DHDR Doberbutts tee design mockup on female model

Doberman Rescue fundraising tee design

Sometimes a project comes along that’s a magical fit. That’s how I felt when a friend asked if I’d be interested in working on a t-shirt design for a local Doberman rescue organization with one of her colleagues. Not only was it great timing, it was perfectly in line with my love for designing for pets.

The project is for a great cause — raising funds to support the rescue and placement of Dobermans. Although there are a number of causes I believe in, helping animals is the one I focus on.

Christy, the Executive Director of Desert Harbor Doberman Rescue, already had a concept in mind for the t-shirt design. So in order to get the project moving in the right direction, we started by establishing a few style keywords. That way, we could build toward the final design without unpleasant surprises or missing a key idea. She chose:

  • classic
  • hip
  • fresh

I used these keywords to create a mood board of visual elements that we could use as inspiration for the artwork. At first, I was unsure how I’d connect classic with hip and fresh, but doing the mood board research helped me shape how they could come together into one design. I proposed that it:

  • have a classic graphic tee layout
  • be very wearable — something that people love putting on and doesn’t get relegated to the bottom of the drawer
  • look cool and make other people say “Hey, I love your tee!”
  • be casual, but can be worn in a hip and fresh way
  • combine handwritten and sans-serif fonts (the juxtaposition of handwriting with sans-serif fonts makes it hip and fresh)

mood board for Doberbutts t-shirt design - Desert Harbor Doberman Rescue

Then, building off the mood board, I created rough pencil sketches of a few different layout concepts for Christy to review. Going into the project, one of the things she wanted to see was a tee with a large Doberman graphic wrapping from the front to the back, with the words “I like Doberbutts & I can not lie”. To help make the tee fresh and wearable, I suggested we outline the dog rather than do a solid fill of color.

Taking the Skillshare class Lettering Layouts: Create Beautiful Messages came in really handy for this project, since it was essentially a lettering layout applied to a t-shirt. I used the process of establishing a hierarchy for the words and deciding on lettering shapes to bring the elements together with the dog illustration.

DHDR Doberbutts tee concept sketch

While the diagonal lines between the words adds a complementary decorative element to the layout, it made the tee too swing too masculine. Removing the lines helped balance it back out to be more neutral and universally appealing.

DHDR Doberbutts tee design mockup

DHDR Doberbutts tee design mockup on female model

DHDR Doberbutts tee design mockup on male model

If you’d like to support Desert Harbor Doberman Rescue and get one of these tees for yourself, visit azdoberescue.org/store.