Ahoy, ye scurvy sea dogs! This band shirt design for my former rock band Analog Apostles is one of my favorites. I created this two color screen printed art before we loaded up our van and left for our Summer 2014 tour of the USA. These eery shirts were instantly hot sellers. Several years after they were pressed, I still see them around town here in Lexington on occasion. I love being a band merch artist and creating musician shirt art! We’re going to plunge 20,000 leagues into the sea and talk about the thought and work that went into this band apparel design.
Band Shirt Design – limited inks for apparel printing on a budget
Everybody loves to wear a good black band shirt. I know I do, at least. Seriously, I have probably filled half of my t-shirt drawer with black apparel featuring musician shirt art. Mostly for my clients’ budgetary reasons, my shirt designs usually feature only one or two screen printed ink colors. Also, black is the most popular shirt color. Many shirt printing businesses offer special discounts on them. I can still make a big impact, even though I am not drawing from a large color palette.
This design definitely provided a lot of bang for our indie band’s very limited bucks! I chose a color combination that consisted of cool turquoise blue and a light green shade. They come together to create an aura that is both mysterious and soothing. This makes the two distinctly bright ink colors really stand out against the stark black background of the shirt itself.
Deep sea themed band shirt design for a Kentucky indie rock group
The chilling deep sea diver bust is up front wearing a vintage style diving helmet. I feel that this element adds to the mystery of the overall design. Who or what could be lurking behind the mask? The unknown figure in the foreground makes for an unsettling and potentially dangerous focal point. How spooky is that?
It turns out that the uncanny valley has a body of water running through it. A pattern of waves comes together in order to create the green background behind the diver. I actually took the cool water shapes from a photograph of the ocean. I simplified the aquatic image down to just two colors using Adobe Photoshop. This way, it would work on the screen printed art. Then, I finished cleaning it up for the vector art application using the Adobe Illustrator application. This way, I removed the shadows so that it would only display the highlights in green.
Band merch artist details fonts and styles
Finally, I added the band’s name at the top of the design in a tall serif style type. Because of the deep sea theme, I used a vintage font that I felt could easily be found on a pirate ship flag. Perhaps one might even find it emblazoned on a buried treasure map. In fact, it is the very same font that has been used by Major League Baseball team the Pittsburgh Pirates in the past, MLB Tuscan.
I began by first setting the word “ANALOG” at the top in the turquoise hue. Then, I continued by reversing out the word “APOSTLES” so that it would read in black over the green water background. Therefore, it makes the best use possible of the negative space of the shirt itself. It creates the illusion of a three color design. This way, it still remains legible as part of the name of the band, while adding some depth to the overall design. Do you get the dad joke that I was making there? Depth? Water? I am a father who has a young son, so silly puns are my forte’.
You need a professional band shirt design of your own
Way back in 1999, I was a student at Murray State University studying Art, with an emphasis on Graphic Design. During that time, I started up my own freelance graphic design business right from my dorm room. I have been playing the guitar and singing in independent bands all around Kentucky since 1997. Over the years, I have combined my two passions many times.
I have made designing music merchandise for bands one of my specialties. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Networking with other musicians has taught me a lot about this print graphic design genre. This art was a callback to our most recent independent EP “The Other Side of the Sea”, which I also designed the layout for. Some players prefer more literal, music based interpretations in their merch designs instead.
Every band or artist needs to sell physical merchandise at their shows. If you want to successfully grow your fanbase, you must have some quality merch items on your table. Buttons, stickers, CDs, refrigerator magnets, and can koozies are great ideas.
One of the most effective ways for music fans to support their favorite local artists is wearing their shirts wherever they go. An eye catching apparel design can start up conversations with both friends and strangers alike. Subsequently, this investment would make a great way to help spread the word about your own brand.
Contact me for your own band shirt design or musician shirt art
Do you need a band merch artist? Let’s work together to find your perfect fit. Contact me today if your indie band or record label needs a rad shirt design of your very own!