The Next Wearable Tech: Smart Clothes

Smart Clothes Banner

Earlier this week, the Mobile World Congress kicked off in Barcelona, Spain with exhibits and product booths that featured exciting new technology, such as virtual reality, fitness wearables, and new forms of contactless payment. For tech geeks, the event is a great way to learn how mobile technology is changing and how it will affect us in the future. But for the average person, most of the new devices being released–like fitness bands and smartwatches–end up another item collecting dust on the dresser. What if there was a way to break this cycle of creating “extra stuff” and start integrating smarter technology into the most important wearable of all–your clothes?

Enter smart clothing. Although not technically smart clothing, the touchscreen compatible glove is the clothing tech innovation that most people probably know. The glove keeps your hands nice and toasty in cold weather while you use your smart devices. Taking things a step further than that, today’s smart clothing combines all the things we love about our various FitBits, Apple Watches, and other mobile technology and embeds it in our clothes. There are some crazy new things out there, ranging from fitness tracking t-shirts for the gym rat, hoodies with headphones for the music-lover, and even onesies that act as baby monitors for new parents.

In the spirit of innovation while the Mobile World Congress continues this week in Barcelona, we took a look at four of the most interesting pieces of clothing technology on the market.

AiQ Smart Clothing

LED jacket
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The only clothing company to attend this year’s Congress, AiQ Smart Clothing Inc. has developed smart clothing in five different clothing categories: gloves, lighting, heating, bio-monitoring, and anti-radiation.

The clothes with lighting technology feature an LED wire threaded through them which is lit by a small battery. These clothes are perfect for running or exercising at night, and definitely something with potential to catch on with the public.

AiQ’s heating garments feature a small heating pad and work to keep you warm for those cold winter hikes, without weighing you down as a parka and snow pants might.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what your resting heart rate was, the bio-monitors embedded in AiQ clothing tell you a ton of cool stuff about your health. 

Athos

Athos Tech
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Athos new smart training apparel could provide you the insights you need to take your workout to the next level. The company claims that it produces the world’s first smart training apparel that equips you with real-time insights on muscle performance and heart rate. The form-fitting clothes include bio-signal monitors that sit on different parts of your body and send feedback to an accompanying app. This could be a game-changer for your workouts if you’re someone who can’t live without tracking your stats. It’s like turning yourself into a real-life video game character. Level up!

Mimo

Mimo Tech
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Created for the parents out there, Mimo is like a baby monitor, only without the walkie talkie. Similar to the way a FitBit tracks the wearer’s sleep, the Mimo kimono (or onesie) does the same, except with a few extra features. Data-obsessed parents can use the Bluetooth-connected clothes to monitor their baby’s breathing, sleeping temperature, body position, activity level, and whether they are awake or asleep. The data is synced with a smartphone app, so when parents hear noise coming from their baby’s room, they can simply check the data synced to their app to see if he just woke up for a bit, or really needs Mom or Dad. The Mimo is a great alternative to the baby monitor and another cool example of the ways smart clothing is changing our lives.

Just for fun: Mastercard and WISeKey

Money T-Shirt
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This one’s not exactly a clothing innovation, but we couldn’t resist the temptation to prognosticate the future of mobile payments with clothing. Right before the Mobile World Congress began, Mastercard and WISeKey, a tech company working in security solutions, teamed up to bring to the masses a new way of paying for goods. By embedding contactless payment technology into items like sunglasses or fitness bands, the companies hope consumers will buy the technology that enables them to use any item they own as a method of payment at their favorite stores.

Since this is possible in the near future, we can’t help but wonder what this might mean for clothes. Will our clothes be embedded with this technology someday? Imagine going to your favorite store and purchasing the items you want through a sensor in your t-shirt when you walk through the front door. No more lines! No more frustrated customers! But how would we use coupons?

Who knows what the tech companies will think of next. Whether it’s related to fitness or fashion, hopefully there will be many more innovations in the way we interact with the world through our clothing. Whatever the future may hold for smart clothing, we hope to see many more innovations that improve our daily lives, and keep us looking cool at the same time.

5 Dr. Seuss Shirts Every Fan Should Know

Dr. Seuss Banner

Beginning today, schools across the nation will be celebrating Read Across America all week long. This 5 day span of activities allows schools to focus on students and their quest to become better readers. Read Across America is an important factor in the educational system and proves to children at a young age that reading can be enjoyable.

The event also takes time to highlight the late Dr. Seuss, AKA Theodore Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss is legendary for providing colorful and wacky illustrations in most of his own books, as well as creating stories that appealed to both young children and adults, even bringing in masked political factors like the environment and the Cold War.

In order to honor the author who brought smiles to the faces of many, we decided to highlight t-shirts based on the great works of the Doc. So grab your moose juice (or goose juice) and let’s check out 5 Dr. Seuss shirts every fan should own!

1. The Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat T-Shirt
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Pretty much known the world over, The Cat in the Hat tells a tale of a feline protagonist’s (or antagonist’s, depending on your view point) very abrupt entry into the house of two young kids left alone on a rainy day. As he offers up things to do, chaos ensues the small crew. This story’s immense popularity made it a staple of public, classroom, and home libraries alike, and has even been made into film. Owning a t-shirt with the cat sporting the infamous red and white hat is an absolute must.

2. Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham T-Shirt
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Green Eggs and Ham is every child’s thought process in a book–I don’t want to eat that because I’m not going to like it. Who are we kidding–this probably applies to some adults, too. In classic Dr. Seuss fashion, this story made its way into ‘classic’ status with is humor and rhymes, as well as its valuable lesson about not saying ‘no’ before trying something new. A t-shirt representing the story of trying a very peculiar dish would be right at home on a picky food eater, or someone who merely enjoys dining with animals.

3. Thing One/Thing Two

Thing 1 T-Shirt
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Based on characters who contribute to the ruckus in The Cat in the Hat, these “Things” are normally put in a pair, so rocking tees of this caliber would probably be best suited with a good buddy, a significant other, or even your dog (just a thought). Whether for everyday wear, or for your next costume, the Thing 1/Thing 2 t-shirts are probably one of the most popular shirts on the list.

4. Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Dr Suess T-Shirt
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This one is a must-have for a graduate, someone who’s newly employed, or anyone who just needs a valuable life lesson taught through a kid’s book. What can go better with this story than a bonafide, colorful t-shirt summing up life’s adventure? This design is also perfect for a class field trip, senior events, Dr. Seuss day, or whatever your heart desires. In any case, the adventure of life is perfectly summed up here and anyone who owns this t-shirt will constantly be inspired for what lies ahead. 

5. The Grinch

The Grinch T-Shirt
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Even though How The Grinch Stole Christmas is mainly a holiday tale, we all know in our heart of hearts that sometimes we feel a bit Grinch-y, no matter what time of year. That’s why the Grinch shirt is perfect for a true Dr. Seuss fan–wearing such a shirt will definitely showcase how you feel on any given day. Then again, the villainous green dude did become a good guy at the end of his book, so the t-shirt can represent one of two emotions. Your mood when wearing the shirt will ultimately determine which feeling is winning that day.  

All in all, you would be commemorateing the great literary legend Dr. Seuss with any one of these t-shirts. Whether it’s in honor of Read Across America, or a random tribute to your favorite childhood story, literature is always worth representing.

C.D.O.T.W: Them Howling Bones

Them Howling Bones Banner

Another one out of Los Angeles, the customer with our favorite design this week also happens to churn out some killer tunes. The L.A.-based blues rock band Them Howling Bones used this design for the cover of their second EP Dolores before printing it to t-shirts for their fans. If you’re imagining this image hand-stitched into a leather jacket, you’re not far off. The original design, created by artists Sharmae CaCeres and Iving Torbay, was stitched into leather before it was photographed in high-res for the cover of the band’s EP, and later translated to print here at Rush Order Tees for the band’s t-shirts.

The t-shirt design combines bold, funky type with an abstract, catchy graphic and perfectly conveys the vibe of the band’s rocky-Southwestern blues sound. For more on the excellence of this design, let’s hear from our in-house design experts:

Them Howling Bones Design

 

Stephanie: This artwork for this t-shirt was a recreation of an image that had been previously embroidered. The colors were easy to match up with our house inks, which helped out a lot. This meant that the most time was spent on the design’s clean-up. The challenge with working from non-digital sources–such as a photograph of an existing garment–is finding ways to recreate crisp, clean edges. We do our best to match the original design as much as possible, but there is always a certain amount of detail lost in the clean-up and simplification process. We try to get the edges smooth and the colors solid, especially when translating an embroidered piece into ink spot colors, AKA flattening.

Luckily, the design the band submitted had a black background, which allowed for a good amount of contrast when picking out the individual colors. The design was printed on both white and black shirts, and the artwork colors translated well onto both. We spent time making sure that the important details printed clearly, and this design had a lot of easy, thick lines, so there was little to no risk of inks closing up, which often happens on designs with very fine lines.

Mike: Here we have a great band shirt that manages to be just the right level of fun while keeping its’ punk rock edge. The drawing, intentionally rough and laden with traditional tattoo imagery, perfectly fits this band’s style. Thats the key, right? The shirt should reflect the product it’s representing, and this flashy, rough, and mysterious design pulls that off. The color palette works perfectly with the style to translate the design to an awesome band t-shirt.

Joe: It is plain to see that this week’s awesome art is pure rock and roll. The art used to create these tees was a photo of an embroidered version of the design. Our Rush Order Tees artist, Stephanie, did a great job of taking an untraditional starting point and transforming it into a crisp and clean version of the design that was ready for screen printing. Translating the jagged sewn lines of an embroidery into a clean version can be tedious. However, as you can see from the end result, it turned out to be a beautiful simplified version that left us howling for more.

To check out more on Them Howling Bones, follow their shows and music on their Facebook page!

Designer’s Playlist: Weekend Edition II

Designer's Playlist

Congratulations!  You made it through another week of the 9-5 syndrome known as work. It’s time to loosen that tie and take in a deep breath of freedom, but be sure not to waste it! We’ve brought you another playlist to keep you away from that pillow-top mattress, out of range of your television, and as far away from your Snuggie as possible. Let these songs help get your adrenaline pumping so that you can get moving and accomplish something awesome this weekend. Passion project? Go for it. Volunteer work? Pat yourself on the back. Use this week’s dance and pop-influenced designer’s playlist to conquer the world in the next 48 hours.

“Lights Out” – Santogold

Santogold (or Santigold, depending on what year you’re in) is one of those artists who critics love but most of the public’s never heard of. Maybe one of her tunes will ring a bell, but she’s definitely worth checking out in more depth, and using as your secret weapon to creating groundbreaking work. This song will inspire you without hijacking your train of thought, which makes it our number one playlist track this week to kick off your creative juice flow.

“Goodbye, Goodbye” – Tegan and Sara

As far as we’re concerned, Tegan and Sara can do no wrong, and that is especially true when it comes to helping you get the ball rolling. These identical twin sisters might be singing about a relationship that didn’t work out, but hopefully it will inspire you to just move on from whatever has been holding you back from taking your next big step, regardless of what it may be. Listen to their lyrics and let the quick beat get you going!

“Wild” – Royal Teeth

“Don’t you think it’s time for you and me to make some history?” What a great opening line! If that doesn’t inspire you to do something out of the ordinary and truly great, what will? Royal Teeth hasn’t reached quite the levels of fame as some of the bands they’ve toured with, like Walk the Moon and The Kooks, but we find that this song in particular presents a great way to perk yourself up a bit when you feel like you might’ve hit a wall or plateau in your project.

“Search Party” – Sam Bruno

Sam Bruno brings us this perfect song for when we are ready to take a break, stretch our legs, and refuel. Something about the beat keeps us focused, but the mild tempo makes it easy for anyone to take a much-needed step back to evaluate their progress. Don’t forget this important part of your process: all work and no play makes for a lackluster final product.

“Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” – Matt and Kim

Matt and Kim take over the speakers to help you dive back into your work. This steady beat is relatively calm for the duo–especially when it comes to their live performances–but it is nonetheless fun, lighthearted, and sure to get your head bobbing. They are literally known for their “DIY attitude” when it comes to music, so let Matt and Kim inspire you to really go full throttle in your own project.

