What are the most beloved paintings in the world? Mona Lisa? Starry Night? Girl with a Pearl Earring?
As someone who has never taken an art history or art appreciation course and can't doodle much more than a balloon and maybe a two-story house if I'm really feeling the creative muse, I really don't know much about fine art, but I've been around enough to know which paintings are in the painting hall of fame, if there was such a thing.
But what do they have in common? The beauty isn't in the subject as much as it is in the craft and the detail of how it was made rather than what was made. Mona Lisa and Girl with a Pearl Earring are simple human subjects and Starry Night is of, well, a starry night, one of the most beautiful common denominators the human race can share. This idea can go for any trade really; gardeners try to make the prettiest and most colorful garden. Musicians make pleasing melodies, not new sounds. When Ron Swanson won the award for "Best Chair" from the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association, he didn't win because he reinvented the chair. He made a beautiful chair.
I think the same can be said for our new line of t-shirts. No, I am not comparing a Texas State shirt to the Mona Lisa or Ron Swanson's chair, "Chair", but the concept is similar. Rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel with new designs that no one has ever seen or a really unique conceptual design that only a few fans might enjoy, we are getting back to the basics in terms of designs.Through our monthly and quarterly sales reports, we've noticed that our best selling items are the most basic designs. The Spartan Helmet. The Texas State stacked logo. The West Point stacked logo. Great Lakes. So rather than go through the licensing process of designing something brand new, we're keeping it simple.
We are adding one-color prints of our best selling designs to our store, little by little. We have plenty of MSU one-colors that do really well, so why not offer the same for other schools, right? We've been beating the drum of "our shirts are softer than any other" for so long, but to a certain extent, college fans want to rep their college AND be comfortable, so we're pivoting. Well, not fully pivoting, but semi-pivoting. Pivoting like it's legal in basketball.
In my blog announcing the Fire Up Chips design, I spoke briefly about the new style of 100% cotton shirt that we are using. The 100% cotton shirts that we are now using offer much more flexibility in terms of colors, which is perfect for what our business is all about. Putting a Spartan Helmet on the wrong shade of green is just jarring (unless it's bright neon for the football team, then you get promoted), so we're opening up the options a little bit. The shirts are also not heathered, so the colors will appear slightly richer (a small difference, but noticeable when you look at it up close - to learn about the difference, check out this blog from Fabricated Customs).
And the final piece of the puzzle? The final sanding on Ron Swanson's chair, or brushstroke on Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is the ink. While we have limited power in selecting garment color, we have unlimited power in making ink colors, and that is where we are thriving. We are taking the college logos in their truest, one-color essence and putting them on more differently colored shirts than ever before.
Currently, we have printed the new one-color style for:
- Marquette (a beautiful goldenrod on a rich blue somewhere between royal and midnight)
- Liberty (simple white on the same blue)
- Loyola (a deeper gold than Marquette's on a maroon t-shirt
- Texas State (a true gold on the same maroon)
- CMU (the aforementioned Fire Up Chips design)
Look at how rich these colors are! We also have this same design on a charcoal t-shirt, but we wanted to let the colors speak for themselves for all of our universities. So if you're reading this and your favorite team wasn't one of the schools listed, don't worry! We are hard at work printing them.
As always, the same care and attention goes into every single shirt. Just because it's a simpler design doesn't mean we take it any less seriously. Are there any designs you want to see for your favorite school? We'd be happy to hear from you!