Design Great Stuff: How to Make Merch with Draplin | Aaron Draplin | Skillshare

Design Great Stuff: How to Make Merch with Draplin

Aaron Draplin, Designer and Founder, Draplin Design Company

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17 Lessons (1h 43m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:05
    • 2. The Deal With Merch

      6:14
    • 3. Getting Inspired

      5:50
    • 4. Tales of Merch: The Shuttle

      3:13
    • 5. Coming Up With Concepts

      4:43
    • 6. Researching Vendors

      7:50
    • 7. Tales of Merch: Crusty Merch

      5:18
    • 8. Designing a Patch

      7:07
    • 9. Designing a Pin

      11:44
    • 10. Tales of Merch: Fancy Stuff

      4:22
    • 11. Preparing for Handoff

      5:33
    • 12. Building Your File

      14:47
    • 13. Revising Your Design

      5:03
    • 14. Tales of Merch: Field Notes

      3:18
    • 15. Reviewing Your Merch Samples

      8:17
    • 16. Tales of Merch: Warnings

      4:19
    • 17. Final Thoughts

      3:14
409 students are watching this class

About This Class

Step back into the studio with the design legend, and learn his never-before-seen secrets for making his famous posters, pins, patches, and more!

From pins and patches to posters and hats, well-designed merch can be a designer’s dream—if it’s done right. Enter, Aaron Draplin. For the past 15 years, Aaron has been designing the best merch in the biz. Now, he’s sharing the tips, tricks, and trade secrets he’s gathered over a career centered on making great stuff. With his usual straight talk and zero funny business (ok, maybe a little funny business), Aaron will walk you through every step he takes each time he wants to create something new—and might just share some never-before-heard stories of mishaps and mayhem along the way.

From first idea to final delivery, you'll discover how to:

  • Choose a design that works
  • Find the best vendors to make your stuff
  • Create un-mess-with-able files for handoff
  • Make multiple merch pieces from one design

Plus, Aaron shares the successes and failures behind his favorite designs, from the spectacular journey of his Space Shuttle design to the woeful tale of an ill-fated yardstick.

Makers of all things are invited to join this class, whether you’re looking to expand the services you can offer your next client, open your own online shop, or make t-shirts for your family reunion. When you’re done, you’ll leave with the insider information you need to choose the right items, work with clients and vendors, and design great merchandise that’s a cut above the rest.

______________________

While entertainment is guaranteed to all students, some experience with Adobe Illustrator is recommended in order to best follow along with Aaron throughout this class.

Looking for more from Draplin? Take his classic logos class, learn how wordmarks work, or discover the 21 workflow tips he wants every designer to know.

 

