Style Showcase: Bachata Thurs. + Kevin Ngo

Style Showcase. In a new series from, we are profiling perfect customer orders from the placement through reception. We’re human, so we’ve been known to make mistakes. But, not with these orders.

Kevin Ngo is a dancer, teacher, DJ, promoter, and an all around good guy. As a freshman at CSU Long Beach, salsa music found him and he loved it. Kevin started the CSULB Salsa Club and later taught dance to students throughout Southern California. He’s been sharing his love of dance and music for 17 years now.

After relocating to Philadelphia, Kevin immediately immersed himself into the local music scene. His most recent success is Bachata Thursdays. Named for the Dominican music genre, Bachata is the hottest Latin dance event in Philly. Hundreds of enthusiasts pack Lucha Cartel, the Old City Mexican bar and restaurant, every week to participate.

“A wonderful vibe,” as Kevin describes it, with “beautiful and friendly dancers.” There’s a free lesson and, typically, celebratory birthday dances alongside performances, contests, and shows. They play mostly bachata and salsa, and you’ll sometimes hear merengue, cha-cha, hustle, and reggaeton. This Thursday marks the two-year anniversary! It’ll be a party for sure.

What better way to celebrate the anniversary than with t-shirts? “This is our second year doing t-shirts with,” said Kevin, “and each time they sold out like hot cakes.”

For this year’s apparel choice, Kevin wanted 150 v-neck shirts that were lightweight with a smooth texture and a fashion cut. Ian Vaflor, one of our Product & Design Specialists, handled the order and selected Next Level “sueded” v-necks. We went with bright, bold colored shirts: hot pink and electric blue. The plan was to match the ink color of the logo to the alternate shirt.

Kevin asked me to create matching men’s and ladies’ designs, but not identical. He called for bold and colorful artwork, but didn’t want a lot of ink on the shirt. A shirt with less ink would be light and breathable, perfect for sweaty dancing.

He provided me with a photograph to work from, showing two dancers, along with the logos. Using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, I went to work assembling the graphic.

Based on this initial image, I created a stylized look for the design, with bold outlines for the dancing figures, and halftone using lines of white ink of white ink (rather than dots) to provide the shading of the photograph. Additionally, I added a gradient overlaying the outlines, which transitions from fluorescent yellow to fluorescent orange, gave the image an infusion of tropical color.

Working with the screening department—an important step between art and production—we made sure to assign the correct mesh counts. Getting mesh counts right is important: it monitors the amount of ink being deposited onto the shirt. Once we had the job setup, the screen printer, Ryan Buggy, ensured that the print was not too heavy and that all the colors popped.

It took a dozen employees to make this order happen, and, ultimately, everyone came together to make it a perfect order. At every step of the process, we ensured that not only quality and delivery speed were paramount, but also communication. Kevin’s order happened because of the combination of craft and effort. And it worked.

-Imri, aka “M”
Senior Graphic Designer, Art Dept

“There’s more going into make a great t-shirts than just printing, and they understand that. If you’re planning on doing promo shirts, I highly recommend” – Kevin Ngo

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