“Leave a Trace” – CHVRCHES

This group of Scots will help you power through some of the final stages of your work. Their music is upbeat and catchy, with synthesizers galore. If you’re ever feeling stuck in a situation and need some motivation to make a leap of faith, consider CHVRCHES vocalist Lauren Mayberry. Before dedicating all of her time to music, she achieved a law degree and Masters in Journalism–now that’s inspiration to get things done!

“Adventure” – Cheat Codes

As you wrap up your weekend masterpiece, remember that there is no better time than now for an adventure. Cheat Codes reminds us to always look for the unforgettable details in our lives, and that there’s no reason to restrict that type of attitude to the weekends. Now, go forth and be awesome!

Marketing Campaigns for the Best Picture Nominees

Oscar Nominees Banner

Soon, we will witness the yearly spectacle where the film industry gets together and celebrates what they’ve decided were the best movies of the year. This year’s crop of Oscar nominees are all stellar examples of what movies can achieve, from the pulse-pounding action of Mad Max, to the thoughtful and subdued drama of Spotlight. But even the best films of the year don’t become successful through quality filmmaking and story-writing alone. It takes a good marketing campaign to convince people to go out and watch these movies, and it takes a lot of time and effort to make a good marketing campaign.

We’ve done a fair bit of promotional work ourselves, and we know a thing or two about marketing. So to give you an idea of what goes into these campaigns, we decided to take a look at the marketing for each Best Picture nominee.

The Big Short

The Big Short
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Right out of the gate, all of the advertising for The Big Short promised two things: an all-star cast and an exposé on the 2008 financial crisis. The posters and the trailers were always quick to highlight the talent on screen, and it’s hard to blame them when they had big names like Christian Bale and Brad Pitt to work with. Aside from this, they also tapped into the undercurrent of public anger, emphasizing the movie’s harsh denunciation of the people and institutions who caused the crisis. Still, making fairly dense explanations of complicated financial concepts into a captivating story plot could have been difficult, even with a great cast and populist anger behind it. Luckily, The Big Short‘s marketing team managed to find a consistent, energetic tone that remains light and fun without diminishing the seriousness of its subject matter. The result was a campaign that successfully angled the movie as an entertaining crowdpleaser, nevertheless one with a poignant and timely message.

*SPOILER ALERT* It should be said that this marketing was slightly misleading. While it emphasized the ensemble cast and often seemed to imply that they would work together, very few of the major characters ever actually interact throughout the movie. It also struck a tone of righteous indignation, of crusading heroes who were taking on a corrupt industry, but it actually follows people who figured out the crisis was coming and chose to exploit it rather than fight it. It’s still a scathing indictment of everyone involved, but it’s a bit more nuanced in its depictions than the populist marketing might lead you to believe.

Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies
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It’s tempting to say that a movie with two cultural icons like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks doesn’t need any advertising, and unfortunately the studio may have taken that to heart. Along with requisite trailers and TV spots, Hanks and Spielberg certainly made their rounds in interviews and appearances leading up to release. Otherwise, marketing was a bit sparse, however for the little bit of marketing there was, it was done pretty effectively. Bridge of Spies is a modern take on a classic concept, harkening back to the days of the Cold War thriller, and the marketing reflects that. From the poster’s dramatic juxtaposition of Hanks between the U.S. and Soviet flags to the sharp music cues and quick cuts between powerful moments in the trailers, it has all the hallmarks you’d expect of a classic prestige flick.

Some of the advertising, particularly the TV spots, may focus a bit too much on the action moments, considering the movie’s focus on negotiation and tension, but that’s a pretty common phenomenon in these sorts of dramas. The real question is why Spielberg’s name is so small on the poster? He may not be the box office draw he was back in the Jurassic Park days, but he’s still Spielberg. For marketing purposes, you’d think they’d want to draw some attention to that.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Movie Poster
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As one of the nominees that made the rounds through the indie circuit on its way to the Oscars, Brooklyn had a more subdued marketing campaign than some of the other movies. They touted its indie credentials, including the enthusiastic response it got at Sundance, and let loose its charismatic star with the unpronounceable name, Saoirse Ronan. Other than that, however, Brooklyn marketers laid a bit low. They did have a leg up on creating material for the campaign though, as the movie itself has a deep well of gorgeous visuals to draw from. Anyone who’s seen the marketing for this movie is surely familiar with the masterful shot of Ronan’s face, her piercing eyes gazing longingly into the distance.

The trailers in particular squander this advantage, as they are rather rote recitations of the entire plot. The worst sin a trailer can commit is telling you too much, and every one of Brooklyn’s trailers essentially lays out all major events throughout the course of the movie. With only the slightest hint of music and narration to tie the various scenes together, they read more like cliff notes than trailers, and they certainly didn’t drive interest in the movie the way they should have.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
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Mad Max is the only one of these nominees that was also a huge summer blockbuster, and therefore one of the only one on the list with a massive marketing budget. This gave them a good amount of creative freedom, which they made good use of. Pre-release, the marketing team delivered some inspired publicity stunts, such as a reverse car wash that caked participants’ cars in dust and made them look like something out of Fury Road‘s wasteland. There was also a smart social media push, with active Facebook and Twitter campaigns posing questions to fans about the series’ post-apocalyptic setting.

Mad Max didn’t just have smart viral and digital marketing–it was also great at the basics. From the first trailer that dropped at San Diego Comic-Con (a common but still effective venue for big budget genre fare), they showed a talent for cutting together trailers that emphasized the movie’s fast-paced, visceral action. But the real triumph, and one that was backed up by the movie itself, was in attracting women to the movie. Placing its female lead, Imperator Furiosa, front and center on most trailers and posters, helped the film attract an often ignored demographic. Action-oriented summer blockbusters, especially ones with sci-fi influences, are often considered to just be for men. This marketing strategy let the world know this would be a different kind of blockbuster. 

The Martian

The Martian
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Ridley Scott, the director of The Martian, was also the director of the groundbreaking 1984 Apple Super Bowl ad, so it’s not surprising that he would push for experimental advertising for his movie. What might be surprising, especially if you’ve been critical of some of his recent work, is how effective it was. Scott and his team filmed a few short promos detailing the backstory of the film’s characters and the mission they’re on. These promos provided a glimpse into the world of The Martian beyond just recutting scenes from the movie, and they served as fun entertainment in their own right. With the same sharp humor as the actual movie, along with a cameo from science icon Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the promos represented a more polished and professional attempt at viral marketing than we usually see.

