Birthday Tshirts as gifts

Over the years, I’ve ended up making gift custom tshirts for friends.  In each case, it started out as a “hey wouldn’t this be funny if…” type of scenario, and then actually going through with it.

The first one, which is actually the first gift shirt I’ve ever done, was for my good friend Alex for a surprise 30th birthday party.  We were visiting Montreal and our job was to keep Alex distracted while the restaurant was being set up.  When we walked in and could finally remove our coats, my girlfriend (now wife) could reveal the T-shirts we made for the occasion.


Upon showing Alex’s fiancée the design of Alex’s head over the Pittsburgh Penguin’s head, she mentions that she’d like one too and that they could use them for their engagement photos.  Both of them having shirts with his face on it seems uneven so I made a shirt for her based on her beloved Montreal Canadiens.


Glad that she had initials that worked.

The last birthday Tshirt gift, or shall I say, the latest, was for our friend Melissa.  She’s rather the baker and we wanted something cute that would reflect her creativity, friendly and welcoming disposition and, most importantly, something she would wear.


Soft dessert-inspired pallet using the the black on a white shirt to make the letters pop yet still seem soft.  Also, the caricature turned out fantastic, and I’m terrible at these typically.  The birthday shirt thing has become “a thing” amongst friends.  No, I don’t do it every year, just when it’s special.  In fact, Mel was hoping for a shirt.


Hamilton Steelers replica 1986

So I made a jersey.

The short version of the story is, the Hamilton Steelers is the reason why I have a love of soccer.  When they died, and ultimately the national league died, I reached across the pond for my fix.  The Steelers’ home stadium was 10 blocks away, Brian Timmis Stadium, a.k.a. Ivor Wynne’s parking lot, and I went to many games.

I always wanted a Steeler’s jersey as a kid, but what kid has $50 kicking around in 1991?  Not this one.  Anyways, I will forever have to settle for the next best thing… making one.

The first dilemma was recreating the logo.  I’m sure it was designed with the best intentions, but clearly symmetry and continuity were not on the menu as this appears to be drawn by hand.

Taken from Wikipedia

It was a labour of love/insanity, and a quest as a logo geek, that got me to this spot. Since I understood the logo to be hand drawn, I had to create my own word mark for the name “Steelers”.  Attempting to maintain the subtle serifs in the original mark, but have a consistency amongst the updated version, below is the finished product.

created by Mark HinkleyDownload the .zip file of the CS4 logo here.

I once did a re-imagining of the logo (which I will post in the future) but that’s because I’m clearly insane.  So once I did up the logo, it was time to recreate the jersey.  The design was based on the photo below.Hamilton Steelers team photo, circa 1986The yellow I took a Pantone book to an old programme that I still have and this is how it turned out.  The jersey cost me $85 to make.  Totally worth it for nostalgia’s sake.  Now humouring the idea of getting into the kit-making business.

DSCN9991 DSCN9978 DSCN9980

Do It For Suarez

One of my hobbies is writing match reports for a Toronto FC blog The Yorkies where I try to be ‘amusing’ as it takes the perspective of what goes on in the supporters end of the match.  When we’re bored, we make up stuff and amuse ourselves.  Nick Soolsma, who recently was released by the club, once gave an interview where the interviewer actually asked if he had any pets, which he admitted to owning a cat named Suarez. From there, cat references were fast and furious.  On a lark, I made the suggestion in twitter one day that we should make a shirt with the phrase “Do It For Suarez”, the completely fabricated legend that Soolsma only plays for the sake of his cat.  Once the shirt was made, some people actually purchased them and showed me the pics.  I think we made a whopping $1.20 commission on those…