T.J.’s Shams just officially sold-out. So to celebrate, we thought we’d give him the overdue but requisite interview. Thanks T.J.!
What was the process of coming up with the Shams design?
Prior to creating the design, I was really looking to make something that had a feeling of familiarity but with twist of originality. Something that could appeal to people on a variety of levels. Initially I was inspired by the ideas for the leagues that were scrapped in favor of the Reject League – the Mythology League and the Fairy Tale League. I saw these leagues as having timeless imagery that could be twisted in a way that would produce some really cool ideas. The wolf in sheeps clothing is a theme heard and seen over and over again in print, cartoons and stories but I had never seen it expressed in a “cool” and stylish way. We’ve seen tons of wolf logos, but not any quite like this – so I thought it would be a great idea to explore. My only issue would be how exactly to portray it, should it be more lighthearted or more serious? I just grabbed a pad and pencil, looked at some inspirational images and tried to work it out the best I could.
Did you feel like the cap was a good realization of your vision?
I think the cap was a tremendous rendition of my design – it came out even nicer than I anticipated. The changes that Brandiose made were on point, the omission of the border thus making the staffs tonal, and the red under-bill were strokes of genius. I also appreciated that how prior to the creation of the cap, I was asked what my preference was for cap color. I originally chose black and they went with my suggestion on the production model. I was also fixated on the “pebble” thread color for the wolfs face and was very happy to see that it worked so well in the flesh.
What was it like to see your cap in the Clink store?
It was a great feeling seeing it there in the store next to all the other Clink products. I had feelings of pride, excitement, anxiousness, happiness and a sense of accomplishment all rolled into one. It had been a dream to make my own New Era fitted and Brandiose made it happen. Knowing how the design started out and then seeing it in finished form in the store was a gratifying feeling. On the one hand you hope that your cap sells out, but on the other, you think even if it doesn’t sell well that’s okay too because you’re so proud of it and what it took to get it to this point.
What was it like to see your hat in photos, being worn by people from allover the World?
Mind boggling. From the feature in Strictly Fitteds to seeing the Shams traveling and getting love from those all around the world is hard to wrap my brain around. I greatly appreciate all the pics and compliments the cap has gotten, and I feel so blessed to be able to reach people with a design . The idea that the Shams crossed cultural and language barriers is a wonderful testament to art and design as a whole and is a very gratifying feeling. I would like to see the Shams on every continent…although I realize that there may not be very many fitted wearers down in Antarctica. Seeing the Shams being worn at the Blind Project benefit was a proud moment as well.
What would you like Clink to do with your design next?
I think what I was really happy about with the Shams was that I was able to create supporting marks in conjunction with the main logo. While the Shams unfortunately came down the pike a little too late to get either a matching tee or patch, I think the “S” mark could be used in some way as it seemed to get support from my fellow Clinkers. In addition, I created Gramma Sham (based on Casey’s red riding hood comment in the Clink Room) something a little bit different but still the same themes of trickery and hidden danger as the original Shams design . As for a cap re-issue, I am excited to work again with Brandiose, hear their ideas for another Shams cap and explore the options that we have in front of us for the next step in the Shams evolution.
Do you have any advice for people creating their own designs for Clink’s Collaboration Leagues?
Keep hammering away at your designs. Only good things can come from that constant chipping away at the paper with the pencil. Think about shapes and the weight of your design. Simpler is often better, but don’t let that dumb down your concept either. You will know when you’ve got a winner for the most part, It will speak to you. That said, take heed to suggestions too, no matter how good you think your mark is because sometimes another set of eyes are the most valuable tool you can use.