What really helped make this approach so successful was that the marketing captured the tone and humor of The Martian so well. The promos were essentially small extensions of the film itself, made by the actual director, so they felt far more authentic than these kinds of viral marketing campaigns usually do. In the end, The Martian‘s wonderment at the miracles of science, buoyed by Matt Damon’s captivating performance, proved to be a huge hit with audiences, so letting them get a taste of that beforehand amped up excitement for the movie. Considering The Martian‘s massive box office success, we may be seeing more campaigns like this in the future.

The Revenant

The Revenant Poster
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The campaign to rally viewers for The Revenant and the campaign to get the Academy to nominate The Revenant were virtually indistinguishable from each other. They managed to find a theme that worked effectively on both fronts: how brutally difficult it was to film. Media coverage and promotional materials constantly emphasized the extreme weather conditions, director Alejandro Iñarritu’s insistence on only using sparse natural light, actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s brush with hypothermia…the list goes on. This message sought to impress Academy voters with the sheer dedication to the craft of filmmaking on display, while at the same time making audiences curious to see what the result of such painstaking methods might be.

The marketing for this movie also managed to tap into people’s love for Leonardo DiCaprio. His lack of an Oscar to call his own has become an inescapable part of the cultural conversation surrounding the star. The Revenant‘s marketers cleverly seized on this trend, playing up his method acting and the trials he underwent, all but outright saying that this was the movie he finally deserved to win for. And hey, DiCaprio is currently the prohibitive favorite to win Best Actor, so it certainly seems like it was an effective strategy.

Room

Room Movie Poster
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Room‘s marketing team may have had the trickiest job out of any of the nominees. The movie is an indie darling like Brooklyn, which inherently may turn some people off, but while Brooklyn is a relatively light and uplifting affair, Room is a more heartbreaking experience. Even among those who loved it, the team found that few people were willing to recommend it to friends due to its difficult subject matter. They tried to tout its critical acclaim and the universally-praised performances of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, but a movie like Room often seems to have a limited appeal.

Concerns like this lead to an unusual pivot in marketing strategy between its limited release in October and its wide release at the end of January. Marketers made the somewhat controversial decision to reveal that the two main characters manage to escape their confinement into the outside world halfway through the movie, and used that to rebrand it from a weighty thriller to a hopeful drama about a mother’s love. Ads, posters, and trailers were suddenly filled with imagery from the back half of the movie, emphasizing their wonder of newfound freedom. This isn’t misrepresenting the movie, mind you, it’s a legitimate theme contained within the work, so it wasn’t merely a cynical move. It was a smart attempt to change the conversation when the current one wasn’t working.

Spotlight

Spotlight Movie Poster
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After the more creative campaigns of the past few movies, we close things out with Spotlight, which had more conventional marketing in line with Bridge of Spies or Brooklyn. The familiar rollout of posters, a trailer highlighting the serious drama, and plenty of cast interviews was in full effect. Much like The Big Short, the film’s advertising focused on the ensemble, as Spotlight was another movie with a cast full of stars like Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo. The marketers were also sure to mention the high degree of praise the movie’s acting received. One really interesting aspect of the campaign was the involvement of the real journalists whose investigation the movie is based on. They made rounds to discuss the process of the actual investigation and how it compared to the movie, further amplifying the movie’s “based on a true story” credentials.

While the campaign may have been largely conventional, you have to keep in mind how a campaign must suit the movie it’s advertising, and this one suited Spotlight perfectly. The movie is a quiet, understated testimony to the daily grind of journalism, and one that lets small moments speak volumes. A big, flashy campaign would have clashed horribly with this style. As safe as the marketing may have been, it set viewers’ expectations for Spotlight exactly where they needed to be, and for that it deserves a lot of praise.

Picking a Color Scheme: Perception and Color in Pop-Culture

Choosing a Color Scheme Banner

Do you remember Heinz’s release of green ketchup back in 2000? How about in ’92 when PepsiCo released Crystal Pepsi? You are probably smirking. These ‘innovations’ were flops. Why? Because we are conditioned to know that ketchup is red and Pepsi is brown (well, brownish, caramel, dark…it’s brown). The truth is, Pepsi could have been any color on the spectrum at its release, but over time, we as consumers came to associate Pepsi Cola’s personality with the color brown. When it comes to any marketable or noteworthy design, whether for a product or for a brand, color plays a key role in how we grow to recognize it. 

Heinz Colored Ketchup
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Whether you’re planning the design of a website, t-shirt, or logo, a good place to start on your design is defining your brand’s personality. What do you want your brand to say? What do you want your audience to think or feel when they see your design? As demonstrated by Heinz and Pepsi, color is going to play a huge factor in the way your brand is received, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with.

The Color Wheel

While there is science to color (wavelengths, photoreceptor cells in your retina, optical prisms—oh my!), you don’t need to understand the science to make color choices. You do, however want to choose wisely, as carelessness can cause some color trainwrecks (think of the slapdash color schemes of the 80s).

Standard Color Wheel
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Luckily, you can balance science and freewheeling with minimal knowledge of the color wheel. The color wheel is rather basic–you probably remember learning it in your elementary school’s art class. 

First, you have primary colors yellow, red, and blue, which blend to make secondary colors orange, violet, and green. Combine a secondary with its closest primary, and you have a tertiary color. Then, you have complimentary colors, which are diagonal from each other on the wheel. Note–green is complimentary to red—someone please call the ketchup people!

Things get a little more sophisticated when you want a color that’s not on the wheel, but this is pretty easy to grasp as well. Adding in a neutral color can change everything. Add white for tint, black for shade, and gray for tone. For example, pink is a lighter tint of red. To make pink, you simply add white to the base color red.

If this all seems like common knowledge to you, kudos! You’re already on track to speaking the language of our design team! If this seems nitty-gritty, rest assured–it gets better! Knowing the color spectrum basics will help you properly choose colors that will combine well to reflect your brand personality. 

Color Myths and Pop-Psychology

Color Psychology
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Pinpointing emotional responses from one color to the next is about as accurate as a horoscope (unless that’s your thing, in which case…bear with us). Gauging response from color is fickle because there are too many outside influences: culture, past experience, preference, mood, and current pop-culture.

