Last year I was given the opportunity to create a tshirt design for the local high school band. Their show was titled "Vieux Carre: The Flavorful Roux of Historic New Orleans." What made this design particularly interesting (and a good problem solving exercise) was specifications the client gave us:

No Mardis Gras colors. (But we want bright colors!)

"Think Bayou, but not swamp."

Interesting start, right? So I did some research and scrounged together what was left of that dissected essence of New Orleans and came up with an idea. The fleur de lis is a key signifier of the city, so I decided to create a design in the shape of a fleur de lis, where the different points and aspects are inspired by places or things in and around New Orleans. Crocodiles (or are they alligators?), voodoo, food, the French, where to start? My first proof contained crawdad tails, a voodoo skull, and the cathedral of St. Louis in the French Quarter. At this point, the colors were more place-holders than anything.

high school band design version 1

The general consensus here was that the overall shape was good, but they didn't read the crawdad tails properly, so we swapped that out for something more band appropriate (and fortunately for me, linked to New Orleans, as well.)

high school band design version 2

Saxophones! The shape and new elements were well received, and the last major component to bring it all together was the color choice. I went back to my research on New Orleans and found the first (and very colorful) suburb of the city: the Faubourg Marigny, located just outside the Vieux Carre. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? In addition to the rich history of the area, it gave me inspiration outside of the typical colors assosciated with the city of New Orleans.

a colorful row of houses in the Faubourg Marigny

These outstanding hues were the perfect match for this project, especially the orange on the right of the picture. I decided upon a bold yellow, striking red, and cooling purple (even though a Mardis Gras color, the warm tones remove it from any discernable context). The client was satisfied, and even went on to open a second order after the first had closed for the season, saying that people loved them so much they wanted more.

final version of a high school band design high school band design printed on apparel