T-shirt and configuration website designed for World Cup 2006
The Configurable T-Shirt was commissioned by T-1 World Cup for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Japan. It is a t-shirt where the wearer designs what goes on the front, a further experiment in how to design low-tech systems that are open enough to allow for other people's designs yet specific enough to provide an intriguing starting point. It's often difficult to design on a completely blank canvas, so this t-shirt provides a matrix of pixels that can be coloured in with a black felt-tip pen in order to turn them "off".
The t-shirt is printed with rubber foam ink so that the black pen ink soaks in really well. As the t-shirt fabric colour is already black it doesn't matter if people go out of the lines or if the pen is too fat - it won't show up. As long as an entire pixel is coloured-in, it will look neat and tidy, just like a professionally designed and printed t-shirt.
A repository of almost 1000 designs created by members of the public was available at The Configurable T-Shirt Configuration Site.
Concept and background
I was asked to design a t-shirt for my country.
This presented me with two problems because, first, I am not a good designer and, second, I don't have a country to support.
So I decided to design a t-shirt that encourages the wearers of the t-shirt to design what goes on the t-shirt and also allows them to decide which country to support (or perhaps *not* to support). This is an approach that I have always been interested in - how to design systems that are open enough to allow for other people's designs yet specific enough to provide an intriguing starting point (it's always difficult to design on a completely blank canvas).
So the point of this t-shirt is that YOU, the wearer, have to design it before you wear it. You can draw directly on to the pixel array to create your own designs....
The t-shirt is printed with rubber foam ink - the print consists of rows of hexagonal pixels. You can colour them in with a BLACK felt tip permanent ink pen. In this way you can construct your own design. If you use RED or BLUE ink pens on these pixels you will create different effects. Because the t-shirt fabric colour is black it doesn't matter if you go out of the lines or if your pen is too fat - it won't show up. As long as you colour in a whole pixel it will look neat and tidy, just like a professionally designed and printed t-shirt. The rubber foam print is great for this because your pen ink will really soak in.
I also made a web interface so you can prototype your design before committing it to your t-shirt. Click the pixels and draw what you like. Be rude. Be political. Be romantic. Be psychedelic. Be yourself.
If you are stuck for ideas you will find designs that other people have made; on the other hand if you like your design and would like other people to see it (and maybe use it too) then you can add it to the gallery.
The tag is also configurable by the wearer. You can fill in the blank segments on the tag with a black pen to complete the phrase "this t-shirt designed by - --------". Instead of putting the tag at the neck I have put it on the inside right at the bottom; I hate it when t-shirts have tags at the neck because they itch so much that finally I have to rip them off; and of course when I do that I rip the whole t-shirt by accident!
The t-shirt can even be worn by couples. Normally you don't want to wear the same t-shirt as your partner, even if you really like it, because you look as though you are twins dressed by your overbearing mother. Now you can each configure your t-shirt exactly the way you want it, so you can wear a t-shirt which is almost the same but not quite....
Remember, some permanent pens have ink that is less permanent than others, and you might find that your pixels start appearing again after a few runs through the laundry. This is a "feature" not a "bug" - you may discover that you have unlimited rewrites!