Don’t believe us? Here’s an example. Remember the mismatched 60s decor of your grandparent’s home? Believe it or not, this was once a popular trend, and it didn’t matter that the color combinations were completely random. At the time, mis-matched was in.

1970s Room Decor
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This can teach us that when choosing colors for your brand, you don’t want to focus on what’s ‘in’ or what’s ‘trendy’–that will always change. If your brand provides a continual level of service and reliability to a customer, odds are, unlike Grandma’s living room and pop trends, the color of your brand will transcend the fads of time.

Highlight Your Product’s Personality

When you start thinking about colors, ask yourself how people perceive your brand. Better yet, how do you want people to perceive your brand? What color matches that perception? Let’s take a look at some brands who did it right when choosing their logo’s colors:

History of the Apple Logo
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The classic example among brand coloring tips is Apple’s evolution toward a clean, neutral-colored design. The old colorful logo conveyed excitement and endless opportunity, which was appropriate for the public’s introductory period to home computers and the Internet. As technology culture changed and Apple’s products evolved, however, so did Apple’s logo. The transformed symbol uses neutral colors to convey a product that is clean, no frills, and easy-peasy to operate. 

Dodge Ram Logo
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Would Dodge Ram appeal to their target audience’s personality if their branding was magenta and white? Not likely: “Grab life by the horns,” and “Guts. Glory. Ram,” are slogans, but they are also elements of the brand’s persona, and that persona is not a fan of magenta. Generally, Dodge’s logo, the ram’s head, is silver and chrome on black–clean, stark, and to the point, as if it were machine-stamped into steel. It speaks to the rugged personality of Dodge Ram and its audience.

VS Pink Logo
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On the opposite spectrum of personalities, Victoria’s Secret introduced their line Pink in order to target a young female market. Naturally, as the name insinuated, the brand used pink as their chief color. Is pink the go to color for, as their website says, “comfy, effortlessly cool wear and accessories”? Not necessarily. Their site often uses pink an accent or font on a neutral, black background, but even its subtle presence hints at youth and vitality (Victoria’s Secret’s target audience)—think exuberance, passion, and flushed cheeks. It reaches beyond the realm of color and into personality. 

Remember Tommy Tutone

867-5309? No, just an admittedly poor segue way into the dual lives of color. How can one color sing in two-tones? Simple–because there are negative and positive associations with each color. 

Green with envy or nausea? Then why are environmental efforts suggesting I “go green”? As we said before, choosing your colors based on the popular psychology of the color isn’t always the most trustworthy way. Each color conveys multi-dimensional messages. Eco-friendly brands will usually adopt a green label. John Deere’s agricultural brand uses green on yellow. Think Animal Planet and Whole Foods—green and more green, but nonetheless very different brands.

John Deere Logo
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So, if nature is your game, then green seems to help establish that personality, but more importantly, it is a color that audiences expect for such a product. In 2000, BP adopted their sunflower/sunburst logo to showcase their eco-friendly approach to varied fuel sources.

BP Logo
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Let’s jump across the spectrum here. Seeing red? Red is in the realm of anger, danger, and seduction. It is arresting—stop signs, red lights, the red dress of the femme fatale. Why, then, can brands like Coca Cola and Target use red with such success? That’s because the other side of red is excitement, boldness, and cheerfulness.

Coca Cola
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The bottom line is to figure out the personality you want to convey, and then look at what works in culture, nature, and classic brands (keep in mind green ketchup and crystal Pepsi). Don’t be afraid to run a test or two. Put some buttons on your webpage with different colors and take note of which buttons your page’s visitors clicked. Or, get your t-shirts printed with two tests logos and leave them out as freebies—see which demo takes which design. Once you get color down, you’ll be smooth sailing into constructing your design.

60-30-10: Finding Balance in Your Design

Color Balance
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Once you get an idea of what color scheme will best convey your brand, think about the 60-30-10 rule. This rule offers the best and most time-tested advice: 60% background, 30% base, and 10% accent. The living room design shown above offers us a visual example. In the midst of the beige background, and the white base, the yellow-green accents in the wall add just a enough color to make the otherwise neutral room look hip. Think about that green wall when designing your logo, website, or t-shirt design. What do you want your customer to look at, click on, or remember? Keep accents in mind for this purpose.

It may take trail-and-error and patience, but once you bring your knowledge of colors and color combinations together, you’ll have a design that pops in no time.

9 T-Shirts Every New Yorker Will Understand

New Yorker T-Shirts

Frank Sinatra was right when he said if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. New York City is a wonderful place, but it can also be exhausting, overwhelming, and downright tough. Most New Yorkers will admit that they have a love-hate relationship with the city. Some people stay for years, some stay for months. Regardless, once you have lived here you realize that the city changes you. Here are nine t-shirts that every New Yorker will appreciate:

1. For the days when you just want to drink

Drink Champagne T-Shirt

We all have those days. Your morning commute took forever, you forgot your umbrella at home, the barista got your order wrong…the common tale of city living. When all else fails, there are always happy hour specials to look forward to. Drink champagne, or beer, or tequila, or whatever tickles your fancy!

2. For the times when you’re traveling somewhere outside of New York City

New York City Tee
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You’re heading to your hometown for your college friend’s bridal shower. You purposely find a cool outfit to wear to the local supermarket so you come off as New York-chic as possible when your former classmates see you. You want to have pride in your city, without looking like a tourist in a ‘I Love NY’ shirt–you have to look like a New Yorker. This is your go-to. Black on white, minimal, and New York-cool.

3. For the weekend

Weekends are for Brunch

From theater shows to high-end shops, tourists flock to New York because it arguably has the best of everything there is. Yes, while New York is great at whatever it does, brunch has to be one of its strongest suits. Brunch is a staple in every New Yorker’s diet and social life–we thrive for bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and tasty hollandaise sauce on a Sunday. When someone in New York asks what you’re doing over the weekend and you say “Brunch,” you can expect them to laugh and say, “Oh, of course. Me too.”

