My New T-shirt Wrinkle – Becoming a T-shirt Designer

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Opportunity Knocks You Down - a BonBon
Opportunity Knocks You Down – a BonBon

For years a folder sat on my desk: Make signs or graphics

It was filled with the quotable lines or sayings that came up as I was writing one thing or another. Some of them would make great bumper stickers, but fewer people use them or put them on bumpers. What should I do with them? The folder kept getting fatter and fatter, but I was stymied.

In the spirit of social media, some of those quotes could make great Tweets, or could be developed as Pinterest posters. Still they languished. Part was that there never seemed to be the time or energy to take the next step with them. The other was my absolutely abysmal skill with graphic software programs.

Be the kind kind - T-shirt and story behind
Be the kind kind – T-shirt and story behind

I’m a visually oriented person

I sense imagery. Visual pictures and metaphors accompany the insights as I’m writing. I’ve gone to great lengths to become better informed about how images influence us subconsciously. For example, The Business Card Book: What your business card reveals about you and how to fix it © 1997 (currently out of print) I goes into that in great detail – even dealing with the physiology of how the eye works. That book was largely what I call the body language of printed materials.

So that makes me rather sensitive to the psychological reactions that go along with an impactful saying. My whole life long, I’ve been on a treasure hunt for the ones that can touch me deeply. So I feel the best ones of mine arrive via inspiration – the Muses whispering in my ear. And in some cases those words can stand alone, without further explanation or the context of a book. Those need to see the light of day, and not simply be shared with readers of my books.

Photoshop and I have a sad and frustrating history

Back before 2000, I made my first attempt to learn Photoshop—and failed. I kept going back and trying (since the software was on my computer), but never got very far. Then I got cancer and had no wits or energy to deal with such matters. It was about 2007 before I tried Photoshop again. Very frustrating! And I tried with other graphic programs that claimed to be easier. Nada.

In the meantime, my son Ross acquired considerable skill with Photoshop and dealing with digital graphics. The next time I set out to finally tackle the steep learning curves of computer graphics he said to me: “Promise me you will not go through that again. It’s too hard to watch. If you need something done, ask me.”

Problem solved. Sort of. Ross is very busy. So getting my projects into his queue usually meant I’d be kept waiting. And that’s crazy making in itself. So I’ve been trying to learn some much less challenging graphics programs. But not very ambitiously.

Cat Approved Human
Cat Approved Human

Amazon creates the Merch program

In October, 2015, Amazon started Merch, which is a Print-on-Demand (POD) system for making T-shirts. Merch T-shirts are sold through Amazon, who takes the orders and processes the sales. At that point, the shirt is printed and shipped. All the Merch T-shirt designer has to do is submit a design within their parameters, select the colors and it goes on sale in the mammoth Amazon marketplace. I thought, I can do that! That’s for me. And I set to work.

I got out the “make signs” folder and went to town. Finally, the sayings of mine could be shown on peoples’ chests. That’s when my lack of graphic ability hit home. I had enough ability to make designs based on fonts, but not enough to include images. Still, I was pleased to get my designs and message out.

Getting found is the next challenge

So over the next few months, I got about 40 designs up for sale at Just one problem, how can my T-shirts be found in such a large website?

I made a T-shirt store

I had to make it easier for people to find my T-shirts, especially since I cannot afford online ads. Obviously, I needed to develop a way for all of my T-shirts to be found. Leaving aside all the learning curves required to launch my store, it’s up. It has my T-shirts and other people’s designs. What they have in common is that I pick them myself because of them having an upbeat energy – Binkle energy.

Seize the Spark - the T-shirt
Seize the Spark – the T-shirt

My store is . But I’m determined that it shouldn’t be just another T-shirt store. One way  doing that is by adding a blog category and The Story Behind the Shirt. That gives me a chance to tell the backstory that goes with the particular T-shirt slogan

Making both sites work together

When appropriate, I’ll show some of my T-shirt designs here, on . But I will also include some of what I’ve written, like BonBons, at . This website is my author platform. But I’m starting to learn that so is the T-shirt store. Both provide online access to what I’m writing about. I hope you’ll visit one or the other from time to time.

Let the cherishing begin - T-shirt and story
Let the cherishing begin – T-shirt and story
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