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Harlem Wizards 50th Anniversary Tee - The Harlem Wizards are kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters, in that they are a basketball team that entertains through tricks and basketball wizardry. The Wizards perform at community and school fund-raisers and have raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations, schools and foundations throughout the world.
I created this design by utilizing the ball will tail element from the main Wizards logo. I also took an image of one of the players dunking and created a 2-color illustration that would fly across the front of the shirt. Underneath I made a basketball pattern bitmap texture and used a white to garment gradient fade in the letters and the stars. That gradient printed as a halftone through a high-mesh screen. This design brought the Wizards to our company and they continued to use a different colorway variant of this design for years afterward.
A one-color print design for this Rose City Rollers merch hoodie. I actually had to completely alter the uniform here in Photoshop so it wasn't representative of any one specific home team since this would be an item for the league and not that one specific team.
Bruiser Neon - Created as part of my contract and licensing work for Bruiser Studios. I create athletic mascot illustrations for Bruiser, like this blue jay that I created and create larger designs with them. The designs are generally meant for screen printing and apparel. I had performance tees in mind when I created this design. I wanted something dynamic, but that would also be sparing with the ink. Usually with synthetic fabric performance tees, it's best to avoid using a lot of ink, so it doesn't sit heavily on the garment or impeded the wicking quality. Many times, only small center chest designs are printed on performance tees, but I wanted to create a full front design that would still work well. I thought about using the text as thin lines of ink that wouldn't have big block areas filled in, by envisioning the text as neon lights that would be illuminated around the outside of the letters.
AHL Big Fan - This design was created as a print-on-demand option that would be printed with a DTG printer for the AHL minor league hockey teams. I wanted a big, fun graphic that would be great for fans to wear to games and really show off their team pride. Fans can go online and select this design for any of the AHL teams, so the design had to be flexible enough to work for either the city name or the mascot name for each team. The number of letters per line can be adjusted for larger or smaller names if necessary, as long as the overall look was the same throughout the league.
Steel Tough - Another design for Bruiser Studios featuring my blue jay mascot illustration. I wanted a tough, athletic look, so I created a steel plate distress pattern and chose a thick, block text that would show off the texture well and add weight to the design.
Collegiate Vintage Combo - These two designs were created to work in a program where the hoodie and cap were bundled together for retail sale. I went with a vintage, distressed look for the hoodie design. The cap is a more unique design. It features a fill stitch logo on top of a canvas applique that outlines the logo.
The fill stitch holds down the applique in the center and the tack down goes around the logo, not the outside edge of the applique. This allows the canvas to fray at the edges, creating a worn, distressed look. The college initials are sewn vertically at the edge of the logo, positioning the entire design on one quarter panel of the hat, for a totally unique cap design.
Often, women are overlooked as consumers of athletic apparel. I think Touch by AM has proven that there are many women who are sports fans and they enjoy having their own brand of apparel that has a feminine touch to it. I saw this font by Canada Type and I wanted to create something that was elegant and feminine, but also showed team spirit.
The tail is a classic sports apparel element, but I gave it a twist, by having it appear as a ribbon. I added the gradient highlight to give it some dimension and add some pop to the design. The cardinal mascot is also my own illustration for Bruiser Studios.
Custom illustration of 2 of Rose City Rollers' skaters for a fun, summer-y tank. Initial idea for this asked for a comic-type illustration with a rainbow, so I left the skaters with brushwork lines and no fill colors. Also tried to utilize the ground color as a fourth color, for the rainbow and gradient, in particular, so that it would evoke a rainbow with just a 3 color print.
An off-shore applique embroidery design for a presentation to Lambeau field. This features a double layer, poly twill applique, with fill stitch for the 'field' part and a running stitch, or a chain stitch for the hexagon pattern. This garment is also unique in that it has a hockey lace-up V-neck, so the applique had to be low enough not to interfere with that aspect of the garment. However, I didn't want the whole design to look oddly placed and very low, so I used the pattern behind the main applique to go up on the side, where it would be out of the way of the V and still something that can be produced.
Cardinals Uniform Concept - I think the Cardinals have always had a fairly simple uniform design. I wanted to remake it, but add some more visual interest to it. I included a sunburst pattern to the shoulder caps, which speaks to Arizona. I also added a stripe down the side panel of the pants, to break up the monotony of the full white away uniform.