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Is the mic on? Is the mic on? Hello friends, Aaron James Draplin here, Portland, Oregon in my backyard. This is Skillshare number 6 and we're getting into merch. Merch has been this thing that has turned into this monster for me. I didn't know any better when I made my first little piece of merch. What it did was it showed how graphic design can become fun in the hands of your own hands and in the hands of your friends. This isn't all just about being a service. It's also about how to make the stuff real out in the rest of the world. I know what you're thinking. I have clients, I work with clients, what am I going to get out of this class? This is just about expanding your capability set to be able to say, "Hey, I'm making a logo." I can also offer all these cool examples of how to make hats, and pins, and patches, and things, and stuff. It's just about being able to make better things for the people you're working for. That's it. So in this classroom, we give you the merch life cycle, from inception to sketching to going out into the world and shopping around some of the formats that are available, and then coming back in, building out that file to ensure a proper hand-off. There's a magical moment when that box shows up and you grab that first thing. This thing went from my mind to my screen and now it's this real item and there's something really special about them. Of course, we'll show you some of my favorite merch, some stuff that got away from me, and really this is an introduction to my little universe. We're not just making logos stuff, we are making a whole bunch of merch for up to 250 pieces or so. We've got posters, hats, t-shirts, patches, pins. So I'm super excited to have you guys dive into the world of merch with me. This is Skillshare number 6 with the Draplin Design company. Wait, that's me. Let's get into it. 2. The Deal With Merch: Hello everybody. Thanks for coming back. This is number 6. This is all about merch and why merch is a thing that has become a monster for me. First of all, why even talk about merch? This is probably going to be one of my favorite ones, because see as a kid, me and my buddies as scumbags, skateboarders and snowboarders and stuff, we had this complete artistic license to make our own things just for the fun of it, because the world of skateboarding, you can make your own art and bands and album covers. So where that started from was making my first little beanie. This little beanie, they were called draplids, I know, it's painful. But it was this really liberating thing because if we want our own beanies with our own little name that we came up with, we had to go make that on our own and you had to go to this embroidery place, and sit with them and pick out colors and pick out stitches and have a piece of art to hand over, and in the end they took it over. But I remember it being a very prolific moment for me, because it was terrifying, first of all, at the mercy of some little screen printing place, they can ruin it for you. We took it even one step crustier and took it back, and I would with an exact knife, cut up my own little stickers and stuff and make a 100 of them and give those to my friends, little hand cut, little draplid stickers to go with their beanie. So there's this weird control that you suddenly have, and it's within these fingertips that we can make our own things. So that's in the early '90s. So we fast forward to about 1995 or 96. I get my first computer after working all summer long up in Alaska. What that allows is that it allows me to start scheming up the first couple of things I want to make, and really it's as simple as just it's Draplindustries is my little monicker at that time, painful, I know. My first sticker that I made, I remember this guy named Mark Ryden in Bend, Oregon. He was the screen printer and he did everything from T-shirts, to posters, to things, to banners, and whatever he was doing around Bend, Oregon, and I marched in there with my big file, gave him the file, it's not about being broke or whatever, but I was so unaware of what my money would buy. I remember thinking, well, he'll just print the sticker for me, I'll take these big sheets back home, and I will hand cut them out. So I did, and I took, I remember it was either 35 or 40 sheets of these things back to my house that he printed for me, and I got to work, cut these things out. Maybe six months later, I remember going one time and Mark saying, "How are the stickers?" Said, "All is great. I got a couple sheets left to cut," and he just looked at me like,"To cut? You know I can cut these things for you." You have to understand when you come out the way I came at this stuff, not knowing any better, having no money, that's where my mind went. If I can save a little bit money and make a couple more, I'll just do the cutting on my own. I'm really thankful but that's the way that I got into this stuff. Because what it did was it showed me that you could control every single step of it, even down to me unnecessarily cutting these things out. But it taught me to appreciate the work that would happen along the way. If you look at this right here, this was the first official piece of merch I made, where I put a price tag on it. Then I got these things back and I had a big pile of them. I don't know, 48 of them or something. They were gone within a week. All my buddies wanted one, all the guys I worked with around me wanted one. It was this weird lesson, first of all, I don't have any money to buy more than 48. But not only did I sell a bunch, I had the money to use, to go after the next, and that was a slow process to make these things, it was a couple months or something or seven weeks or something. But it was just this first foray into like, "Wow, I can be a service person and make a paycheck from someone coming to me, having a problem and me solving that problem graphically for them. " We've done that these last four or five these things. We made a little merch along the way too, but in this one we'll talk about the world where we now take one step further than being a service people and inventing our own products. Often you take a look at the 248 items or whatever I have as these words go to print, a lot of those things came out of me just saying, "I really should make a coin purse." It became a vessel for me to sell to clients. It also became this really cool, creative vessel where no one could mess with me. It was my own copy writing, my own shitty humor, and it was all about just being fun. Then of course, I saw the opportunity to sell that to my clients and say, "Hey, you're just starting with a logo, but we should go and do this and this." This is just about expanding your capability set. It's one thing for us to be these just designers, when someone brings us this thing and we make a little bit of a change or we make a little bit of a logo, whatever we doing as service people, you hand the file off in some digital thing and it goes online, or they take that item and then go and produce the stuff. This is about expanding your capabilities where you can be that person, where you can be that service, and you have that extra flap to what you do to build a say, "Hey, I'll make you the logo, I can also offer all these cool examples of how to make hats and pins and buttons and patches and things and stuff." Sometimes it's not the new fangled, new tech way to do it. Sometimes it's about getting a little shitty and having the right charm to something. That takes a certain eye, and we're going to talk about that today. What I would hope for as at the end of this class, you feel this weird wind in the sales to say, "Wow, my little graphic I made for myself, I could go make my own little things," and remember just to give out to your buddies. So that's my story, how I got into merch. What we're going to move into now is how to go and make something. 3. Getting Inspired: So with any exploration into merch and how to make merch, before I get into some of the nitty-gritty of how to think these things up and how to execute these stuff, I have to stop myself and go all the way back to where it started for me and who the inspiration was. I mean, that goes all the way back to about 1991, '92. I saw this little French Paper Company paper promotion, somehow procured this out of my school. That's a little nefarious, I don't know how this happened, but I got this thing out of there and just this weird texture, this is all parched tone here. So it's got this old kind of Declaration of Independence feel to some of the paper and stuff. But nevertheless, the vessel that held this, who was making this design? I didn't find a name on it. But a couple of years later, I found out this guy called Chuck Anderson or Charles Spencer Anderson out of Minneapolis, and I got my hands on one of these. This was about '95, I think it was, or maybe '96, anytime I saw their work, it always had this incredible care and consideration for the industrial feel of the Midwest, this no bullshit attitude. Really, it was to promote paper for the French Paper Company. This stuff blew me away, how do you even make that staple? But the design was one thing, the craft, all these little numbers in paper to styles and little hits of how they would print on the pieces themselves. So it really grabbed me because it felt real and authentic. Yet, as a young designer, it was promoting paper. So next thing I found after Chuck Anderson, was a little group of guys out of Delaware that got punched in the face by House Industries, and this would have been about '94, '95. These guys were making everything. They were making typefaces, these incredible, incredible, incredible big posters and stuff that would show up in your mailbox to sell you these typefaces. It was just overwhelming because not only were they doing the typefaces, they were doing all the materials that would go to sell the typefaces but they were doing their entire line of T-shirts and stickers, and hats and things, and stuff, and that has just steamrolled over the years. This is stuff that would show up in my mailbox and when you would see House Industries in these design annuals, there was a humor to it, there was an incredible craft. There was a kitsch quality to like why couldn't design just be fun and goofy, and ironic and just swanky sometimes? Well, it could. Anyhow, when I met these guys, this is 22 years ago, and I knocked on their door. Their merch and the stuff that they put out into the world attracted me, I mean, imagine me showing up at your door, it's a problem. But it's like it got