I will be posting my portfolio pieces here as I complete them.
It’s good to be your own target audience.
I am currently striving to market these custom LIFE Group shirts to youth pastors and group leaders who will be attending the massive 6000 person conference. I need to understand their perspective. I need to think like a youth pastor…..
Actually, that shouldn’t be all that difficult, as I peer up from my computer screen to see various junior high centric games, odd costumes, event posters, and countless shirts that remind me of my current position as youth pastor of Chippewa Alliance Church, a position I’ve held for 8 years now!
I am striving to make the often arduous task of getting custom shirts for groups a painless, easy affordable process. Thus I’ve created various design templates and mockups of all difference genres and styles that will hopefully appeal to youth groups from the Pacific Northwest to the Heartland of America to the East Coast and everywhere in between. It is incredibly simple to plug a name, church logo or anything else into the design!
I’ve wracked my brain for weeks, doing hours of research concerning design trends, apparel options and custom logo work. I’m trying to prepare myself for the deluge of youth groups clamoring for unique shirts that will enhance their identity and become a keepsake of a fun filled journey that they will remember for years to come.
I know that youth pastors need an easy process when it comes to getting shirts (they are already pulled in too many different directions, T-shirt aesthetics should not have to be one of them). They don’t want their kids to be embarrassed of the shirts that they order. They want options and the ability to add their unique elements to the apparel.
They’ll have to see these shirts for years to come as their leaders and students wear them to youth group, retreats and all nighters (and eventually have them sewed into quilts reminding them of those wonderful high school years).
They might as well be really, really cool!
I’ve realized through my interaction with those taking their students to LIFE that there has arisen a misconception concerning the LIFE Merchandise (that will be sold physically in the store in Kansas City) and the custom shirts that LIFEMERCH is designing and printing for groups. Many people believe that everything I’ve produced will only be available in the actual store, however that is not the case.
I had to find a way to convey that “Custom Group Shirts” means that I can create anything for the various groups headed to the LIFE Conference in July, it’s just a matter of preference for the leader as to what they want their shirt to look like. It’s incredibly easy to make the name of the group stand or to make “LIFE 2016” the focal point. It all becomes a question of taste and desired outcome.
Thus I polled a few Facebook Youth Pastor Groups to find some current, catchy youth group names circulating through the broader spectrum of Christianity today. I then spent quite a bit of time doing potential mock ups with those designs to show the varying styles that we can tap. I was trying to give a clear visual indication of the versatility that LIFEMERCH is capable of.
Hopefully this time investment pays off and the group leaders see the great shirts that their youth groups could be wearing to LIFE!
The enormity of the LIFEMERCH project is daunting….
6000 people at a conference with wildly varied tastes, differing backgrounds and sky high expectations of what the apparel ought to be. There is an excitement buzzing around the project, many friends and leaders sending appreciated well wishes and encouraging words.
There is a pressure to deliver that builds day after day.
For the past few months I have been churning out designs (56 to this date), striving to find which firecrackers will go off and which ones will be smoldering duds. I believe that I am finding my way, narrowing my search and refining my style through this process.
July has never seemed so close in January. Seven months out I feel as if I am running out of time; the clock is ticking, hours chiming away as I struggle against sleep, entrenched in the earliest moments of the day and the quietest times of the night.
The potential behind this endeavor is staggering, the hours toiling away at a project of this magnitude have flown by and the dreams are unfolding. Through the research and demand I have found myself growing as an artist, striving to work outside of my comfort zone, searching for a way to appeal to the vast majority instead of a solid niche (while still making all of the varied demographics happy).
It’s January, but July is coming.
THE BOYHOOD DREAM HAS COME TRUE!
I am going to be designing all of the shirts/apparel as well as running the Merch Store for the LIFE 2016 conference (roughly 6000 people) in Kansas City MO this July!
I attended LIFE 1998 as a student (as proof I have included the cover of the Alliance Life Magazine that I appeared on as a Steeler hat wearing 9th grader whilst nailing my sins to a cross). Being part of the The Christian and Missionary Alliance my whole life, I have been deeply impacted by this massive event that takes place every 3 years.
Straight up: this is the biggest thing that I have ever done. It really is a dream come true (ask my friends, how much I’ve talked about it over the years). It’s a daunting task and will take quite a bit of energy, however in the end I believe that LIFE will have some awesome shirts to remember 2016 by!