The Detroit Lions are most likely getting a new look for the 2016 or 2017 season. With that news breaking, I've decided to work out a new concept again even though I've done one before for the Lions. This time I'll include a Color Rush version as well. So far, I've only settled on a dramatic helmet change. I wanted something to bring some excitement to the team and a cool factor, so I went with a pearlized or brushed metallic silver finish and a large, offset logo that gives it an asymmetrical look.
A mock up for a new 2016 or 2017 Detroit Lions uniform. I wanted something that looked contemporary, but wasn't too crazy, so I made the helmet the really out-there element. Since the Lions have had a fairly recent logo update, I don't think there will be a new primary logo, so I used some shapes from the mane of the lion logo to add some texture and interest to the jersey. I also framed the knees on the pant because it might help the tv viewer notice fancy footwork. For the sock, I used two bars of color as a nod back to the original lions logo. The Color Rush uniform for Thursday night games isn't terribly different, but it does have a metallic blue version of the helmet as well (the word mark on the opposite side would switch to silver with a blue helmet).
An exploratory project for a girl's mass market retail line presented to Hanes. I wanted to do something fun and a bit non-traditional, but that would make sense for the trends we see right now for girls. I had to find a way to make the idea for a STEM theme work, but still keep the patterns cute and fun.
I did an exploratory project presented to Hanes for a mass market retail theme pack. I chose to combine a rainbow and animal theme. I kept the background consistent throughout and did line drawings of animals in one color for each pattern so that when packaged together, you'd actually see a rainbow.
Chess Club Argyle - I enjoy creating repeat patterns and using them in my designs. I came up with this argyle pattern to make a fun, nerdy tee. There are quite a few screens necessary for a conventional print here, but there are several ways to print it and perhaps save some screens. It will require high mesh screens to make sure that fine white line prints well, but since it is so thin, there is also the option of simply letting the underbase show in those areas and not using your highlight white. There's also an option to save a screen on the red, if your ground color is a dark enough gray to alter the bright red if it does not have an underbase to keep it bright. If it does darken that red enough, you could create your underbase to print only under the areas that should be bright red and allow the ground color to create your second red for you.
A design I created to feature a pattern as a clipping mask in the main namedrop. I also featured some technology based pieces. This piece sort of shows some of my process for creating namedrop designs. If I'm just free designing in Illustrator, I'll start with choosing the basics, like a particular typeface, decide on a headline look with outlines and/or drop shadows. Then I use filler words and try to focus on an aspect or features that will make that design stand out. In this design, I used the pattern inside the headline word and a technology theme to make it unique. After I've done that, I fill in a space for a logo and secondary text, fitting in colors and other typefaces that work with the rest of the design.
Moondance Jam - This was designed for a concert event on a fashion tunic. It pops with a bright, neon pink and the tonal areas are actually a based down white (using Wilflex Fashion Base or a similar product), which lightens the ground color. This tonal look allows for a ?change' in color if you are printing several different ground colors, but you don't ever have to change your actual ink color.
Jem - An illustration of the 80s cartoon character Jem, complete with holographic foil for her special earring and the Jem logo. For a contemporary take on 80’s style, the lead Misfit, Pizzazz, peeks through a faux tear in the shirt with a zebra print patch behind it.
The holographic foil requires heat press application in order to retain its shine and the holographic properties, so the rest of the ink used needs a foil release additive.
Solar System - Designed for my indie apparel brand, Krmbal. This design features illustrations of all the planets
(and known dwarf planets) with any identifying marks or features and their moons, as well as asteroid belts. To keep costs down, it's a 1 color print using a white ink that's based down for softness, but using halftones for different tints. This technique that shows different opacities works best with small halftones through a high mesh screen so you can achieve several different values.
You could also achieve the same effect with a very thin fashion-base white ink in several screens that overprint each other, but the areas that overprint would feel thicker than any other area. By using the halftones, you achieve the look in one screen and maintain the soft print.
Disney Patch and Autograph - This was submitted as an idea for a zip hood program for Disney Parks. The left chest area would feature an icon representing each character, like a honey pot for Pooh, printed as a patch with a texture like knitted stitches, with a running stitch and white border around the edge, as well as an off-set shadow to further the illusion. It’s printed with puff ink and has actual 3-dimensional height and texture. The icons each have an initial for the character with a stitch effect that would make it appear embroidered into the patch.
The back of the garment features the character with its autograph. I chose to incorporate the autograph because one of the experiences that’s really specific to Disney Parks is getting to meet the characters and gather their autographs.
Taking home this hoodie would not be just another souvenir, but a reminder of time spent in the park.
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Graphic Apparel

Tessa Sainz
Graphic Design / Product Development (Apparel & Footwear) Portland, OR