me, it grabbed me, and that made it okay for me to make these, yes, 1-100th is cool items, but it made it okay for me because my heroes, House Industries and Chuck Anderson, they were doing it so incredibly well and then passing that quality onto all of their clients too. I mean, the proof of what they were doing was their own stuff they made for themselves and then the clients bought into that stuff. It was an empire,. You know what the best part about my two heroes here and at the start of all this stuff for me? My dad liked that stuff. It wasn't this pretentious bullshit. Sure, I remember the criticism. Oh, it's too campy or it's too whatever, and [inaudible] all that, it made design look fun to me, these two guys. So I have to thank House Industries and of course, the mighty Charles Spencer Anderson for giving me a big green light to go and make my own stuff. Thank you. Now, while I got you guys here, they're all taking a break, let me plug this book for House Industries, you guys just shut up and go buy it. Enough already. It's a fair price, it's got everything House Industries in there, there's just too much to pack into this book. I mean, if you get lucky, if you get real lucky, you can see this asshole on page 666 or whatever it is. So I've talked about my heroes, Chuck Anderson and House Industries, and thanks you guys, but I want to talk about friends that I'm seeing out there, sort of what's happening around me right now. This is just really inspiring. The first thing I want to tell you guys about is my buddies at Hellcats, and that would be my buddy, Clark Orr and Brittany. What they're doing with Hellcats is they've created this weird, saucy, sexy, gothy, tongue in cheek stuff. I mean, everything from candles to cool little pouches. Here's the thing, I watched those guys take a step back, assess what they were doing, and start making things that they loved, just for themselves, and then offering it out into the world. Another one is a friend in Chicago named Jenna Blazevich. This girl, she's got a point of view, she's a badass, and her messages that she's making art around as things get right in the world and this gets a little political, she's making incredible, powerful art for women and getting these messages out and it's grabbing me. Go look these people up, buy their stuff, support them. These are friends. But if they weren't buddies, I'd still be that weirdo banging at their gates buying their stuff, enjoying their stuff, trade stuff, whatever. I'm still a fan. Keep it up, youngsters 4. Tales of Merch: The Shuttle: Okay, so here's my whole Space Shuttle tribute. Where this all starts is back in 2010. I get this e-mail, this guy is messing with me and he says, "Why didn't you submit a sticker for this NASA Last Space Shuttle Patch competition or something?" I didn't even know about it. So I click on the link, and I go look, and I see the patch that they selected, and you've got five-year-olds submitting patches designs, you've got 55-year-olds submitting designs, whatever. They picked something and it was just rough. As a child of the Space Shuttle, someone who grew up looking at these things, who loved Lego boxes, then of course, connecting that to the same typography on the side of the Columbia, the Challenger, the Space Shuttle, I've been a fan since I was six years old. I see this like that's just a heartbreak to be like, "I didn't know about this competition." So that afternoon, pissed off, I make my little version of it. It's just a reaction to the simplest of terms, Space Shuttle '81 to 2011. I make the thing, I post it that day with a little bit of a tear streaking down my cheek, and that's that. A couple of days later, I start getting e-mails from kids who are like, "Hey, how do I get that graphic? How do I get that?" That's where this whole thing starts. So I have a poster made, I get stickers made, a couple months later I make the first t-shirt. All these years later, almost nine years later, we're up to something like 22 items or something, to the point where we're making these big shuttle boxes with our division out of Wisconsin. It's just amazing that these things are incredible. So it's kind of gotten away from me. As we were assembling all these things, all spread around the shop here, I can't remember how many times I've printed this thing, to the point where it's like, "I can't even remember that we made a yellow version of the hat. I think it's looking pretty damn good." Get this thing out of here. Why has this done so well? I have my little theories, it's got something to do with primary colors and also the simplicity of the '80s, we'll just say. This thing's been on The Goldberg's for years. This thing has now created opportunities for me to go mess with it, because we've had our fair share people all getting a little liberal in the rip-off department with this stuff. But now I make fun of myself with yellow mustard condiments, pizza slices, double cheese, whatever it is. Now I have people come to me and they'll say, "But I don't even like double cheese in my patch." It's a pizza slice patch. Just chill out. I just want these things to be fun. Here's the thing, I love when people from NASA and stuff call me now and say, "Well, who hired you to do this? When did you do this and why did you do this?" It's like, "This simply came from my love of the space shuttle and that's it. I was raised looking up, wondering about astronauts, and velocities, and tragedies, and all this stuff. I'm a child of this stuff." I'm really excited to see the longevity of this little graphic, because it did not come from a client, it just came from my heart. 5. Coming Up With Concepts: So a couple of months ago, I had this dream. I had this dream with this poster that had just this really simple pattern of clouds on it, and it was in my dream. It was like I had made it. I had made this thing and it made absolute perfect sense in the dream because that's how dreams are. It's something fantastical, makes complete sense until you wake up and think and go, God, that's absurd. I woke up and I sketched this thing out in my field notes and I said, "You know what, I'm going to make that poster." All it is is one color, it's cyan with these white clouds knocking out, really simple and I knew the name, I schemed up the name, Cumulus Collected, cumulus clouds,. Because it was absurd that it's just a poster about clouds. But there's something very pleasing about that to me, and here's the bigger thing to talk about here, why can't we make things that are just really pleasing to the eye or just even just pleasing to myself. Check it out, maybe I only made one poster of this because it came from this weird place where I had a dream about it. I sketched it out and I went and built the thing. Maybe it only exists as a wallpaper on my iPhone, but that's still real within my world. You see what I'm saying? So when I scheme and dream up these things, it is a weird, weird privilege to not be held down by, oh that isn't going to sell. That isn't cool. My version of whatever I'm making here isn't good enough. Because that's what we do, we beat ourselves up. This was just about execution, just believe in it, it worked in the dream and it's going to work on this page. Now listen, let's just say it went flat and I don't sell any of them. Who cares? It was fun to make it and to harness this. Where do dreams come from? Are we alive? Are we dead? Is this reality? I mean, this is all shit I think about all the time. The universe expanding in every single direction, limitlessly, endlessly, eternally, etc, etc, etc. That's real right this second, and when my dad comes to me in my dreams, is that me eliciting that or something because I miss him? Maybe, but who gives a [NOISE] it happened, that's real. So I have to learn how to harness these things and find this, because let's just say this thing really becomes successful. It came from a dream, that is cool, there's a story there and if it didn't, well, I got a cool poster with some clouds on it, and you have to be okay with either. So that's where this starts, and I guess the idea to talk about here is, how to scheme these things up. Be open to the absurd. Be open to feeling like, wow, that doesn't exist, I've never seen this on a poster, right? I'm sure if I look hard enough, you'll find it out there. But I didn't see it and I wanted to buy one so I just went and made one, and that's where a lot of my merch comes from. This weird quality of, I'm not going to wait for someone to go do it, I'm just going to do it. So I went from this sketch that came to me in a dream. Went and made the thing, was lucky to have it printed pretty quick. Turned it around and was that this merch show that we had. But of course, the moment I put up the poster at this merch show, people are asking me about, well, where's the pin? Where's the patch? Where's the sticker? Because I've been lucky with a couple of things like my space shuttle graphic. That thing has exploded into, I don't know, it's like 20 items or something now. Here's the deal, what that meant was there were some legs to it, there were some legs to it. So when I got back from that merch show, I got to make a patch, a pin, a sticker. I know where to go for that stuff, but I started to think, well, what would be weird? This is all about research, right? I've got a graphic, it is painfully simple. You can make those things too. But should that be on a coin purse or a tote bag? Or yeah, let's say a tote bag. So let's just say it's a bright blue tote bag with a white pattern printed on it of these clouds. That sounds pretty cool. I'd like that tote bag to go get groceries in, right? You can see my mind turning right here, right now. But you have to go figure that stuff out. So the quality is you've got to go do the research and you got to go get online, see what's out there, see what's available, see what's doable. This is your chance to go see how would I take this thing that I dreamed up and go put it on something and where would I even find that stuff? So I'm going to start looking for that stuff now and go do a little research and jump online. 