“I was working for Quiksilver as a tee shirt designer.” Said Dean Bradley. “In the building late one night I began to hand-write the company name. Unfortunately in the script I liked most the letters “ver” were horrible. So I went to the font that never let’s me down (Helvetica Neue) and used it at the end, creating a syllable-tempo logo. Quik, Sil, Ver with the “ver” set in type, and the rest in hand.

Quiksilver logo design on hoody

“It was the best selling font for the company for three years, on all products, and was fun to watch accepted by the masses.

Quiksilver logo design on hoody

“A once in a lifetime accidental design, flawed to success.”

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August 28, 2009


In my experience, the best designs are sometimes the accidental ones thrown together when I’m frustrated and suffering from designer’s block. I’ve generally considered Quiksilver and its contemporaries (Billabong, Ripcurl etc.) to have quite boring designs, but their mass market appeal is definitely impressive. Personally I’m a lot more partial to the more exciting, individualised tee designs like those you can find on Design By Humans.

Hi Ian, I’ve never been overly fussed about t-shirts with witty or “fashionable” designs printed on. Call me boring, but give me a plain white number and I’m a happy chap.

I have to say I do love a good t-shirt. It’s like a work of art you can carry around on your chest! If I was a wealthy man, I’d probably collect them. I can respect your views though, they’re not for everyone.

Perhaps the Irish weather plays a role, too. And I do have sympathy for Dr Bruce Banner. Imagine every time he finds himself a nice shirt, only for the Hulk to make an appearance and ruin it.

I have always been surprised at how a simple mistake or a bump while sketching can make its way into a final design. When I first started designing I thought I needed to have a reason for every idea while brainstorming, but sometimes it is the unexpected that inspires us the most.

The accidental and unexpected flashes of inspiration and experimentation can reap the best results, the most difficult part is to have confidence in your instincts.
You have to carry on with the design and present it knowing you have no thought processes to back it up or justify it to a client. That’s the scary bit!
It’s all worth it when a client loves it and asks: “How did you come up with that?” Then you get to act all mysterious and just a little smug!

I LOVE mistakes and accidents. Thing with our disease is that to get something spot on you have to really work out all the intricacies and often labour over something, which for me leads to hating the final design because I become overly familiar with it. Accidents are great as you can look at the design and to some extent enjoy it more as though a nice piece of work by someone else, you can enjoy the fact that the design kinda took over in way.

Well, that’s what I think anyway.

T-shirts are my life!! Walking canvasses.

Ah, confidence, Ken. It’s as importance for us designers as it is a striker in front of goal. If you don’t like your work, how can you expect the client to?

Jeremy, Al, thanks for dropping in. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend (just winding down with a Guinness).

I’ve never spotted that before! Thanks for showing it!

This inspires me to mess around with handwritten/type or type/type combo’s. (Going to experiment a lot the upcoming months.)

Late to the game, but what I first saw was the way that the zip bisected the “S”, creating a “$”. Probably still appropriate!

Gotta love these necroposts. Think this owes a lot to the second-gen Stussy stuff. I believe sometimes when we’re tired or otherwise at our limit, we tap a different part of our subconscious. Personal experience dictates that some if that “brainspace” is inhabited by things we’ve absorbed – not deliberately, mind you. Still like the shirt. Who needs another statement tee? Blah.

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