took place at the Terrell Municipal Airport in Terrell, Texas, Sept. 19th, 2015, and featured aerobatics performances in classic war planes, a display of classic warbirds, a car and motorcycle show, kids’ activities, food and drink vendors, and more. The show is a favorite to locals, families, kids, veterans, and anyone who’s captivated by these beautiful old birds. For more information on how you can participate in next year’s event, click the links above, or visit them on Facebook.




T-Shirt Design Made Easy

#TEAMTHEO Deserves Your Support

#TeamTheo Banner Photo

What is Rhabdomyosarcoma?

Four million children are born in the U.S. every single year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And every year, 350 children (about 3 percent of all childhood cancer patients) are diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, an awful variation of soft tissue cancer. Of those children diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, even fewer are infants.

Neither strain of the cancer (Embryonal and Alveolar) are predisposed to a certain gender, ethnicity or race. From what modern medicine has seen, it is random, and there is no way to see it before it develops.

It is not fun. It is not easy. It is not fair.

Yet, every day, thousands of children affected by this terrible illness fight—and win—battles with it. They are courageous, and their tales of triumph are nothing short of inspirational.

Theo and his father

#TEAMTHEO

Theo Huff is one of those children. At just 5 months old, Theo was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Alveolar is the more aggressive older sibling to Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma, and typically only develops in children 10 and older.

Theo’s story spread across the Internet and social media, and people have reached out in droves to support he and his family. The #TEAMTHEO GoFundMe page opens up with a photo of Theo—an adorable baby boy with a beautifully cheerful attitude and the most adorable smile. And to the right, the donations counter says the family has received over $14,000 in just three short weeks.

Theo is a fighterChemotherapy can be a trying experience for anyone, let alone an infant, and Theo is fighting a battle that would shake most people at their core. But from his smiling face and happy disposition, Theo’s courage and valor appear effortless.

And with the help and support of their community, the Huff family is prepared to help Theo fight for as long as they have to.

The family is also offering  #TEAMTHEO charity t-shirts with the assistance of SpreadSpirit.com. According to the SpreatSpirit page, all proceeds from the t-shirt will be given to the researchers at FasterCure, an organization with whom Theo’s oncologist closely works.

We encourage our customers, friends, and family to visit the links above, and help if you can. Theo is a brave little boy with a big heart, and he and his family need as much help and support as they can get. We should all be on #TEAMTHEO.

Rush Order Tees Design Your Own T-Shirt Now

 

We Are #NORAHSTRONG

Norah Strong Banner PhotoAs children, we are taught that, our value, character, and strength shouldn’t be determined by our trials and tribulations or the frequency at which they occur, but rather by how we overcome them.

In other words, life isn’t about how often you get knocked down. It’s about getting back up—every single time—with style, grace, and perseverance.

And for 7-year-old Norah, that truth seems self-evident.

While spending some quality beach time with her family last month, Norah began suffering from unexplainable leg pains. Her parents noticed their daughter’s slight limp, and after it progressed, decided to take her to the hospital.

Two hospitals and an MRI later, Norah and her family were informed that a mass the size of a tennis ball had developed in her brain, and that doctors needed to move quickly.

Norah's Family
Photo courtesy of Facebook.

They operated the next day, and according to Norah’s GoFundMe page (which has already raised over $100,000!), removed 80 percent of what is known as a Glioblastoma Multiforme tumor, and operated again a few days later to remove the remaining 20% of the growth. These tumors are particularly troublesome, and children afflicted with them are hit hard—only 25 percent of children are expected to live five years or longer.

Norah had been knocked down.

Before her second surgery, doctors informed her family that she’d likely lose most of her motor skills, and would need extensive rehabilitation to even possibly regain movement of her body. Ultimately, she had undergone two risky brain surgeries, was told she may never walk again, and that her life would be changed forever.

But with the support of her family, friends, and the local and not-so-local communities; along with her own strength, determination, and positivity; Norah was able to accomplish something not even her doctors thought would be possible. Within two days of her surgery, Norah was using her arms and walking, and was even able to travel up and down stairs.