4. For nostalgia’s sake

CBGB T-Shirt
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Ask any New Yorker who was fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) enough to live in New York City in the 1990s, and they will tell you all about CBGBs. The East Village club was arguably the birth place of punk. New York City is constantly changing–sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse–so it’s no surprise that the club closed in 2013, but you can still be sure to spot New Yorkers paying homage to the iconic music venue with this classic shirt.

5. For the dreamer

Wake Me Up When I'm Famous Tee
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New York City is the city of dreams. People don’t move to this crowded, expensive, and competitive city for the hell of it. People come here with a dream, and more often than not, those dreams are in show biz–whether it be film, theater, or music. Pursuing any of these dreams is hard work, and sometimes you just need a day off. This shirt is perfect for the days when you’re hungover and really don’t want to go to that 6 A.M. audition.

6. For laundry day

Nothing To Wear Tee
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Ask any New Yorker about how difficult getting laundry done can be and you will get the same disgruntled answer. Most New Yorkers aren’t blessed with a having washing machine in their building,  much less in their apartment. Doing laundry can be an all day task, especially if you’re a procrastinator. This t-shirt is ideal for the days when you are down to your last clean outfit, and let’s everyone know that tomorrow is the day you’ll be making the long haul to the laundry mat. 

7. For your friends who live in the boroughs.

Commute T-Shirt
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You live in Manhattan and your friend lives in Astoria, Queens. You rarely see each other because you both think the commute is too long. Sure, you like Astoria just fine, but ugh! As if the journey to get there isn’t long enough, it’s going to take you an hour to get home! Your friend will argue and say that her commute is easier because it only takes her 30 minutes to get to Union Square. The argument just goes in circles.

8. For when you’re just not feeling social.

Iced Coffee T-Shirt
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New Yorkers get the reputation of being rude. While this may be true for some New Yorkers, most of us are actually very nice. We’re just in a hurry because we have somewhere to be and we don’t have time for small talk. But, once in a while it can be fun play up the stereotype. Why not don a shirt that will ward off the tourists?

9. For when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Well-Dressed Tee
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As we mentioned earlier, New York City can be tough. It’s competitive, crowded, expensive…the list goes on. However, appearance is very important to New Yorkers. We may be stressed, broke, and depressed but you bet your bottom dollar that we will still look fabulous in any one of these t-shirts.

The Art of Self Promotion: Making Your Craft Marketable and Social

Self Promotion Banner

To the Starving Artist

As of now, food, money, and notoriety may only exist in your dreams. You’ve been honing in on your craft for quite some time, and produced some pretty great work along the way. As you know, however, producing great work is only half of the job. Another challenging and vital part of getting your artistic career off the ground is making sure you strategically offer your artwork to the right people in the right place. Yes, we’re talking about marketing, friends, or in your case, self-promotion. It just might be that the only thing cramping your artistic success is your promotional medium.

Artistic Self-Promotion
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Where is Your Audience?

Girl on Computer
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The first thing to think about is who is going to appreciate your art most, and where you’ll find them. Do not get frustrated by your stagnant online store. Promoting one’s art, no matter the form, was once a social affair, taking place in gallery exhibits, open mic readings, and consignment shops. Today, the cocktails, berets, and clouds of cigarette smoke have been lost to mouse clicks and scrolling. In the modern world, your audience is no longer captive, but free to click away from your page at any second. 

Advertising your hand-knit, medieval battle landscapes or poetry chapbook is expensive. Social media helps, but there are arguments out there that we have lost all things social through technology—the term social media nothing but an oxymoronic dirge for the lost art of socializing. You are reading this on a blog, right? Carpet-bombing social media with a photo print you want to sell from your photography website can be hit or miss. While your audience may be on social media, even that may not be the best place to reach them.

Which platform are you on? 

Train Platform
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Just because we are shifting into a more digital world, doesn’t mean the social interactions we have day-to-day aren’t extremely valuable, especially when it comes to something as influential as artwork. Have you considered promoting your work on the subway platform? No, we’re not kidding. Think of your commute on the subway or bus; your stroll through the mall or waiting in line at the coffee shop; and your workout at the gym or shopping at the grocery. Most days, the average Joe or Jane will get more views in those places than on Facebook or Twitter.

So, where is the audience for your charcoal sketches, graffiti masterpieces, and poetic musings? They are with you on the train, at the gym, on the barstool next to you, or behind you in line at the coffee shop. Presumably, you spend your time with likeminded people.

The Heavy Question

Lifting Weights
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What does that mean when it comes to marketing?  Surely you are not carrying around your latest charcoal sketch or haiku on your commute to work. And you’re probably not showing off a new photograph to a fellow shopper while picking up some gluten-free pancake mix. Is there a better way to show off your new haiku other than reciting it at the gym between squats?

Yes, there is a better way to promote your art.

We’ll give you a hint 

What is one of the first things people see when they look at you in public? Your outfit. Your clothes show the world a little bit about you at first glance, and make for an excellent artist’s canvas. Your art is who you are, and there are so many ways to show it. T-shirts, hats, tote bags, and hoodies–you get them with your gym membership, your new bank account, and through promotions at the local bar. There are endless opportunities for mobile, wearable, logo-riddled swag. 

Photographers

Camera & Photographs
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If you want eyes on your latest and most-favorite print, why not emblazon it across your chest? You’re proud of your art, so show it off. Instead of counting clicks on your blog, you can count shoulder taps and, “Hey, where did you get that hoodie?” ‘s. Better yet, you can follow them up by slipping your admirers the business card with your photography web site and online store address. 

Painters

Painting Tote
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Your watercolor on the back wall of the coffee shop may not be selling, but printed on the side of your tote bag as you walk the aisles of the grocery store, it is sure to catch some glances.  Now your art has function while you are self-promoting. It feels, somehow, a little less shameful than a Twitter blitz.

Poets

Writer's Journal
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Think outside the chapbook: “Hey, I love the stanzas printed on your six panel baseball hat.” Yes, it sounds crazy, but gosh, someone is reading your work! That last rejection from the literary magazine doesn’t feel so heavy now. 

Whatever your choice in artistic medium, adding a tangible and functional dimension will not only promote your art, but give you a more marketable product—perhaps a new form of income to supplement your future creations. The creative form or medium doesn’t matter, so long as you keep it social. Starving artist no more? Maybe. You just don’t know until you try! 

