Welcome to the Geek Shirts HQ Designer Unlocked Interview Series

………where we uncover and bring the very best independent designers out there that we can found from our extensive searches and expeditions to the far reaches of the globe and beyond, yes beyond!  
 
This week we have a designer from London in the UK.
 
Whose design style cannot be pinned down and takes his ideas from anywhere he can find inspiration. 
 
He has also been featured on the LA time’s website for one of his awesome designs.

I am talking about Ian Byford.

 
me
 
When not designing Ian is part of a secret organisation, no not the illuminati, something more powerful and destructive than that.
 
We don’t know the name of the organisation but it has been responsible for such catastrophe as launching the career of Simon ~Cowell, giving someone like George Bush the American Presidency and of course giving us all that terrible George Clooney Batman movie, Batman and Robin. 
 
Anyway! Back to the real world

Geek Shirts HQ welcomes Ian Byford

…………..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 grew up in Enfield a northern suburb of London, studied art first doing a ND in fine art at Hertford regional college then a degree in sculpture at Canterbury Christ Church University. After university I moved back to Waltham Cross just outside Enfield.
 
Not having much space or money to work on sculpture on demand print websites gave me the opportunity to satisfy my creative urges. 
 
 

Bats & Butterflies T-Shirt

Bats & Butterflies T-Shirt

Available at Redbubble 

 
 
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs? 
I think a better question might be where I don’t get my inspiration for my designs from.
 
I stay away from using others characters so no r2d2 on my tees apart from that my inspiration can come from just about anywhere conspiracy theories, TV, movies, board games, comic, toy, the list could go on all day but the strangest place I have found inspiration was in a bush outside Topps Tiles where I found a plastic head who appears on my “headonistic” tees 
 
How would you describe your design style? 
Well I try to not to limit myself to one style. Sometimes I set myself Challenges to push myself in new direction like my something from the weekend project where on Friday I took some photos and turned one or more in to a t-shirt by Monday. 
 
 

Head Hunter T-Shirt

Head Hunter T-Shirt

Available at Redbubble 

 
 
When you create a new t shirt design, what is sort of process do you follow? 
Most of the time I start with photos this is why you will spot me or my brother on my tees. Then I build a photo collage in gimp then I use the photo collage as a guide for the line work. Then I add colour layer under the line work, then I if the design needs it I add a texture layer.
 
And that is my process but with all the mind changing, tea making and screwing up cut out 
 
 

Robot Sale Design Process 

Robot Sale tshirt
 
Robot Sale tshirt 1
 
Robot Sale tshirt 2

Available at Redbubble 

 
 
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favourite design and why? 
“we did it (illuminati)” this design was  inspired by two secretive organization, the first secretive group is every conspiracy theorist favourite evil overloads  the illuminati, an secret organization that the whole internet knows includes Lady Gaga, George W. Bush, Elizabeth II(well the whole British royal family) and anyone else who is successful and rich!
 
And if you’re not successful or rich you can be dam sure the illuminati had something to do with it ( because of the illuminati I don't live in stately Wayne manor)!
 
One of their favourite and most powerful symbols is the all seeing eye or Eye of Providence which they stick everywhere just to let you know that the highly secretive illuminati waz ere doing highly secretive secret bad stuff for secret reasons that you’re not permitted to know but you can read all about online.
 
The other organization is the Army of the Twelve Monkeys the fictional animal rights group who let all the animal out of a zoo in the film 12 Monkeys and spray painted “we did it” on walls around the city and got the blame for releasing a deadly virus
 
In the description I set a mission for the buyer to try to get on TV behind a news reporter and exacerbate the illuminati myth. I like the idea of my t-shirt starting crazy internet rumours   
 
 

We Did It (illuminati) T-Shirt

We Did It illuminati t shirt

Available at Redbubble 

 
 
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get an exclusive peek? 
I am working on a set of asylum prints which will be part of my blogmas contents this December 
 
 
sneekpeek
 
 
Who are your favourite designers? 
 
 

Think Idiot T-Shirt

think idiot t shirt

Available at Redbubble 

 
 
When marketing your designs how much focus and importance do you place on social media sites? 
I do a lot of social marketing but I try to automate it as much as I can using Hootsuite 
 
A lot of designers use sites like Redbubble and café press to market and sell their designs. Have you thought about setting up your own store? 
I use Redbubble to sell designs because it easy and has groups, challenges and forums   
I sometimes include a message to get people to think more 
 
 

Continuityman T-Shirt

continuityman t shirt

Available at Redbubble 

 
 
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
I don’t know 3d printing may open up some opportunities   
 
What do you prefer designing for, something wearable or a print? 
Wearable because it sells and knowing there a physical copy of my work out in the world is the best bit of being a designer 
 
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you’re not designing? 
Photography, watching lots of YouTube vids from ted talks to conspiracy theories vid 
 
 

Grow Your Own Couch Potato T-Shirt

grow your own couch potatoes t shirts

Available at Redbubble 

 
 
Do you have any advice for budding designers? 
If at first you don’t succeed don’t try try again! Stop, think then work out your next move then try again then you may succeed a bit more or you may not. Then stop, think then work out your next move then try again you may succeed a bit more and so on. Don’t stop thinking 
 
Anyone you want to give a shout out to? 
Kelly Murphy and Jared Thompson from indieminded.com for featuring my work 
Jenn Harris from LA Times.com for featuring my work 
 
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you 
 
Any websites that have featured your design