Norah
Photo courtesy of Facebook.

In a case where credible and competent medical professionals warned that Norah would almost surely lose her ability to walk on her own or care for herself without extensive rehabilitation efforts, Norah defied the odds.

With the help of her family, friends, and community, she picked herself back up, and is on her way to recovery.

However, that’s not to say that Norah’s fight is over, and that’s why we’re writing this blog. She still needs your help. Norah recently began treatment to help ensure the growth won’t return (as these particular tumors typically have a high likelihood of recurrence), and her family is still acclimating to the lifestyle change.

Rush Order Tees is proud to announce that we have lent a hand in helping spread the word about Norah and her incredible story, and with the support of Norah’s family, have released a fundraising campaign through our subsidiary company, Spread Spirit.

 

The #NORAHSTRONG team will be out in force this weekend, September 20th, as they participate in Boston’s very own Hub on Wheels bicycle race. If you want to show your support, please visit the link to the GoFundMe page above, or feel free to purchase a shirt from the Spread Spirit campaign!

 

It’s time for all of us to stand up and say that we stand by Norah, and that we are ALL #NORAHSTRONG.

 

 

 

Meet The Team: Owen

Meet The Team: Owen

We don’t really like patting ourselves on the back too often, but one thing we don’t hide from is that we employ some of the best, brightest, and most talented people in the world. We are not a company run by computers, and we certainly aren’t a bunch of robots (but how cool would that be?!).

Our team is unique, interesting, and pretty darn cool. And since our Customer Design of the Week series is such a big hit, we’re excited this week to roll out another brand spankin’ new series called “Meet The Team.” Each week, we’re going to introduce you to one of the people responsible for making our company possible.

We love them, and we hope you will, too.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to Owen. He’s one of our lead graphic artists, and is one of the primary people responsible for our website, promotional items, customer designs, etc. We think he’s pretty alright!

Owen Headshot

What is your title at Rush Order Tees, and how long have you been with the company?

I’m a graphic designer, and I’ve been here for roughly 3 or 4 years. I can’t even really remember when I started, if I’m being honest. I guess the old adage about time flying and fun is true!

Talk about your career. What brought you into graphic design, and where did it begin to intersect with a company like Rush Order Tees?

Oddly enough, I first got into designing for screen printing at an ice cream shop I worked at, while in college. The shop’s owner was, himself, a graphic artist, and knew that I was studying graphic design. He had a side job doing freelance design work, and he brought me on.

We worked mainly with UPenn’s fraternity and sorority organizations, producing the art for their Rush events, support gear, and parties.

From there, I moved into the uniform business, dealing directly with large clients like Coca-Cola Company, Virgin Group, and Robeks. I would collaborate with these accounts to produce all of their company uniforms and promotional materials.

And from there, I came here; haven’t looked back, since.

What makes Rush Order Tees a different kind of company, in your opinion? What do you like most about the work you do here?

 This is probably going to sound cheesy, but I really enjoy how family-oriented we are; family owned and operated by people who care about the people their employees.

I love that I have a front row seat when it comes to seeing how my work affects our customers. I interact directly with them to get their feedback, and whether I’m figuring out ways to make our website more navigable, or how to structure an email notification they’re actually interested in reading, I know that the work I do is always making a difference in our customers’ experiences with us.

And that’s just cool.

What do you feel is your most unique quality, and how do you think it ties into your daily tasks, here?

I have a totally unhealthy obsession with great design. From the lines of a building, to the content on a billboard, to the furniture in my apartment—life is about aesthetics, and I try to take that mentality with me into the office. I have a really strong passion for design, and I hope it shows in the things our customers see on our website.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Well, my job entails taking all this useful information for our customers—all of the digital content across our pages—and putting it together in a very neat, attractive, and easy-to-understand package.

I’d say the most difficult part of that process is finding the place where information and clarity meet.

What are you most excited about for the future?

Hoverboards, for sure.

… The future of Rush Order Tees, Owen.

