Family Reunion T-Shirt Design
My family gets together for our big reunion only every few years, meaning not everyone remembers who is who. So, I decided to make a reunion t-shirt to bring us all together.
Jun - Aug 2016
Pen and Paper
While talking about the upcoming reunion, I quickly realized some of us struggled to remember everyone in our extended family. I thought perhaps if we had something with everyone's names, then it would be easier for everyone to picture and explain where they were in the family tree when we got together. I ran the idea of a t-shirt by some relatives and they loved it, so I set off to design a shirt that everyone in my family would feel represented us and loved to wear.
How I Did It
People in my family are very lovable, but also very opinionated, so I knew to be successful I needed a core group of 'stakeholders' early on. To start I drafted several different ideas for the design based on the ideas I collected from my stakeholder group, then iterated on the idea that people connected to the most: two trees and a hammock. For my family, that perfectly symbolized the feelings of relaxation, connectedness, and nostalgia that come to mind when thinking of past reunions.
Meanwhile, I prepped my data: the names and groupings of family members. I both diagrammed and tabulated it, and I contacted everyone to check spellings with all of my family members to prevent mispells (to be honest, a few still snuck in!).I ideated on how to visualize the naming in a tree structure... or on a tree.
I continued to iterate on the details of the tree: how would names be laid out? What would the roots be doing? How would placement affect meaning? I wanted to convey a sense of love, togetherness, and a 2 layered viewership of the design based on distance: far away you could see the tree and hammock motif, but up close you could see the details of the names, words, and heart-root details.
I inked out my crystallized idea and edited it in Illustrator using a wacom tablet. I thought perhaps I was done, but feedback from the family said it looked like 2 weird sea creatures - not trees. I changed the roots to be more rootlike and drew in leaves to fill out the tree branches.
I took the design through a final round of feedback, and my stakeholders all 'signed off.' Next I coordinated all communication to the extended family members, worked with a print shop to make sure the design would look great on a shirt, and when I got all the sizes in from my family I placed the order.
At the reunion I handed out the shirts and watched as people found their names and used the shirt when talking to others about our family and who they were. I couldn't have been happier that our shirts were a hit - and a great keepsake till the next time our reunion rolls around.