Designing Better Than I Deserve

Designing Better Than I Deserve was an interesting process. For this shirt I knew I wanted the typography to be more raw and organic to reflect the meaning behind the design. While I can visualize some concepts fairly quickly, others go through many rounds of exploration before I arrive at a solution that I’m happy with.

Here are some of my initial thumbnail sketches and ideas. There were things that I’d like about some of these concepts but none of them seemed to hit the mark right away.

I first experimented with simple hand-drawn type and playing around some extreme width variation for each word. While I liked the simplicity, this composition was putting too much emphasis on the “I” which was not where I wanted the focus of the message to be.

I continued to push my ideas around a little more.

Next I tried a custom script. While there were some interesting things happening with this, the script just didn’t seem to fit this concept and I was struggling with the flow of the letters and overall balance.

The finished version is a actually combination of several of my original ideas. I kept the word “Better” in a simplified script style so that it would remain the focal point of the design. I still liked the idea of varying weights for each word so I used two different styles for “than I” and “deserve.” This created a solid base shape and anchored the composition.

Then I scanned all of the hand-drawn type and did some minor cleanup and adjustments in Photoshop. Rather than precisely trace the letters in Illustrator, I left small imperfections and irregularities to keep the organic hand-drawn qualities of the design.

Finally, I chose a color scheme and shirt material that I would also add to the organic “vintage” style of the design. Though the process took a bit longer on this one, I’m really happy with the finished result.

If you want to read more about my design process check out this post on how I created There’s More To Life.