6. Researching Vendors: Okay, now it's time for some true vendor research, where you're going to make this thing even doable. So maybe just do a search for promotional products, and you're going to see all these things start to like all the big heavy, your four imprints and Vista prints and all these big things come flying up.This is the first step, you're just out doing research, and you just figure out who your vendors are. Remember, when you start to click around this stuff, you're getting into some tricky territory because first of all, you've got to make sure it's the right price. What are their minimums? What is their timing? There's a whole another world of getting your art put onto their piece, and the sort of intricacies with that stuff, lets stay a little bit down to the ground here and work with patches, pins, stickers, coin purses, little key tags and key fossils, basic promotional items, can openers, bottle opener, envelope openers.Those things have never changed. That's what I love so much about merch and making things. So here I'm at 4imprint, I'm looking at these little aluminum bottle can openers and I'm checking out there's the green, and there's the silver, and the copper, and the thing that I'm always looking at is what is the product? What is that little piece? The chassis really is, the way I look at it, I'm looking at the tiny little details. What is that naked item that comes out of that piece of plastic or aluminum because that's going to get a bunch of stuff put on it, right? If you're starting there and it's not quite the right thing, it's never going to feel right as a piece of merch, you have to find the right piece. There's a lot of chaff out there, there's a lot of bullshit out there. It's fun for me to sort through that because people will see this stuff and they'll see this stuff, that's fun right Bell? That sounds pretty good, they'll make fun of me because they'll come up on my little merch booth and we'll see a stack of these little orange cuspid cleaners. Remember, when you break this stuff down? It's a toothbrush, that's all, but black bristles. So it's something you should be cleaning your boots with or something, right? It's weird, to want to put that into your mouth but this all ADA approved, when you take a look at the vessel, It's a chance to get weird and have some little fun copy writing to mess with the form of, you know what this is? It's a Halloween edition toothbrush. That's all it is. The fun part about is you'll see these weird items and you see an opportunity and you strike. You can make something so simple like this completely new, and I would have never known about these things unless I had to go really deep on my vendor research. So when you're digging around these websites and you are sure that you will make notes, all right, I want this many pieces and I want the graphic to go, you remember, this is a business and these guys aren't doing this for their health. If you want to make a coin purse or something and you want graphics on this side and graphics on that side, you're going to learn very quick that, that cost extra impressions, extra ink, extra hits, extra stuff, extra set-up charges, they're going to take you for every little thing you can, they can get out of you. Of course, that's just how this works, there's been some lessons I've learned along the way, for instance, is about quantity. Quantity is a weird thing because, all comes down to what your capital is. You're going to see in what's called the MOQ, the Minimum Order Quantity, if you're making a patch, so I'm going to say you have to make a 100. So if all you can afford as a 100, then that's okay, but there's just be some lessons as you get going, always try to bulk up because here's the deal, you're going to save a little more money when you do that, if you do have a run and sell it, go on a run and sell a bunch of these things, you're going to have them in stock. You're going to have a bunch put away that you can go in and do other things with it. If it does fall flat ticket and donate them or something, do something cool with it. When you go on these sites, you start digging around. There are things that you can start slow and safe. Buck your $0.75 or $0.50 a piece, and you're not really, sticking your neck out there too far. Start there, maybe. Listen, you don't want to spend a week figuring out pricing on the stuff that's 20 minutes. Go look at five different sites. If one site has the best price, sometimes you can take a screen grab of that thing and go to the people that you worked with before and say, 'Hey, so and so on their site, sung it for this price. Can you match us?' They'll beat it every time, if here's a thing, it's like we're in this world now, people don't know to talk on the phone to each other, people don't even really know how kiss a little ass, because you're going to have to kiss some ass and the merch world because, you've got some, dip shit down in Boca Raton who is doing this because they're half retired. That's who you're talking to when you call these places sometimes. Do you think they care about how tiny your type is on your little goofy, key chain the don't. But if you talk to them like a human and show them that you're really interested in this stuff, you can shift that really quick and then you get them on your side. Think about something like as simple as a pencil, one thing you're going to run into, when you're out searching and learning about how to buy merch and build merch and order this stuff, there's just sort of a terminology, this stuff you're going to learn, and then when you get on the phone with people, you better understand, here's a Scrabble word a for rule. The for rule is what holds the eraser clamps onto the eraser and clamps on to the actual piece of wood. If you show a commanding knowledge, even if something as simple as a pencil or a click pen, there's this less variables for them to hold over you when you come out and say yes, the for rule needs to be this color and that's in your document and it's in your mockup, and you're hoping that just shows that you know what you're talking about. So it's one thing to call a website and get a relationship going that way and try to find something, but there's another thing that goes back to the tradition of the trophy shop. A trophy shop in your town, will do everything from engravings to trophies to, you go in there and you sit down and they will have, catalogs of all these promotional products, and there's people that do this stuff. I just will say, if you make the call yourself, you're cutting out the middleman, you are the person contacting the vendor but also doing all the legwork. So you might want to get a relationship going as this thing starts to go for you, where you find a middle person that does a lot of that legwork for you. I'll tell you a story about my buddy Shawn McMann, who approached me years ago, here's a guy that I can trust for timing, I can trust, he knows all the persnickety stuff that I worry about, he knows how to find the right little sprinkle, that I tried to exhibit in my whole life. He'll go the extra mile to help me find the perfect sizing and the perfect marijuana patch, the perfect tone on something. Because frankly, once we discover that, he can go silent to other people and get that same feel, don't be afraid of the middle person, or the middleman, or middle woman, or whatever you want to call it, don't be afraid of that, level with them, understand their pricing, understand what you're paying for, hold them to it, and then be a good citizen and have tight files to hand off. If I'm going to make a, here's little piece of merch that's been kicking around my table that I made a couple of years ago. A DDC brand key chain light beam, it's one of these little things that goes on your keys, you press the thing, there's little battery in there. Even for a simple piece of merch like this, there's going to be a list of things that you just have to watch out for. Whenever that is have a protocol, so you're completely informed of what it takes to make the simplest little key chain light beam like this one. 7. Tales of Merch: Crusty Merch: Let's talk about Crusty Merch. What I'm getting at is little things, they're kind of like, at first glance, kind of throw-away items. Becca, throw me some of the from stuff over here. Do you want me to toss? Just whip it. All right. Man, okay. You just scooch it all over. Yeah. All right. Hand me all the stuff. There's no respect with any of this stuff. Okay, look at this. Tom, throw me the piss bottle. Throw it, just throw it. Now, we'll get to this in a second. But here's the deal, when you look at these funny little things here, be it our DDC hair organizer. I mean, it's a comb. I have printed somewhere close to 10,000 of these things. That's insane because they're three bucks or four bucks a piece or something, but people walk up on it and their first reaction is like, "Who needs a comb?", until they read the copywriting. See? It's one of these throwaway items that people will walk up and say "A pill box?". Yes, it says something on there about ample storage for whatever it takes to kill the pain. But people buy these little things and there's just something about these simple little unmess-with-able. I call them a chassis. It's like these little forms, these little items, these little things; this hasn't changed. My little goofy embellishment, I call this thing an envelope eviscerator. You know, it's sharp as shit up in the corner. This, with your company logo or a little bit of funny copywriting, it elevates it to this thing. The funny part about this, I have friends who are always trying to re-up with these things. I need another one because I've used mine every day for the last six or seven years. Because they actually work. Now, when you look at the graphics on some of this little stuff, what I love about it, is there's a tendency for it to get away from you. When that graphic hits the piece, it's going to shoot out a little bit, and you might lose some of the little details or things might fill inside the letter forms. Who cares? Because it feels right on this little piece here. Don't sweat the small stuff. That's the idea here. This is just meant to be fun. Toothpick holders or, you know, everyone needs an Emery board. When you find out that you can actually print on the Emery board and get weird with it and say calculated prison breaks, it's stupid. The funny part about something like this, when you don't have one, you're doomed. As a nail biter, I have to have these things around. So I had to go make the funnest one I could make. I've done, I don't know, six or seven thousand of these things. That is just weird. Let's talk about the worst piece of merch I've ever made, and that one is an easy one. That would be the DDC brand fluids unit. Now, all this is, is just a dumb water bottle. Look, they are so shitty they can't even get the colors right on the oranges, fine. But what's fun about this thing is, the metaphor is: it's just a water bottle, but can you make it fun? I did my best. Well, it