01/52: Designasaur

A new side project to postpone creative extinction.

01/52: Designasaur

01/52: Designasaur

Each week for a year, I’m going to be designing a shirt and releasing it on my Threadless store. This is the first design of fifty-two.


Almost 20 years ago, I attended a lecture at the University of South Carolina School of Art hosted by the Columbia Communicating Arts Society. I was a young designer and trying hard to network with other designers and CCAS was the hub of the Columbia creative community at the time. The speaker was a designer from Atlanta, Bob Wages from Wages Design. Like most designers who came to speak at events like this, Bob showed his work and talked about his creative process. I distinctly remember him mixing in a fair amount of career and business advice, giving tips about how small the design world was and how important it was to be fair to everyone you worked with. But one offhand comment has stuck with me since that lecture...

Bob Wages introduced me to the concept of the “designasaur.”

A designasaur is a designer that never evolved. Someone who wouldn’t or couldn’t adopt new technologies or new styles. A creative who hasn’t embraced the changing world and risks “extinction.”

Since the advent of desktop publishing and the creation of the internet, the design industry has grown and changed in amazing and unbelievable ways. Technology continues to evolve at an absurdly rapid pace. It’s hard — maybe impossible — to keep up with it all. The struggle to figure out and incorporate new tools and trends is constant. And it feels sometimes like extinction is just around the corner.

Almost two decades later, I realize that all my side projects have been about continuing to grow as a designer and to avoid becoming a designasaur. Trying out new challenges and delaying creative extinction as long as I can. I figured the perfect shirt to kick off my new project was a designasaur shirt.

I sketched out my designsaur* over the course of a couple of days in pencil. Once I’d refined the sketch, I took a photograph of it with my iPhone and then reconstructed it in Illustrator on my Mac. This is a pretty normal workflow for me and that familiarity actually bothered me a little. For this new side project, should I put more restrictions on the production process? Should I only use non-Adobe apps like Affinity Designer? Should I actually use the sketch instead of rebuilding it in a vector format? In the end, I decided that the challenges of production mattered less to me than the process of creation. I’m okay relying on more comfortable production processes, especially at the beginning of this project. I hope to extend a little more out of my comfort level on the production process as the project continues.

If you want a Designasaur t-shirt of your own, head over to my Threadless store and order one. It’s available in a bunch of colors and in three different styles: a unisex classic t-shirt, a men’s tri-blend shirt and a women’s tri-blend shirt**. (And as a bonus, for the first week a new shirt design is available, the price will be discounted.)

If you are interested in the project and like the shirts, please follow along and share on social media. Let me know what you think. You can reach out on Twitter and Micro.Blog.

* My 9-year-old says I should name him Bob. Or Inky.
** It’s my wife’s favorite kind of t-shirt.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.

Fifty Two Shirts

Every week for the next year, I'm going to release a new shirt design. You can purchase the shirts from my Threadless store.