 Oh, well, I’m a big fan of what we’re doing with Spread Spirit. I think crowdsourcing is the new way to fundraise and do good business, and I really think we’re offering a product that consumers are going to really get behind.

Class Is In Session: 10 Do’s and Don’ts to Surviving School

Class is in session banner photo

This week, kids from all over the country will begin their transition back into the classroom. They will trade their skateboards for pencils, beach chairs will become school desks, and as if right before their very eyes, sand will turn to chalk dust. We know the shift can be tough—for kids and parents—so we decided to lend a hand.

Here are 10 practical do’s and don’ts that’ll make the first week of school a lot easier on everyone:

Do’s (for kids):

Okay, kids. We know you’re probably not looking forward to this, but learning is important, and you can’t learn without school. So shake the sand out of your sneakers and the water out of your ears, because it’s time to get busy.

DO get a good night’s sleep: Is a good night’s sleep easier said than done, after a summer of late night Xbox live parties and Taco Bell-fuelled sleepovers? Sure. But is it necessary? Absolutely. Statistics show that a good night’s sleep is critical to the learning process. A well-rested brain physically processes information better than an exhausted one, and a brain at rest helps solidify long-term learning capability.

In other words: Sleep more. It’s good for you.

DO bring extras… for everyone: Whether first-day jitters are to blame for you leaving your pen in homeroom, or the person next to you who forgot theirs was still dreaming about pools this morning, always a keep a stash of extras in your bag. You’ll never know when you, a friend, or even a soon-to-be friend, might need the favor!

DO eat sugar: Sugar may help cause cavities, and too much of it can definitely do more harm than good, but here’s a fun fact: When it comes to studying, glucose is your friend. A half-hour before you begin learning something new (or doing some late-night cramming for an exam *cough*), eat a chocolate bar. The sugar is raw fuel for your brain, which means drastic improvement in your short-term memory retention. Trust us on this one – it got us through college!

DO brush your teeth: Speaking of cavities, please do yourself and your classmates a huge favor, and brush your teeth. No, seriously. Every day. Your tongue, too. You’ll thank us later.

DO find passion in something: Here’s another fun fact: Sometimes (maybe a lot of times), school isn’t fun. You’re going to spend a lot of time there, and you may not always have the time of your life.

The trick is to find something you can be passionate about, and get involved. Whether that “something” is football, color guard, the robotics club, the school band, the comic book club, metal shop, or any other extracurricular club or activity, find the one you love and get into it. Wear the merch, go to the meets, become a part of something, and have an impact.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and school pride isn’t as dorky as you think!

School CTA Button

Don’ts (for parents):

Hi mom and dad! Another school year has arrived. We know – where has the time gone?! I seems like just yesterday we were walking them to the bus for the first time, packing their first lunch, telling them not to play football at recess because there’s a difference between work clothes and play clo… UGH, YOU PLAYED FOOTBALL AT LUNCH AND GOT GRASS STAINS ALL OVER YOUR JEANS, DIDN’T YOU?!

… Ahh, the memories.

This time is fun and exciting, and being a parent is awesome. We know you’re excited and nervous, but here are 5 Don’ts you definitely need to hear:

DON’T text them while they’re in class: It’s their first day back. Are they making friends? Is Early American History as interesting as you thought it’d be? Do they have any mean teachers? Do they have enough notebooks? You want to know everything, and you want to know it now.

But remember: Using a cell phone in class is still a big no-no, and if they get caught, they’ll be in trouble.

Plus, Brittney Lewis said she saw Thomas Hicklemoore being escorted to Principal Hoover’s office, and everyone needs to know what happened. Their texting time is already occupied.

DON’T wait until the last minute to get school supplies: Ugh! We can’t stress this one enough. Pens, pencils, notebooks, book covers, pencil sharpeners, Post-its, markers, crayons, folders, stationary, business cards… Well, maybe not business cards (yet!), but all of the other things on that list should all be purchased beforehand. Leave room for error, and give yourself enough time to cover all your bases.

DON’T pack a PB&J for the first day: Come on, parents! You can do better than that! Think about it—your young Einstein just spent a whole summer eating cheese burgers, French fries, and pizza at the beach, and you want to send them back into the Thunderdome with some boring peanut butter and jelly? Come awwwwwwwn. Be creative and give them something to look forward to at lunch! They’re already busy facing the cold reality of another 180 days of school.

DON’T live vicariously through them: This one may sting for a couple of you out there, but you all know what we’re talking about. You may come from a long line of quarterbacks or decathlon winners, but your child isn’t always going to be a miniature version of you. It’s perfectly fine to nudge them one way or the other, but letting them find themselves and grow into who they are is probably one of the best parts of being a parent.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T Panic: It’s school, not war. They’ll be home in a few hours, and chances are, they’ll be just fine. Enjoy your day at work, clean the house, go get lunch, walk the dog, do some laundry—relax. Life is changing, and it’s cool!

 

We know these next few months are going to be long, chilly, and include way fewer trips to the beach. But they’re also really exciting, and will be filled with new friends, knowledge, and experiences. From everyone here at Rush Order Tees, here’s to a totally awesome school year!

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C.D.O.T.W: The Half Hour Intern

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This week’s Customer Design of the Week comes to us from Blake Fletcher, the Half Hour Intern. Essentially, Blake, a resident of San Francisco, loves learning new things. The Half Hour Intern is a website, blog, and podcast he created, wherein he interviews people about their stories; what they do for a living, how they got into their field, and what their job entails.

It’s an awesome concept that we found fascinating, but it’s not why we selected his design.

The Half Hour Intern design won the attention of our judges with its simple and concise style, its masterful use of color to create texture, and perhaps most importantly, its imagery. While everyone interpreted its intended message differently, it was eye-catching and ultimately stole this week’s show.

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Here’s what our panel of experts had to say:

Colton:  We settled on this design because of the simplicity of the art and the intriguing imagery of the cut tie. The design also features nicely weighted text that really brings it all together. “Complexity” doesn’t always mean “better,” and this is a good example of a simple idea bringing a lot of depth to the overall design. The colors are consistent, the concept is great, and we just really loved it.

Aidan: I am really excited about this artwork. The simplicity of this design really stands out. Using a limited amount of ink colors, the design still creates a lot of dimension. I love it! The design also reeled me in because of its uniqueness AND quirkiness. I saw it and immediately wanted to know more about the Half Hour Intern. This design is a great demonstration of amplifying and drawing attention to a concept through simple, flat design work. Excellent!

Mike: This is a really solid illustration! The color palette is really cohesive, especially the little touch of red in the tie. It’s a well thought out representation of the really cool blog that it represents. The type is clean, just like the rest of the design. And who doesn’t love polka dots?

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Brian: This design appealed to me more for my perception of its message than the design itself. Don’t get me wrong – it’s simple theme and carefully coordinated color palette are really great, but I love the image of the guy cutting his tie, and it symbolizing breaking free from a normal 9-to-5 existence. The sliver of red inside the tie, acting as a silk liner, or perhaps something else (!!!) really struck a chord with me. This design is sophisticated and subversive at the same time—and pulling that off is no easy feat.

Tyra: I like the fact that this artwork uses a flat design scheme to highlight detail. The color selection is awesome, The additional red inside the tie, to me, maybe symbolized the importance of interns in corporate America. this is a really awesome design, that has a great choice in colors and weight in text.

Joe: This is a great illustration. Simple and expressive all at once.”Cutting the ties” of traditional human interaction with a roulette game of show and tell is what this brand is all about. The illustration itself is helping to continue to pave the way of the minimalist movement not unlike similar artists Olimpia Zagnoli and Dubai based designer Ali Jabbar as well as my personal favorite Stanley Chow. The lack of facial features have always rested uneasy for me in almost every design ever, even some of the aforementioned notable artists. However, in this instance it could be used to express; that you never know who you may meet and what they may have to offer. The cool blue tones help to lend an appropriate contrast of background to launch the brands moniker “Half Hour Intern” right at you.

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