says clever push-pull lid. That thing is pretty clever. As I go through and I build this thing, it says multiple uses; water juices, broth, Ale, spirits, and in a pinch, piss bottle. How to kill a brand 101: call one of your dumbest pieces of merch a piss bottle and you won't sell any of them. Welcome to our DDC little pouches here. Little all-purpose zipper pouches, but this one's a pretty fun one. When I ordered them, the kid warned me, he was like, "Are you sure you want these because I mean, they're really creepy and clammy" and that's when I knew I was all in. I want them to have the same exact feel they had when I was a pizza delivery kid in 1988, and these do have the same creepy, clammy feel. When that ink hits, it lasts forever on this thing. This is to me a perfect expression of what I'm trying to do. Yes, it's funny. Yes, it's kind of weird and they're super affordable, 12 or 15 bucks or something, 16 bucks. Whatever it is, you'll have it forever. They last forever. But these exist out there and when you go and you start to look at the basic pieces of merch out there, you're going to run into this sort of thing where when you say, "Hey, I want this with this image, at this price." The people are going to make fun of you a little bit because they know that these aren't popular. They're trying to protect you but that's your chance to say, "Oh yeah, they're not cool? Give me a deal." Sometimes they'll do that. So last time I did these coin purses, I just kind of leveled and said, "How long are they going to make these things? They've been making them 70 years. " She's like, "We just don't sell those anymore." So, what the hell? Give me a deal. But what that means is then when she shipped 4,000 of these things, it was like a 50 gallon drum of these bastards and I'll have them forever. So exploit that when you can. If you sense that they're like, oh, they're rolling their eyes at you, ask for a deal because this stuff still works for your cords and your goodies or your receipts and pizza tips and all that kind of shit. It works and that's like a really cool piece of merch in there. 8. Designing a Patch: All right, you guys, let's make some merch. So let's go back to that sketch that I did out of a fever dream or whatever, I came up with this little crusty sketch right here. Here is the posture that came out of it. This has been done for a little over a month. It's out there. I was able to quickly turn it around. But here's the thing. The moment that I got that thing in the merch booth, I had a couple people buy a couple of these. Awesome. But then, of course, they went looked around my stuff and said, how come there's no patch? How come there's no pen? Where's the sticker version? Because what will happen, something that starts to hit, they're going to want to see all these other things. One thing to think about when you're making merch is, it is going to be different from thing to thing to thing. So if you make a coin purse, some big doopy hit of white on a blue coin purse. It might be one-to-one because of that process, which is pad printing or whatever, however they're screen printing on there. But you go to an embroidery, different. If I press this into a piece of leather, completely different, because the moment that thing hits, it creates a little canyon. Those edges illuminate differently and they could look too small, so you may have to fudge them up. Whatever the application is, understand when you're going into these things. This is going to guide. When I go back and I look at things, this ocean dynamics, I don't even know what this thing is, but it's one of my favorite patches of all time. It's got great type and thick lines and it's this contained shape. Look at this turd. Now no offense to Bud's Bar, but the perfect, perfect sprinkle of [inaudible] , it just works. This is one of my favorite patches of all existence right here. It's got everything anyone would ever need. It's got horses, some guy named Bud, it's in South Dakota. What you're seeing here is you're seeing limitations. You can't print whatever you want. You have to give a little bit of breathing room. That makes for a certain kind of graphic on a certain kind of backing or a substrate or whatever you want to call it. So we've got the poster. The poster has been done awhile. It's time to make a patch, but I want to show you what you run into when you're doing that. I'm going to grab my little stash of patches that I love. There's always stuff going in, there's always stuff going out. But the first thing I'm going to do as little pro tip, I keep rulers within arm's distance at all times just here in the cockpit. But what I'm doing here is, before I even get started, I'm going to go through and just visually feel what feels to be about the right size. So what I want to mess with. So I'm going to look at some smaller things. I'm going to look at a couple of larger things. That's probably a little too large, whatever that is. But the idea here is you're just getting the feel for scale. The feel for scale. It's one thing to work all digital when you're going to go to make this patch, but you can lose sight of yourself inside the program. Even though you could get your screen to be one-to-one and you put your measurement, you put your hand bite on the screen, it still feels odd. You need it in your hands. What I do with these is, just this gives me a little feel of, here's a pretty good-feeling size, do I want to go small with this thing? Do I want to go less? Do I want to go big? But this is a physical thing that I can get a feel and say, all right, that would feel pretty good on something and I can feel it and touch it. Because then what I would say is, let's work our way back from the this and let's measure this thing. So if I measure this thing and I go, cool, that's somewhere around three and a quarter. Cool. So what I'm going to do here is, I'm going to start with precisely that, which is 3.25 by 3.25. That's my circle as I get into this thing. Let's go get the color of that, that backing. The terminology of the patch, I'm pretty sure, I know this is called the Merrow around the edge. The backing, maybe it's just called the backing, I think. There's maybe a better term, someone let me know. But the Merrow is usually, as a rule of thumb, nine points or 0.125 inches, something like that. So the first things first is before we start to just plop them into this, you have to mock up. Coming in nine points off that edge, as we take a look at this thing and we say, okay, it's 3.25. Cool. Now let's come in and make that proper Merrow. If we do an offset of negative 0.125 or negative nine points. Now we're cooking with gas a little bit. When you look at a patch, if it is tonal. This thing's seen better days. Looks like someone died and I got this off a dead body. Well, that used to all be white, but now it's just the color of juices. That color of off-white is the same as this. That's what it looks like, but you have to mock that up properly. So when we go do this, this one might be just a little bit darker in the background here. Now this is enough to give us a scale. Now that's what this patch would feel like. I'm just going to back out here. That whole graphic is a little more of a vertical graphic, sure. It might not work the same pounded into this thing. Let's just take a square version of the thing. There it is. Bring it over here and just plop it down. Remember, we have to do a little bit of adjusting here. As you can see, the graphic as it stands right now, it doesn't quite work in there that way. Let's just get rid of a couple of these clouds. That might work a little bit better because now it's working with the form inside that circle. Now check it out. What I'm going do, is before I just plop this thing in here and then fire this thing off, I just want to be cognizant of the way the points come to each other. I just get a little skeeved out that this little point right here in the middle might be a little problematic for how that embroidery handles it, because that thing is perfectly touching it. When you zoom back out here, they are perfectly touching in this 18 by 24 format. It's nice and big. You can get away with it there. But down here you're going to have to scale them all down just a little bit. How you would do that, simply, I have Shift Option Command D. I'll go down, let's just say to 97 percent on each little cloud. That did it right there. Now when you zoom in, Command Y goes into that preview mode, you can see there's a little bit of give there. But when you zoom out, now just check it out, here's how you do it. Zoom out, squint your eyes a little bit and you're going to see how they still feel like they're touching. But what you're doing right now is, I'm working with the substrate. I'm working with the limitations on the thread, the backing, the edge, etc, and how that thing is going to sit in there. 9. Designing a Pin: So we just built the patch. Let's make a pin. But before you do that, I'm going to grab some of my stuff that's always been in process. How I do this is as the samples come back from my buddy, Shawn. Sometimes, it takes a couple little extra steps. So what you're going to see here is like here's a guitar pin I've done, we've had them a couple of years, but you can see the lineage as things come back. When I did that little color burst star pin, first one looked pretty good, we had to switch a vendor for some reason. That's up to the middleman to figure out. But as you go through, colors were a little off, we got them a little bit closer, and by the time it got to the fourth one, that was right. I put the order in for 500 and we were cooking. On top of that, just to say, "All right, I'm going to go make a pin now, but what is a good dimension?" I've got some physical things in my hands to say, "All right, maybe it's just a cool 0.87578 wide," because that little watermelon pin here feels about right, we want to make a little cloud pin. Now, I'm going to go jump into here, and I'm going to build a pin version of this thing out. But check it out, I'm probably going to have to rebuild it a little bit. Because here's the deal, if we just go and we say, "All right, we know for a fact that we're going to go 0.875 by 0.875." We know that there's like that's the starting width, we like the way that the watermelon pin went, and now, we've got this little width. Well, here's what you've got to be careful of. If I was just simply to take these guys and jam them down into that pin size, they might start to get a little bit connected. This is a really subtle thing here, going real tight