Welcome To The Latest In The GSHQ Designer Unlocked Interview Series
We have literally looked everywhere, rebooted ourselves a-la Star Trek and even started a separate time line to bring the very best designers that are available on the internet.
This we have a cool designer from Singapore who is a regular on the daily t shirt sites.A designer whose design style I personally love and enjoy his interpretation of pop culture subjects.Since he is into games in a big way, some of his best and most popular designs have been video game influenced.
Geek Shirts HQ Welcomes Barefists
the latest designer to get unlocked.
Can you start by giving some background about yourself? Where you are from? What is your background? How did you get into design?
I'm Xuanming Zhou, from the sunny island of Singapore.
Designing games is my first love (shirt design is a close second), and I work in Boomzap Entertainment as a game designer due to that passion of mine.
My love for games and game-related artwork fired up early in my childhood years playing on my SNES and Genesis consoles, I've been drawing and designing games ever since.
I love both names Barefists and Xmashed. Where did you get both names?
Thanks! Barefists was a gaming nick I used in Counter-Strike when I was in my teens, it kind of stuck, though I cannot recall how or why I started using it.
Xmashed is basically a play on the word "smashed" by replacing the first 2 letters with my initials "XM".
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Games, of course. I do also get inspired from great shows such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, but games remain my first and primary source of inspiration.
How would you describe your design style?
I often find myself drawing in an exaggerated and comic book style when I work on my designs, it gives me space to stylistically add elements that would otherwise feel odd in say… a painting. I stay away from realism as much as I can because I feel restricted by it.
When you create a new t shirt design, what is sort of process do you follow?
I start with a sketch of the idea, then I'll proceed to clean up the line art, and finally add colours. All these are done in Photoshop, my tool of choice.
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favourite design and why?
I still like Choose Your Poison. Aside from the fact that it's my best selling tee so far, I really like how I managed to merge two vastly different things and make them feel like they belong together. It's also the design of mine that I wear the most.
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get an exclusive peek?
I design on impulse, so I don't know my next design until I make it.
Who are your favourite designers?
My wardrobe is stocked up on WinterArtwork, Megan Lara and HareBrained designs. Those 3 are the ones that jump out at me, but there are so many other artists I follow and love.
Do you try to convey any message in your designs?
Not really, I'm not a deep person. I like to make jokes with my designs whenever possible though.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still designing shirts and games. I'm doing everything I love right now, so I don't want to change any of that, but I'm always thinking of ways to earn more money doing them.
What do you prefer designing for, something wearable or a print?
Always wearable. I'm extremely concerned about practicality, which is why you almost never see me designing anything on a bright orange top, because it's less likely to be worn by someone.
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you’re not designing?
Gaming, in all shapes and sizes. I play a lot of video, computer and mobile games. On top of that, I also play Warhammer 40k and the occasional board game.
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
Simple designs work best, don't try to squeeze too many elements into one design. Ever. I've tried it and they almost never do well.
A lot of designers use sites like Redbubble and café press to market and sell their designs like you? Why did you decide to set up your own store?
I live in Singapore, where there are no gamer tee stores and the distance from the US makes it really expensive to ship anything over here from JINX or SplitReason.
Part of the reason I started the store was to bring over some of these awesome tees in bulk and offer them at lower prices to Singaporeans. Since I also did my own designs, it made sense to also make my designs available in the store.
Can you tell me more about Xmashed?
Xmashed Gear is a small online gamer tee store located in Singapore. Although our primary market is local, we do ship worldwide and carry some exclusive designs from yours truly.
What brand of t shirts do you print on and what printing process do you use for Xmashed?
Most of our designs are printed on Gildan 5000s using a digital print process. However, the stock we get from wholesalers come from varied manufacturers and printers.
What can a customer expected when ordering a product from Xmashed?
We offer a very unique selection of designs cantered around gaming and games.
Tees are shipped the next day for those in stock, and ASAP for tees printed on demand (normally 2 weeks).
Our exchange and return policy is designed to be as reasonable as possible, so if you received a tee that you are not satisfied with, do let us know and we'll see what we can do to make amends for our mistakes.
When marketing your designs how much focus and importance do you place on social media sites?
A lot. Aside from our main store page, all of our interaction with our customers and fans happens on our Facebook Page
Do often sell a lot of designs on daily tee sites, is this where you prefer to sell you designs?
To be honest, daily tee sites currently make up the bulk of my sales due to the worldwide audience I receive when I print with them.
With Xmashed Gear, I like that I get more control on the product and packaging, but due to my limited audience, I don't sell as many of them. I do prefer Xmashed Gear personally.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
Not anyone in particular, but I like to say hi and thank you to the artists I love for inspiring me. It'll also be great if I ever see a pic of them in any of my designs in return. Ha-ha!
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
The best place would be Xmashed Gear. Alternatively, you could drop me a message on my artist page and Facebook page