How I Started My Own T-Shirt Brand **PART 1**
The idea for what became Deftment began over a year before our launch, when my good friend Kevin and I dreamed of creating quality tees with a unique Caribbean style. I have always loved t-shirt design because a t-shirt is something that everyone owns, thus making the art/design on it something that is available to a huge audience.
We officially launched Deftment on October 3rd 2014, but the real work on the brand began a year before in September, 2013. Our vision at the time was simple, to provide high quality tees that were suited to a Caribbean lifestyle. This meant that it had to be stylish, versatile and durable; it should transition from the beach, to the pavement bar, to an all-inclusive fete with ease. The Caribbean is full of skilled individuals ranging from artists, musicians, chefs, DJ's, fashion designers; and these were the people who we detailed as our ideal customer. Our brand had to reflect this culture, and this passionate bunch. I had an idea of what I wanted aesthetically; something that drew from elements of typography, nature and mathematical geometry...we just had to figure out how to pull it all together. Developing a name posed a challenge. We wanted to invent our own word, something that we could define without preconceptions. Deftment is a portmanteau of deft, as in skilful, and movement. We set out to be a skilled movement.
In these two pictures I was getting close to the final logotype for the word DEFTMENT. I hadn't settled on a final logomark, the symbol that represented the brand (i.e. the Nike Swoosh vs the word NIKE.)The final logomark was made up of a series of hexagons, and you can see the inception of this idea from the pictures here.
The next thing on the list was creating a brand identity for Deftment starting with a logo. As I stated earlier, for the aesthetic of the brand we wanted to feature different geometric elements, and this was what I focused on with initial logo explorations.
We were looking for those geometric elements for the logo, and it all came to be by experimenting. I was trying to digitally create the face of a monkey using only geometric shapes. I drew a few hexagons and got to work resulting in something really close to what is the final logo.
A lot of tweaking and hard work went into perfecting the logo, as it would be the cornerstone of our brand and something that people would associate us with. I think the result was successful because it responded to our initial needs, and in the end we ended up with something that we set out to achieve in our own design brief.
In Part Two I will discuss the lead up to our launch, and the design process for the first Deftment Line.