on those little peace fingers there. I had to give a bunch of space. First of all, you had to print two colors, they can't really be connected, you need a little bit of space between the two, but there's a bit of a fudging there. That is different than the original graphic. But when you pull back or when it's on your jean jacket, you don't really notice that. You see blue stars, and you see red stripes. That's fine, that's what the original graphic is. It's the same situation here. I'm looking at that thing and I'm afraid that if we take a look at the geometry of just the way one of these clouds look. I'm just going to pull one out here and I'm going to color it black so we can see what we're messing with. I'm afraid that when the pin, you can see this arc right here, when it stamps into the pin, you're going to lose that little point right there and it's going to soften because it's like a leather or like a pin or anything when you press into something. You can see how it's working on certain parts of these things here. The moment you press it in, it fudges a little bit, it softens a little bit. I don't want that cloud to become basically one. You see what I'm saying? Lose that subtle little thing. Remember, at the highest level on the screen print, you can go one-to-one. Patches, they can get pretty close, but we had to separate them a little bit. Now down to the pin, we're probably going to have to rebuild it. I'm just going to show you how I rebuild this cloud just to get it to the point where I can play with it and fudge some of those relationships. So check it out. We're going to start with just a simple circle. We're just going to get it close, color it something other than that black. We're going to get something close here, align it to the top, and then we're going to bring this thing down to where we just have it, just to play with it. Okay, close enough. Now, like any good bit of Math, using the same radius, let's just go get it to where it was right now. So there's that and then let them all center out horizontal distribute. There you go. Now, if you look in your "Command Y", let's go put a white bar. Remembering all these years of these classes designing by subtraction. Check it out. I'm just going to go trick this thing real quick by laying a white bar over those shapes. Now, when we look here, if we go send this one to the back and we get that original black shape out of there, there it is. Now, what we can do with these pieces is keep the original, and then come down here, and maybe grab that black shape so it sits up above it. Keep your original, and then you can go and fudge these things. What I'm looking for is on this tiny little angle right here, I want a little more of like this. See? I want a little more of that. Just give it. Maybe that could just be done by just becoming smaller. See this right here? That gave it a little more kick into that zone, into that little crotch? I don't know what you'd call that. It just accentuates that. The angle is just a little bit more extreme, I guess just a little bit more. So you can see the subtlety there, we're just fudging it just a little bit more, and that's an optical adjustment. It does change a little bit of the way this thing feels. Let's go do it again where we can align it to this one down here. We're behind the white bar. Get rid of the old one. Now, we can go and distribute these guys. This one is centered in between those two. Distribute them and start to get the field down. So here it is. Now, that is just a little bit different cloud. Now, going color black so you can see what we're messing with here. What I just did there? Well, that's pretty subtle, that's got a little more kick to it, that's the kind of stuff that now, when we go bring this thing down, and I'll show you the two side-by-side. Now, go and finish this thing. You finish this thing by uniting that one piece and then taking that white bar and shearing that thing off, put a little star next to it or something so you know that's the final piece that you like. Now, bring this piece down here into the pin zone, and go to work on it. Let's get that geometry real quick to get to the same size as the one below it. Now, when you zoom, and you can see that little bit of difference. When that thing softens up later on, it's going to allow for it to fudge a little bit and still keep that same kind of feel of the geometry. What I would do is I seem to go on quickly dupe all these things. So if you just grab this one and you hit "Shift Option" command all the way down that dupes it, and then hit "Command D", "Command D", and it will equidistantly put them the same distance that you started the first one. If we want to get those all distributed the right way to where they're lined up. Here we go, let's check them. Go and do the distribute objects vertical distribute center, there it is, make sure they're all centered. Group those, bring those extra pieces over here just by simply hitting "Shift Option" command and then dragging it, put another setup here by hitting "Shift Option" command and dragging it, ungroup that, bring one more down here to the bottom by hitting "Shift Option" command. Now, make sure these are all equally distributed. Group it, grab these pieces. This is like a little battle ground, the way to think about this. Leave this as is. Take this thing, bring it over, isolate all the stuff you don't want or we want to keep. "Command X," get rid of all the other junk behind it, "Command F", it comes back in there. Now, that is an optically adjusted little piece. But here's the thing, when you zoom out down to that size. Here's the patch size that we had. I'm going up against this little pin size. The one thing that I want to be careful is, do I want it another circle? Do I want it another square? What if I get a little weird with it and just change that up a little bit? Because in the end, you have this poster, you have this round patch size, and you have this square or maybe something like this. When you go down, I just don't know if that feels as good as it could feel. There's maybe a little too much happening in there. Let's try something a little bit different where we make a shape like some sort of a little hexagon or something. Let's just get it right to that 15 degrees, 15 degrees, there it is. Let's go and take it out of the shape. I don't understand what this even means but you have to expand the shape and we want to change it back to the reset the bounding box. Now, you can see the bounding box. Because what we can do now is we can take maybe just six of these things to tell the story of this thing. Take six of these things, drag it over into here, and that might be enough for a tiny little pin. Because if this thing is going to be 0.875 wide, we're just getting a little taste. See what I mean? Just a little taste there of that graphic and maybe, there's something a little bit more pleasing to that. So check it out. Here I am. All right, cool. Now that's just a little bit different shape but what it does is, remember, every piece of merge you make, you want it to just feel like it was meant to be in that shape that you made them, you have control over all these formats. This is for us to mess with. You have to be careful that it doesn't become predictable, or one note like, wow, circle, circle, circle, circle, circle. Take advantage of the medium, take advantage of that little format, take advantage of the ink, or the paint, or the stitching, or whatever, and work with that to make it a dynamic piece. Well, that's what I'm trying to do here. When we play with this pin and as we continue to go here, I round the corners off a little bit because when I look at some of these things, I'm reminded things feel really good when they're rounded because it fudges the process. The sharper edge, it's sharp. Just give it a little bit of a softness to take the edge off. Now this thing is starting to feel like a dynamic little piece when we grab this little piece over here and bring it back away from our work space or our little battlefield or whatever you want to call it, and step back and say, "All right, cool." We've got a poster, we've got a patch, and we've got this optically adjusted little pin, and maybe that what's going to work the best. Here's the thing, it's not that I'm happy with three versions of the same graphic. One is one-to-one, one works within the next one which took a couple of things to fit that circle. Then we go back in and we plop into that little pin. Those are still part of the same family. That's the main thing. But you're adjusting on the fly to go now and start to actually produce this stuff. So our next step, we're going go build these into proper files, and all the things that go with them, the pin tone, the dimensions, and little insurance policies, the little pieces that don't touch this, don't touch that, that kind of stuff. I'm going to show you a couple of examples of previous files I've built to show you some of the nerdiest that goes into it. When I get these things right, it will to be handed off to our body shop. 10. Tales of Merch: Fancy Stuff: Here's a fun section, this is the best merch I've ever made. We'll just start with probably number 1, which is this book, Pretty Much Everything you've heard of it. Thank you guys for getting it. We've sold so many of these things, this should have never happened. Of course, the little slip case that we made and sold on the tour should have never, ever, ever, never happened. These things feel like real things to me. They are real things because there's something really magical about making merch. The moment that you press something into leather, it just becomes real. These are little stuff sheaths that holds one field note, and where this came from is my buddies who were back in the skinny jean craze, they're riding their bikes around town, they got their feelings in their back pocket. Now their asses grinding on the seat and it's ripping the spine of the field notes. So I made the simple little stuff sheath, which just goes into protect that thing while it grinding around back there now. Now when I'm on the road I use this for receipts, and things, and stickers, and goodies, and business cards, and of course, my few notes to protect it when it's going in and out of my pocket. So there's just something about when it presses in to this leather and makes it a real thing. You can see here I'm wearing the new DDC times Timex Standard Issue Scout Watch. This came out a couple of months ago and this is the coolest thing I made in all of 2019, comes with a couple stickers. As you unwrap