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Monday, February 23, 2009

Interview with Paul Lancaster of The Tee Party

Paul and his wife Crystal have a great sense of style and humor. Their designs range from the artsy to the histerical. My personal favorite is one of their artsier pieces "Geisha". Look for many great things from these two fantastic people.

What inspired you to start designing tee shirts?
I’ve always loved wearing t-shirts but got fed up of the stuff on the high street. I always wanted to design my own but never thought that I had the creative know how. Then, the more I looked into it, the more I realized it’s easier than it seems.

How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been working with t-shirts for almost 3 years now, and I’ve been dabbling with graphic design a little longer than that.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Do it for the love of doing it, rather than doing it for the sake of making money. Make sure you know your style and the direction that you want to go in before you start. A lot of people starting out with t-shirts seem to look at what other companies are having success with and try to emulate it. Although you can emulate someone’s style, you can never emulate their passion and motivation, so you really have to know what motivates you and that is where real success comes from.

What style has worked best for you as a designer?
I have 2 contrasting design styles of minimalist clean solid lines, usually seen in my t-shirt designs, and the grungy sketchy look, as seen in the web design on TheTeeParty. I find with t-shirts, simple, random ideas always seem to end up being the most universally appealing.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?
I think our previous successes definitely inspire me to keep building on what we already have. In 5 years I see us as having either moved into being a true indie design company printing our own stuff by hand or printing selected designs through local screen printers. Also, as I get a lot of compliments on TheTeeParty setup, I am working on a side project to offer newbie spreadshoppers both premade and custom spreadshirt website integrations. I really enjoy website design and coding and I think that Spreadshirt has a great platform to offer people, but not everyone knows how to set up their own shop.

What is your favorite design?
Of ours, it is probably Best Friends that Crystal designed when we first started.

Who has been your biggest influence in your designs?
With doing Spreadshirt’s flex and flock printing methods, the size restrictions took some getting used to and Amorphia-Apparel's designs were definitely a big source of inspiration, in both content and to highlight what can be done with those print methods

What is your favorite design by another artist?
I love Glennz's stuff; his “Potato head is Dead” design for Threadless is one of my favorite all time t-shirt designs.

3 of my favorite designs: