Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Let your t-shirt do the talking

The top trend for 2013 in the t-shirt world was the bold one word message. The irony adorning chests up and down the country became nauseatingly predictable. From self proclaimed Geek to the more edgy NERD we have grown accustomed to see a big bold one word message cover the chest of people on every high street from London to John o Groats. 

The cult band t-shirt saw a revival this year that perhaps would have had original fans wondering why all these kids wearing a Ramones t-shirt were dancing to One Direction. When a bands so famous that their clothes are outselling their music you have to start hating fashion. A music t-shirt must be earned, either through the ear bleeding dedication of a repeat loop of a favourite album on your Walkman (sorry couldn't bring myself to promote that piece of fruit company) or from your own attendance at an earth shatteringly greatest night of your life at a sticky floored venue surrounded by more sweat that a Sumo referee.

Finally we must give a nod to the genius who thought this year would be a great time to make superhero logos cool. I mean for generations it has been the shunned past time of the comic book collector to wear the logo under their school shirt, you know just in case. Now we can see Batman, Superman, more Batman and maybe a Captian America logo feature on t-shirts and crop tops in the fashion boutiques of Soho to the bargain aisles of Asda.

Whats hot for 2014

Getting political in the UK will be unavoidable given the current financial meltdown and potential end of a 300 year old Union of Scotland and England. Political t-shirts are great for getting your message across without having to enter the potentially difficult conversations you may have. But beware because if you end up pictured next to Barack Obama in a George Bush t-shirt the snipers may take you out!

Being unique in a world where clothing is made in the thousands by overworked impoverished labour in terrible condition is hard. The rise of personalization will tap into the backlash about globalization and the rejection of uniformity in our society. People aspire to be cool, to be cool you need to lead the pack and get away from the mass produced t-shirts of our low cost providers.

Each year boundaries get blurred between decent and not, from the early days of girls dancing  in leggings to the naked riding of a wrecking ball pop culture has consistentyl tried to push the boundaries. A natural progression from the GEEK chic of 2013 will see the more offensive side of self proclamation of geekary. 

Whatever next year holds, just remember that the 8inch squared window of your chest should be a reflection of your personality, not the personality that society dictates should be cool. Make a New Year's resolution to be more you!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Destination T-Shirts - Tourist tat or Love that?

Certain times in your life you find money burning a hole in your pocket, those last few days on holiday where you buy all the tat you can find just to get rid of the money. Rather than stick it in a tip to the overworked maid we rush around buying all wonders of rubbish to bring back to our loved ones. From 'hand' crafted wooden statues to hats with destinations we find any excuse to part ourselves from that hard earned cash.

Over my thirty years on this planet I have received a number of bad t-shirts, from the ridiculous to the just plain pointless. On any given sunny day you just walk around a housing estate and see hundreds of amateur gardeners wearing a random collection of destination t-shirts, from New York to Mexico they are used as the rubbish "get it dirty" t-shirt. The main reason these t-shirts are crap is because someone else gave you it, they actually bought you a momento of the place you didn't go. The adventure and amazing people are second hand you need to forge your own memories, buying the t-shirt from that crazy little shop you found is all part of that experience. So what are the best ways to cement that holiday:

Place Names

The most common type of destination t-shirt is of course a place name t-shirt. Simple and self explanatory these t-shirts showcase where you have been and the more unusual the better. Hard Rock Cafe began a huge trend with their restaurants all around the world featuring the place name and familiar logo. Like all trends it meant the more familiar a place name the less kudos you got for having traveled there. So the key to a good Place Name t-shirt is actually in finding the place that nobody else has been, or perhaps even heard of.

Local Sayings

Being in a foreign country can be exciting and any form of language barrier even if it is just the local slang can provide a good source of conversation. During my time printing t-shirts I often find much hilarity in the arrival of Australians to my sleepy little town of Dunbar. Locally known as 'Sunny Dunny' this conjures up thoughts of a well light toilet for many travelers from down under. The Sunny Dunny t-shirt is a must have for those who discover the rich history of the birth place of the great John Muir and the sunniest place in Scotland.