this thing here, and it comes with a little pillow where the watch comes on there. I'm not going to take it off there because we're going to be shipping this one out pretty quick to someone who bought this thing. But this is a real piece of merch, it's a real bonafide Timex Watch. The coolest part about it though, yes it's got the anodized little crown and all the cool little matt coatings, and matt finishes, and the neat super hive is orange band, and a bunch of neat little DDC details. But the very coolest thing about these, these are 84.99. It's not 300 bucks or 550s or 229, whatever the hell, no. These are Timex price, I bought them from Timex at the Timex price and then went with their suggested retail. See, what I love about this watch, you go right now to that Target three miles from here. You go to that Target, any person can go buy a kick-ass Timex Scout Watch for 65 bucks, that's cool. Too many times, design, items, fashion, stuff, it's only for those who can afford it and yet these basic watches from Timex and get them at a Target, that's really cool to me. I know how this stuff works and when you look at our merch roster, we could charge more, but I don't want that, I don't want that world. I want to make these things, get them out there fair price, make enough to make more and keep the whole train chugging along. This isn't some big business plan. This should've never happened. This should have never ever happened. Let me go grab something that should have never ever happened, hold on, I'll be right back. Now these, I don't know how even know what the hell you call them, ottomans or little stools or whatever the hell is, you can see there's my little sun rays, thick lines graphic. Then of course the clouds thick lines graphic. These are made by these guys called Sixinch in Indiana, incredible guys making really cool furniture and stuff and I don't even know how to talk about these things. Not only are they a real piece of merch, but they will last for 40,000 sittings. Maybe for error and drop and that'd be about a 23,000 rating. But they know about this, that's how long these things will last after they've been fabricated and has got the cool little logos and stuff on the side. You can see here there's a little Sixinch logo on there, we have little special graphics. We're going to take advantage of every little opportunities things but, this has blown my mind, we're making furniture now. 11. Preparing for Handoff: Now, we built that patch and we would build that optically adjusted pen. Now it's time take those two patch and pin and put it into a file and make sure we have all the little stuff attached to it. But before I do that, it's just as much of a piece of art, or we'll say it's an art form and how you hand the stuff off, just as much as what you're making that goes into it. Because when you're making merch, the hand off is everything. Let's go just take a little walk down memory lane. I remember this one, felt-tip pens. That's what it takes to find these pens. Your life is just ticking away, isn't it? I don't care. So I found my three little felt tip pens. These little pens that we sell and make and stuff. When you take a look at this thing, we've got the properly colored markups in the back, everything at 100 percent of course. But the idea is this, if you're looking at the list, what we have is over here for the pen color. That's the names that probably paper may offers up, sky blue, tangerine, and black. Then the pen markup and their layouts with an artwork is meant to go on these little guys of course, and then the imprint color, we have that specter over here. Here's the artwork at 100 percent, there it is, grouped and ready to go, everything converted, the outlines of course. You have a quantity 300 pieces per color, and then that little disclaimer note. In red nice and bold, or because at 100 percent, you have to go make your own. But if we were just to go and zoom in on that thing a little bit, here's your chance to see that stuff, and let's just talk a little bit about that. Because when I say, or altered, or stretched, it's a little dramatic, but I've had all of these happened to me, and there's a reason why you do this because check it out. Take a look at this little nightmare. When you go back years ago, I want to say 2004 or 2005, I would've made one of my first sharpies. I remember, I built the little graphic and here's what the little graphic looked like. You can see it here. There's this tiny little thing, I send the thing into the promo company, and then I get back this. So take a look at this now. Now here, no offense to Motivators, they were doing their job, fine. But when you go and you zip in here, here's where, the request design, there it is. Then it says the request is I will not print clearly allegedly in my opinion, here was their suggested design and it's pretty rough. You can see what they're doing. They're lightening up all the ink, they're getting rid of possible problems zones of counters on the type to fill in, and if we back up just a little tiny bit, you can see well they're trying to go and ensure how to make it print properly. But here's the deal, they murdered it. It's lost all the integrity of my goofy little type, you can see it. Also I figured out the radius of this thing and the way that that Draplin Design Company North America sits on the axis of one side, when you perfectly flip it over, that's where you get the proud list of services. But they're not thinking about that, like I was thinking about that. I figured that out here on my end, and this is the proof process. So they do the suggested design, and then what I have to do is I have to make another file and put that in big bold letters, do not alter, do not stretch, do not redesigned, and then sometimes you're going to have to sign a little contract. The contract says, just print it as is and then you cannot hold. I mean it's not necessarily Motivators or Branders or any of these awesome company, I love all these stuff. It's not really their fault. They have to ensure, because the average person who comes and gets some promo ship design, their sentence stuff in on napkins. Their sentence stuff enough to speak and spell or whatever the hell it is, it's all craggy, someone's going to rebuild it, and these operators there that you're dealing with, they have to rebuild this stuff all day just to make it viable. So my stuff comes in and they think I'm just trying to making shit too small. So they go and adjust it and they murder it. Now on the worst-case scenario, you'll send your graphic in, they're just going to print the thing, it's going to come back, and then no one told you they printed it and someone made an adjustment. That's happened to me many times. You ship all of it back on their dime and then they have to redo it again. You have to do a little bit of fight them and back and forth in and getting a little mean on the phone sometimes, but that sucks. That's why there are proofs. Because if you think of a promo sharpie, people usually put a big old dumb name of their baran, and that's all it is. Now, once in a while they're going to have to work with you to make it really special. So next time you're at one of my merch tables, check out my little sharpies, they're cool. There's a lot of little funny things on there, but you have to go through a series of stages and steps to ensure that it's going to print the right way or the right little sprinkle of shitty, if you will. But this way you have control through that process and that's what these files look like as you go through the time machine back all the way back to hell this was way 2004 2005 so I've been fighting the good fight a lot of years so moving right along. 12. Building Your File: Now, what I'm going to do is, I'm going to isolate these two new pieces, which is the patch and the pen. I'm going to go build proper files for each. So we can grab both of those things and just start a new file, command C, and go command new, and I'm going to go find a basic CMYK, which is in the other file bin chugging along for all these years. It comes with all my symbols, and on my color palettes, and new shit built into them. So okay. We're going to open this thing, and we're just going to get these things in here first. So check it out. First things first, we're just going to start from the very, very bottom and work our way up and build out this file properly. The way to do that is, isolate these little pieces. So if we're going to start, here's a little pro tip, command X go commands zero, it centers the thing, and then command V work perfectly inside the middle of your document. So it's perfectly centered in there, and the eight-and-a-half by 11, we're talking 5.5 by 4.25. So I think it's perfectly inside there. All right, so now, I'm going to go do my dimensions. So I take a look at my patch and this is feeling pretty good. Whatever it was, it was 3.25, okay, cool. But what you have to go do is, you have to build the dimensions to let people know exactly how big this thing is. There's a couple ways you could do it. Go and build some lines, for the sake of just clarity, let's color these things nice and just magenta. In any old line, there it is, then do it again over here. What we're doing here is, we're building the dimensions out. So you draw a couple of pink lines, I'm going to draw one more line. Now, this is going to be your arrow line. So what you want to do is, you want to come into your stroke here and show all your options, and then you go all the way down here to add arrow heads. We're going to add a nice simple arrowhead to this thing. There it is, arrow 7. You can do is, you can scale the size of the arrow. Now, we're going to go down to, let's just say 50 percent, there it is. Now, go dupe this little guy, flip it around, and now you've got this space in here. Now, just remember, at all times when you're building these files, my recommendation is to use the simplest of Helvetica bold, because what this means is, that's a typeface that's on every computer. I'm not talking that nice, super big one, we're talking just the junky, just on every machine Helvetica bold, simple bold, okay? Then get that thing in there, color it pink, and let them know that this thing is 3.25. See, you're on in every little piece here. Here's an extra little pro tip. Ready? We're going to go get a little bit of the glyphs going here. I'm going to get my little glyphs folder because this is bothering me right here, see? You want to be professional? Let's be professional. See, this is not a 3.25 quotation mark. No, you got to get the prime