The Top Ten Hip Hop Logos of All Time

Hip Hop Logos Banner

From the time Run-DMC hit the scene with their classic block logo three decades ago, to the popularity of Tech N9ne’s Strange Music gear today, hip hop has produced some of the most iconic, striking, and memorable logos in the history of the music business. Rap groups like Naughty by Nature and Wu-Tang Clan were early adopters of the idea of selling merchandise to fans directly, and in the process, turned their logos into instantly recognizable images of the era that still resonate with fans today.

Strong branding, that ability to create products that match the music, and continuous appeal to fans is more important than ever in today’s Internet era. In a world where selling music is a thing of the past, musicians need to supplement their income any way possible. 

Hip hop is responsible for some of the most classic artist logos of the last several decades, and while almost all rappers visually brand themselves to some extent, here are 10 of the best to ever do it:

10.  A Tribe Called Quest

Tribe Called Quest Logo
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A Tribe Called Quest hit the scene in the late 80s with a jazz-influenced sound, a laid-back vibe, and an affiliation with the Native Tongues crew. They immediately became popular with hip hop heads, suburban kids, and college radio DJ’s alike. In 1991, ATCQ’s second album, The Low End Theory, featured the first appearance of the logo that would define the band for the next 25 years. 

The logo, as seen above, featured playfully-drawn stick figures, each representing one of the original four members who appear to be on some kind of “quest.” The logo also features the red, black, and green color combination that was popular among Afrocentric artists of the time.  The solid emblem truly gained ‘classic’ status over the next few years, as it was seamlessly worked into three of the most memorable album covers of the 90s. The Low End Theory (1991), Midnight Marauders (1993), and Beats, Rhymes & Life (1996) all featured the original design, in increasingly elaborate layouts. Collectively, these album covers elevated the original logo to its current popular state, which is still being sold on t-shirts, stickers, and hats today–almost two decades after ATCQ disbanded in 1998. 

9. Naughty by Nature

Naughty By Nature Logo
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In the early 90s, Naughty by Nature found out that not only were a ton of people “Down with OPP,” they were also down with buying the band’s logo on everything, from t-shirts to bedsheets.  The most notable rappers to emerge from East Orange, New Jersey will most likely be remembered for a string of party anthems including “OPP” and “Hip-Hop Hooray”, but they should be equally credited as being one of the first urban acts to truly capitalize on producing, marketing, and distributing their own merchandise directly to fans. 

The logo itself is fairly simple, featuring the band’s name in a font that could be written either by a child (invoking the “naughty” part of the name) or an adult psychopath (more in line with lead rapper Treach’s image). The hand-drawn baseball bat reflects the one the band would carry on stage during shows. The logo was so popular as the group’s star rose in the early 90s that they decided to cut out the middle man and start Naughty Gear to make band merchandise. They soon began selling their rabid fans any merchandise they could possibly brand: t-shirts, sheets, comforters, towels, etc. This model became the prototype for every group attempting to capitalize on their logo, from Wu-Tang’s Wu-Wear in the mid-90s, to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music conglomerate today, and everything in between.  It’s safe to say that without Naughty Gear the entire landscape of urban music marketing would look different today.

8. Eminem

Eminem Logo
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The best logos don’t have to be elaborately designed by the world’s greatest artists, but they do have to be recognizable, memorable, and unique to the artist. Eminem accomplished all of this, despite arguably having the most basic logo on this list. 

By using the font commonly associated with an eye chart and reversing the second “E” on the artwork for his 2000 release The Marshall Mathers LP, Slim Shady finally had a logo that matched his unmistakable personality. The font related to his constant references to the medical profession (mental institutions, pharmaceutical drugs, etc.) and the backwards “E” became as identifiable with Eminem as the red & yellow “S” was with Superman. 

7.  Outkast

Outkast Logo
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Outkast exploded on the hip hop scene in 1994, armed with a logo that immediately let the general public know they were bringing something new to the table.  The artwork features the band’s unique spelling inside a slightly modified version of the Cadillac emblem. Their logo signified that, while the rest of the map was obsessed with foreign luxury cars (Acura, Lexus, Mercedes, etc.), the “Dirty South” was still into America’s original luxury vehicle. 

Over the next decade, Outkast would release five classic albums that all featured the original logo in some capacity–an impressive feat, considering how unique each cover is compared to the others.  The band would eventually experiment with alternative images (most notably an “O” with wings on their short-lived clothing brand), but the original Cadillac-inspired logo remains the one most fans remember as their introduction to Southern hip hop. 

6. Roc-a-Fella

Roc-a-Fella Logo
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While Roc-a-Fella was technically a record label, it was also the name of Jay-Z and business partner Damon Dash’s clique. Debuting in the mid-90s, the label/crew’s logo featured imagery associated with both classic hip hop, and the generational wealth of the label’s namesake. The vinyl represented many DJs’ music during the era, the elegant cursive “R” looked like it came from the original Rockefellers, and the champagne bottle was the symbol of urban youth aspiring to higher levels of wealth and influence. 

Jay-Z’s first recordings were released on the Roc-a-Fella imprint and as the artist and label ascended to near ubiquity in pop culture, the logo became a symbol of the kind of success possible for urban entrepreneurs and the entire hip hop generation.

5. Cypress Hill

Cypress Hill Logo
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Cypress Hill was one of the first hip hop acts to rely on touring and merchandise sales for the majority of their income. By taking this cue from rock bands, they have remained a force in the music business for over 25 years and probably have more money than your favorite rapper. 

The logo incorporated a slightly more “rock-n-roll” look than most graphics on this list, which made it appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers that might not normally be interested in rap music.  The group expanded on the idea over the next few years by putting out albums by their Soul Assassin compatriots House of Pain and Funkdoobiest that featured unmistakable branding and logos still worn by fans today. 

For proof of how successful Cypress Hill’s marketing plan has been, go to any of their sold out concerts and check out the long line at the merchandise table. There are not many rap groups that debuted during the first Bush administration that can say that. 

4.  Strange Music

Strange Music Logo
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Kansas City’s Tech N9ne has dominated the Midwest rap scene for most of the 2000s with an aggressive merchandising campaign which allows fans to buy everything from winter coats to underwear with the Strange Music logo. The label’s name was inspired by classic rock band The Doors and the graphic features a snake in the shape of an “S” and a bat in the shape of an “M.”  The logo and much of the merchandise looks more heavy metal than hip hop, but by sticking to the aesthetic for well over a decade, Strange Music as carved out a niche in hip hop merchandising that is as recognizable as any brand in the business. 

