Welcome to another cool edition of Designer Unlocked, where we put the spotlight on the best independent t shirts designers.
This week we have a designer who is an avid football fan, loves filslms and stand up comedy.
He is a talented designer from the UK. I first came across this cool designer from his Supernatural Bros design which is one of my favorites.
His portfolio takes its inspiration from a number of sources and he has been featured on many t shirts sites.
Let me introduce Lee Byway from Byway Designs.
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 a small town called Frome in the South West of the UK and for as long as I can remember I've always been creative.
I used to draw cartoon-like pictures when I was at school and as I grew older I became more and more interested in design and typography, then a few years after leaving College I eventually found a job with a printing company which introduced me to the design software called CorelDraw which I use to create all of my designs.
I really only started designing T-shirts as a bit of fun and to help me get used to CorelDraw because I was using it every day at work but I was lucky enough that the first design I drew, 'Sonic Converse', was picked up by riptapparel.com to be printed. …It didn't sell very well at all but just having something I'd created available to buy on the internet made me want to create more designs.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Sometimes I come up with my designs after seeing a film or TV programme I like but most of the time they just come to me randomly. For example the idea for my 'A-venn-ge Diagram' T-shirt design came to me while I was waiting in line at a Post Office.
When you create a new t shirt design, what is sort of process do you follow?
I don't really have a set process when it comes to creating my designs. I draw them all from start to finish on my laptop and when I come up with an idea I usually have an image of how I want it to look in my head so I just draw from that and if I need to I make changes to the design as I go.
Sometimes I can finish a design in a few hours and sometimes it can take a few weeks.
Here is one of my designs, you can see the work in progress shots.
The finished design. Supernatural Bros T Shirt
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favourite design and why?
I don't have one single favourite design but if I had to pick a few then I would choose 'Sonic Converse' because it was the first that I made, 'Don't Use The 'Z' Word' because even though it hasn't proved as popular as my other Shaun of the Dead design 'You've Got Red On You' I find it visually more interesting and probably Zombie Exit just because it's so simple
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get a exclusive peek?
I have a memory stick full of half finished ideas but I recently completed a Tetris design and a Sonic the Hedgehog design and I'm also working on a Dr Horrible design, which you can see a sneak peak of…
Who are your favourite designers?
There are a lot of designers whose works I love but if I had to choose a couple of favourites then I would say David Schwen , Olly Moss and How To Carve Roast Unicorn a.k.a HtCRU
Do you try to convey any message in your designs?
None of my works contain any message, I just enjoy creating designs that people find amusing or interesting to look at, although I do like creating designs that involve a play on words.
Geek Shirts HQ: I think you all know how much I love Back To The Future! So it goes without saying this is one of my favorite tees from Lee!
Star Wars Or Star Trek? Which Do you prefer
I have to admit that the only Star Trek I've seen is the latest film by J.J. Abrams, so even though I'm not a huge Star Wars fan I have at least seen all of the films so that would have to be the franchise I prefer.
I am looking forward to the new Star Trek film though, the last one was great.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I really have no idea where I'll be or what I'll be doing in 10 years time but I hope that I'll still be designing and selling work. I'm not really one of those people that plans out their future, I just try to enjoy what I'm doing in the present. …
I do hope that we have working hover boards by then though, they're due to be invented in 2015 and I've always secretly wished I could skateboard or snowboard.
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you’re not designing?
When I'm not designing (or doing my full time job) I love going to stand up comedy shows and music concerts and I go to the cinema a lot as well.
Where I live I'm lucky enough to have a local cinema a few minutes walk away where it only costs £4 (roughly $6.50) for an adult ticket to see a film! I also enjoy watching football whenever I can (or Soccer if you're American)
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
I think the best advice I can give is to not force a design if you're stuck for ideas. I find that they usually come to me when I'm not trying to come up with them, like the example I gave earlier in this interview where I came up with a design while at the Post Office.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
I'd just like to say hi to my friends and family and to thank my wonderful girlfriend Emily for putting up with me always working on my laptop!
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
Some of my designs can be purchased at redbubble and society6 and I can be found online at tumblr and facebook.
I've also recently had my Shaun of the Dead design 'You've Got Red On You' made available to buy at 604republic and you can find that shirt HERE
ANY OTHER WEBSITE THAT FEATURES YOUR DESIGN:
One last question, when you going to design a Firefly shirt as I am a massive fan?
My girlfriend only introduced me to Firefly recently and I really enjoyed watching it but there are soooo many Firefly designs around that I think I'd have to come up with something completely different before I'd make it, so at the moment I don't have any plans to make a Firefly design, sorry!
Thanks Lee for an excellent interview and an insight what goes on behind your designs.
Don't forget you can check out Lee's designs at his Redbubble store.