Welcome to the first Designer Unlocked interview of 2013, there are loads of cool interviews lined up with some fantastic designers in the new year.
Ever heard of any a man who married a computer program?I heard this designer when not designing is fighting off vampires and demons; I think that is utterly ridiculous, everyone knows it is Buffy who is the vampire slayer.To really get his creative juices flowing I heard this particular designer likes to wrap him in tin foil and pretend to be the tin man from the Wizard Of Oz.I bet you are thinking this designer is such a character?
Let me welcome Tom Trager, the latest designer to get unlocked.
I first came across Tom after he messaged him about his cool peanut slayer design on Facebook, I thought he was nuts! (sorry about the bad pun!) but I really liked his cool design.It was obvious from his designs people like Joss Whedon was a big influence; I especially loved his references to geek culture in his cool quotes designs, his clever use of typography with images.Tom stop it, you are not wrapping yourself up in foil, as I need that to roast some chicken, let’s get the interview finished at least first!
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 from Israel. I've been designing ever since I was six or seven years old, I think in some cultures I may be officially married to Photoshop, that's how much I love it.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
TV and pop culture. I am a giant geek, obviously.
Shows like Buffy, Arrested Development, Doctor Who, Firefly, the IT Crowd, they fill me with so much joy I just have to make something that expresses my love for them.
A really cool mashup based on a certain well known slayer.
When you create a new t shirt design, what is sort of process do you follow?
Well, I always try to think what design I'd like to wear, and what I'd like to illustrate.
If an idea pops into my head and I get excited about it, I start working on it immediately.
I never sketch or plan too much ahead; I just start working on it.
I have a very good mental image of what the final result should be and in most cases it works out great.
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favourite design and why?
I guess the "British @ Heart" one, because I got to illustrate a lot of my favourite British icons in it.
This is one of my favorite designs, maybe it is because I am British!
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get an exclusive peek?
I have a few ideas, I have this list of stuff I'd like to do but I hardly work from it, the minute I get a new idea I abandon the earlier ones. I think I have designers ADD.
Who are your favourite designers?
I love Aviv Or, she's an amazing Israeli designer and illustrator.
Whenever she likes one of my designs on Facebook I'm like one of those Beatles fans at Shea Stadium.
A cool design with clever use of type, another one of my favorites and i am a massive Sherlock fan!
Do you try to convey any message in your designs?
I guess my main massage would have to be "geeky and proud"!
I think that if you love something, a TV show, a comic book, a film.
You should wear it proud and show your love! (preferably with one of my shirts, my other message is "give me money").
Star Wars Or Star Trek? Which Do you prefer
Neither actually, (oh no he didn't!). My heart will always be with Joss Whedon's Firefly and Serenity when it comes to space.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully in New York, I've never been and it's my dream to work there. (what a cliché ha?)
Again I love the clever use of typography in one of Tom's first designs that I have featured at GSHQ
What do you prefer designing for, something wearable or a print?
I started designing t-shirts because I wanted to teach myself how to make a good shirt design (which was harder than I thought initially), and I really fell in love with it.
So I guess wearable, I love the idea of people wearing my stuff and spreading their geeky love.
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you’re not designing?
I'm a comedy writer and an animator, you can check out my stuff on YouTube, I recently co-directed and animated this very viral video with my friend Or Paz, a fellow geeky designer.
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
Design what you'd like to design, not what others may like. If you design what you love others will love it as well.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
No. Can I just shout at someone?
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
One last question, when you going to design a Back To The Future shirt as I am a massive fan?
Oh, I didn't know. I'll go back in time with my Delorean and make you one!
Thank you Tom for taking the time out to speak to Geek Shirts HQ.