Designing and wearing my own T-shirt.

A couple years ago, a friend asked me an extremely innocent question, but wow, did it unleash an unexpected response. “Do you own any non-Automattic shirts?”

Automattic has been my employer for about 6 years (my anniversary is coming up on July 1st), and one of the perks is that we can get our hands on a bunch of the product swag that gets design. And this includes t-shirts. Before that question was posed to me, the vast majority of my wardrobe consisted of WordPress-branded tops. Heck! They were free, and that fit my budget.

But that question made me self-conscious. It made me hyper aware that I was mostly a walking billboard for the company I worked for. And although I really like the company, perhaps this was a sign I could introduce more variety to my wardrobe. So, I began a quest to find t-shirt designs that made me smile, made me think, and made my closet more colorful.

I first looked for geeky or mathematical sayings. The first shirt I ordered was one that validated my degree in computer science:

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

I looked for phrases that would make people think, if they took the time to read it:

“I saw that.”
~ Karma

I looked for graphics that made my inner child’s heart sing: the silhouettes of Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba walking under the phrase “Hakuna Matata” and a bright yellow shirt with the fuzzy belly of Funshine Bear. Oh! And the “I’m a nervous rex” shirt I wore that so perfectly captured my emotional state when I went skydiving.

Soon, I needed more hangers. My closet was filling with a colorful palette of t-shirts. But something was missing. They were the designs of others, and I wanted to give it a whirl. Much like one of my early memories of designing a bumper sticker for my car, I wanted to create my own t-shirt to wear. And it would have to be orange, because my closet rainbow was missing that color.

For my design, I returned my t-shirt roots: geeky goodness. And these days, when there’s more distrust of science, I suppose this is a small way I can help support it a bit. I hope you get a giggle from it, just like I do every time I look at it:

Since this memory also included actually wearing the shirt, I needed a way to print my design. So, if you want one for yourself and/or geeky friends, order them here.

Wearable memories are good ones. I’ll remember that next year, when I compile my Memory List again!

Follow along and make memories.


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