Clearly influenced by Cypress Hill’s business model (see #5), Strange Music has become the most successful independent label in hip hop history. By supplying their hardcore supporters with an endless stream of quality releases and varied merchandise, Tech N9ne and his business partner Travis O’Guin have quietly created one of the biggest empires in the music business. 

3.  Public Enemy

Public Enemy Logo
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Strong stenciled letters. An iconic name. A B-Boy (break dancer) in the crosshairs of a gun. Is anything else really necessary?

Public Enemy has been making politically charged and socially conscious music for four decades. While frontman Chuck D. has rapped about hundreds of topics, the band’s classic logo has always stayed the same. Before becoming an MC, Chuck D. studied graphic design and was instrumental in the design of his band’s logo. The emblem has clearly stood the test of time and is arguably just as relevant in the current political climate as it was when it debuted in the 80s. 

Public Enemy merchandise has always been popular as a symbol of protest. It has also been worn by diverse individuals such as Edward Furlong in the blockbuster T2: Judgment Day and Guns-n-Roses lead singer Axl Rose. PE gear is stills somewhat popular in the U.S., but sells even better overseas where the band continues to tour extensively. 

2. Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan Logo
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Few bands have ever attacked the music scene the way Wu-Tang Clan did in the 90s. Their assault included a classic debut album, solo albums from several individual members, a clothing line, a video game, limited edition sneakers, skateboard decks, and as much crossover success as any hardcore NYC rap group of all time. In the center of all of this was the iconic “W” that remains one of the most archetypal logos in all of music. 

Simple in design, but powerful in impact, the “W” was eventually used in several incarnations to represent the individual members (upside down as an “M” for Method Man, Sideways as a “G” for The GZA), but always remained a symbol of the mighty clan from Staten Island that emerged “up from the 36 chambers” and took over hip hop. 

The logo remains popular today, and is even sold on t-shirts in chain stores like Hot Topic and Target to a whole new generation that still knows “Wu-Tang is for the children.” 

1. Run-DMC

Run DMC Logo
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It’s widely accepted that Run-DMC ushered in a new era of hip hop. It should also be acknowledged that with their classic logo design, they ushered in a whole new era of hip hop marketing.  The logo was bold, brash, simple, and most importantly, strong. Whereas earlier rappers tried to soften their image and align their sound and branding with the world of disco and R&B, Run-DMC went in the complete opposite direction and proudly displayed their connections to NYC’s punk rock and graffiti scenes. 

The logo was such a hit during Run-DMC’s run in the 80s, that eventually Adidas picked them up as their first non-athlete endorser and put Run-DMC merchandise (sweat suits, t-shirts, and of course, Shell Toe Sneakers) in malls across America. This intersection of music and merchandise would be repeated countless times over the next several decades, best exemplified in Adidas’s 2015 collaboration with Kanye West that produced one of the most sought after shoes of the decade. 

Run-DMC brought hip hop to the mainstream in an unprecedented manner, and their logo and partnership with Adidas still remains one of the most important moments in music history over three decades later. 

5 Classic Baseball Tees To Help You Swing Into Spring Training

Classic Baseball Tees Banner

Pull out your cleats, caps, and mits from winter storage–things are heating up. Spring training is officially on and that means your favorite players have just flown south to stretch their legs in preparation for the 2016 MLB season. While April is still a couple of months away, your team is gearing up and preparing for another stellar year, and you can’t neglect your duties as their number one fan. Rally the troops, split up those tickets you bought, and most importantly, break out those baseball t-shirts. 

With baseball season here, it’s time to get pumped for the most American thing America has ever produced. We’ve rounded up some shirts to help you show your spirit, no matter which team you’re rooting for.

Brooklyn Dodgers

Brooklyn T-Shirt
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Sporting a tee for the Brooklyn Dodgers is a great way to show your love for the sport without having to worry about getting into an argument over wearing the wrong team’s colors. Named after the residents who had to skillfully avoid the trolley cars of the city, the Dodgers were a part of the major leagues for over 70 years on the East Coast before moving across the country. In 1947 they signed Jackie Robinson on as the first African American baseball player our country ever had. Who knows where the sport would be today without Brooklyn’s legacy?

LOVE Baseball

LOVE Baseball T-Shirt
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Nothing says you love baseball like wearing a shirt that literally spells it out. This t-shirt shows your allegiance to the sport but saves you the trouble of buying the jersey of a player who will get traded midseason. We might have a little extra affection for this design since it is modeled after the LOVE Park sign from our hometown Philadelphia, but regardless, there’s something to be said for wearing your emotions on your sleeve…or your chest.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox T-Shirt
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Okay, so we aren’t all Red Sox fans. In fact, a lot of us probably actively root against the team, but there is no denying that they are a quintessential part of American baseball and have been for a long time. An official team since 1901, the Red Sox are a symbol of patriotism and athleticism (most years at least) that have stood over a century. Plus, their home stadium, Fenway Park, is arguably the most famous in the country, and is a huge tourist destination in Boston .

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Baseball Diamond T-Shirt
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Baseball might be a little lacking when it comes to including females in the game, but that doesn’t mean girls can’t make for diehard fans. This shirt is great for showing off that America is filled with women who are NOT content to sit idly in the stands and ask what the score is every 10 minutes. Expect anyone sporting this design to show off some serious girl power, to scream at the umpire louder than the guy next to her, and to be the first one to jump up and high-five the rest of the crowd when her team scores.

MLB

MLB T-Shirt
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Finally, let’s not forget about the organization that keeps all of our competing teams together–Major League Baseball. Even though cities participate in either the American League or National League, every team–including those in the minors–are overseen by MLB. It’s older than the governing bodies for our country’s other major sports–football, hockey, and basketball–and it is most certainly a historical part of American heritage. 

So there you have it. Prepare to gear up, game on, and get ready for another awesome baseball season. And don’t forget the overpriced peanuts and Cracker Jack!

Visit us at RushOrderTees.com or call (800) 620-1233.