Being ironic is an art form in the UK, t-shirts with ironic sayings are  very common, but finding them especially in the US is a difficult task. They just don't get irony. So what makes a great ironic t-shirt, the double bluff? or perhaps a simply statement of non fact? Well the beauty of it is most t-shirts are relatively straight forward, so people will be confused if irony is in play or not.

Just Plain Weird
We all love the random nature of life and purchasing a destination t-shirt which is so strange you just got to have it is a great way to tell a story from your travels, one that might keep the audience engaged for all of fifteen seconds. Local politics and strange habits will be the most common strange t-shirts that nobody outwith the local area will get. Perhaps a misplaced t-shirt, like finding a Golden Eagle emblazoned t-shirt in a back alley of Iraq. You find the more remote the destination the more likely you are to find an unusual item. On a trip to John O Groats (the tip of mainland UK for those not hot on geography) a friend of mine discovered a 'golliwog' which used to feature as a character on jam jars but were rightly taken out of public sale due to their racist connotations. The shop keeper was astonished to find they actually sold them but happily sold the doll to my friend. That kind of unusual item carries a lot of value, not because of the value of the actual item but because of the story it comes with.

All the examples are from our back catalogue of printed tops made for numerous tourists from all over the globe. Scottish T-shirts are hugely popular with tourists, featuring tartan writing or simply celebrating the place they are visiting you can find something for everyone.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

5 of the Best Delivery Methods

All this talk about unmanned drones delivering your box set of the vampire diaries may have captured the imagination of those that like to think of a Futurama style society with all the tech you can imagine, but in fact cool delivery systems have been around for a long time. Ever since man discovered they didn't have to go and get something themselves they have invented more and more ways to get things brought direct to them with little effort and in funny ways. I can think of plenty of things I'd rather do deliveries than a rather flimsy helicopter so let's take a bit of a trip through history.

Medieval Messengers

So the first form of message delivery was to get someone of lower standing than yourself to go and deliver your letter, parcel or present. This was always a rubbish job, you spent most of your life living in fear that you may be delivering a rather nasty message which would lead to you being shanked like a freshly spitroasted chicken. The job was reserved for fit young men who could ride a horse and handle the treacherous and often brutal conditions on the journey. Lets face it, if it wasn't for civilisation and the human rights act we'd all love to have our own messengers, sending someone out into the pissing rain by horse to deliver your message may reduce the number of times you get a ONE WORD TEXT!


 This cut out the middle man, using electricity to save your legs by then it did end up being painfully annoying to have to go to a centrally connected place to send a message. Not much use to the outliers of the electric revolution. It was the basis for much of communication for decades and spawned a whole new world, in essence it was the first remote form of communication that could actually spell out words. Of course making a correction was a ball ache and you couldn't use sarcasm for fear of being misunderstood.

Pizza Delivery Bikes

During the 80's I believed that Pizza delivery was the sole job of any teenager who had a crap moped. In reality I have never had a pizza delivered by moped but that may have something to do with my living in the UK, the films I watched were always from Hollywood and the Yanks have some insane laws about letting kiddies drive cars on the actual fracking road! Still it appears this form of delivery lives on in the world of pornography, each teenager accepting the crap rates of pay in the hope of a flash from a gorgeous girl. In reality your more likely to be bitten by a rabid dog but good luck!


Owls have been very popular since Hogwarts shot their usefulness as delivery beasts into the public domain. Now the official ring bearers of many a wedding the life of an owl has become a commodity. More so we see that a rather forward thinking organisation like Waterstones has taken this opportunity to begin training owls to deliver books, after all an owl is much more exciting that an ex-US army drone that has been decommissioned but may still have that base programming to destroy all human life. If you want to read the announcement from Waterstones I suggest you visit the Q&A but remember they only just though of it this morning.

3D Printing

The idea behind this is actually that why should you have things delivered. Firstly the most ordered products from Amazon are CDs, DVDs and books, whats wrong with people, you can download or stream any of those things virtually and completely neutralise your carbon footprint! The eventual idea behind 3D printing is that you will be able to have a replicator in your own home to produce anything you can find the blueprints for on Google. So man reaches a new age of not ever having to even interact with someone ringing your doorbell, GREAT, YAY FOR HUMANITY!