marks. So get those prime marks out of your glyphs, there it is. Now, that's 3.25 inches. You see what I'm saying? Now, when we go do this again, let just go just an arrow on the side. Now, we know this is a circle. We want to go take these whole dimensions and we're going to put them down below here just like this. We're going to go put that 3.25 in there again. You're going to adjust your lines, grab the two edges here using your scale tool, hold shift and push them out a little bit so that thing fits inside there. What you just did now is, you just built your dimension package for this thing properly. You own that. You've got the dimensions, you've got the lines, you've got the arrowheads, and now it's time to go put some Pantones on there. This is real simple. Remember, we built that one member 777. You built that pantone chip in your symbols palette. All right, go grab one of those out of there, there it is, we have one color, and when we get in on that thing, we expand it. Let's go quickly pick a Pantone color for this thing. I've been calling it cyan up to this point, but there's a process blue, whatever, 100 percent cyan. That might be a little too dark. So just for the sake of speed, I'm going to go grab something a little bit mellower, let's just say it's just a nice cool blue. I'm looking, and I'm wasting your time, I'm wasting my time, I'm wasting my life. I could die any second. Let me see if I can find the right kind of thing. Just for sake of speed, we're going to cool 299. We're going to go find that Pantone 299. So we're going into our swatch libraries, into color books, pantones solid coded, there it is, and your little dialogue bar 299. There it comes up there, check it, 299, 2995, grab that one. Put this thing into your color palette. There it is. Now I'm going to isolate this thing. We want that to be 299. We want this to stay, remember, we're just going to do this in a nice simple Helvetica bold. There it is, 299. There's your pantone chip. So we can close this little guy now. Now, check it out. We want white stitching, so the back is going to be this, that's the back of this thing. So we're going to have to figure out the merrow. I mean, this is going to take me a couple seconds but just check it out. So what I'm doing here is, I'm just telling you exactly what goes into this thing. Check it out. Width, on, we'll get there in a second. Go grab one more of these, and we'll call it white stitching. So now, the way to do this [inaudible] coloring it white, you lose the bottom edge there. See the bottom edge? Go give it just a light gray edge. So we can see that that is a white. Now, I'll call that just white. Now, go put the little stitching part underneath there. Now, what you're doing is you're building out the entire kit here, right? So check it out. Now, when we get the signal right, and looking good, and looking tight, now we can say white stitching on Pantone 299 backing with Pantone 299 merrow. What that means is that merrow, that's little edge stuff, that's little, now you can take a look at one of our little examples here. There's good merrow and there's bad merrow, right? So the stuff is all flat and shitty. I like the real chunky stuff 0.1259 point. So even just to sort of like even ensure that we're gonna get that sort of part right, here's one more note you could put in there, get in there and actually tell it, just say, traditional patch merrow with 0.125 thickness. But watch that little glyph. Watch that little glyph. Where's my little glyphs? Get that thing right? Now we got to do a quantity. So let's just come over here and let's just say we want 300 patches. So just grab this thing real quick and put it nice and big over here. Quantity 300 pieces. You get that thing nice and big. You can see here now, I've got my quantity in there. I've got what goes where, the patch is there, the dimensions are there. So now it's time for just a little bit of tough love. Because in handing those things off, it's scary because they've been known to alter things, doing their job, fine, but that doesn't mean it's always for the best result. So let's just go make once and for all some kick-ass warning thing. I'm going to grab it a little piece of type over here, and maybe this one goes to something like really vivid green. Because now you're getting a little mean. So let's just do this here. Artwork is at 100 percent. That means inside the file your vectors are at 100 percent. We've measured to what patch size feels kind of good. We've measured that kind of thing. We note the merrow we like and stuff. But now we're letting them know the artwork that we have placed on there with those proper dimensions, it's at 100 percent. That's a big deal. Do not scale artwork in anyway. Do not change. Do not alter. Do not stretch the artwork in any way. Print as is. Print the artwork as is. What this does, this prompts them. They might have you come and want to sign the thing. The idea here is that now it's time to get this file ready to hand off. We are going to go real quick here and I'm just going to go bust out the same thing for the pin. So for the background just do a little bit of a audit of what's going on here before we start to hand these files off. You take a look at it, you say, all right, cool. We've got the patch. We've got the right graphic in there. Everything's at 100 percent. We have a little bit of a warning. We have the dimensions. We have the white stitching on there. We're just reviewing here. Pantone 299 backing with 299 merrow, that's the edging. Traditional patch merrow with a 0.125-inch thickness, quantity 300. Same thing over here. We have our dimensions and our specs and our pieces and our art and our things. See now, these are ready to hand off, but there's one last little step you want to do. You want to isolate and make sure you're not handing a bunch of other crap off with your files. So let's just save this thing. Let's save this one as the DDC_243_CUMULUS_COLLECTED_patch, we'll call it round one because there might be multiple rounds as we go back and forth. So we're going to save it there. Cool. What we want to do is we just want to isolate all of the colors. Let's get my color panel looking a little bigger. There it is. Now, get rid of all the junk you don't need. So I'm going to get rid of all that stuff I've been carrying around for all those years. All I need in there is just that Pantone 299. What you're doing here is just ensuring, go check everything real quick. So if you double-click this, turn it over to a CMYK. Want to make sure that you don't go to some wild color. Put your preview on. Now you can see here the only things that really were affected, were the blues from these little chips and stuff, you have to go mess with all the rest of the stuff. So jump out of there and go and give that the right Pantone 299. Go a little bit darker on this one. For the edge merrow, do these over here, same sort of deal. This represents, remember the debossed type a little bit darker. This one needs to be outlined. There it is. Now, get rid of all your symbols out of that symbol palette. One lesson to get screwed up. Here it is. I'm going to save this cumulus collected patch round one. Now let's go save it out as a pin round one, and get rid of this other patch file here. Command zero. Now this one is saved. This is just the pin file, saved. There it is. Let's go back in there and grab that other guy into your patch and get rid of the all pin file stuff. There it is. We're getting there. We're getting there. Now that this file has been saved, it's done. It's got a nice proper naming convention. Check out what you're going to do. You're going to save this thing and we're going to save out some versions to hand off to the vendor. So when I save this thing out, what I'm going to do here is I'm going to just make sure it's this. I'm going to make sure it's this. It's been saved down a couple versions. So let's go down to like CS4, just to be safe. Because here's the thing. What you don't want to do is you don't want to create any hiccups when you hand this stuff off. It's enough just to say, hey, you might not have the latest CS, whatever the hell we're on for Adobe Illustrator. Go back down a couple CS3, CS4, it's such a simple file. Go back down to that thing and let it reside there. Then your last up, it's been saved there now. Now save it out as a PDF and just make it the PDF/X-1a-2001. Now, what this does now check it out, when we back out of this a little bit, we take a look at where we're at here. Let's clean up our little folder a little bit. There's the patch and then what you've got inside there, you've got the patch and a PDF. This way anyone can open it and take a look. You can just test here. Here's what my PDF looks like. Now you can see, here's all the pieces that need to be inside there. So this patch file was just sent off to my buddy Sean. This thing is bulletproof. It's got everything it needs. He knows the right act. For me to show this whole artwork at 100 percent thing, he doesn't need to hear that anymore. He knows how I work. But if this was someone I was just starting a new relationship with, some promo source online, wherever, I'd have to put all that stuff in there. So this file's been sent off and depending on how fast he can turn around for this whole thing with the crew and everything, we're going to see it show up, we're going to see that first sample, I'm hoping in about a week or so. So our bet's off, fingers crossed. We'll see what happens. Thanks, you guys. 13. Revising Your Design: But I got one final thing that I want to show you, but you know what? I don't even know if I like this hat. Pretty cool. What I forgot to do, was I forgot to talk about just reality of what's on the screen and what's off the screen. Because listen, when I have these things laying around, it's one thing to play with them and touch them and understand the size. Another thing, if I go crack this thing up for my little pin file, right now it's three times the size it's at. So what I forgot to do was a cardinal rule of merch, print it out, cut it up, and take a look and see how big it is. So that's we're going to do right now. Give me the print Tom, give me the print the god damn thing. These people come out here from New York City, think they own the whole Pacific Northwest, they don't, just give me the goddamn print. Moving right along, cardinal rule of merch, print the stuff out. Because the thing is, we're in this weird zone where I don't even talk to clients sometimes. Everything is over e-mail and much less never would meet them. How weird is that in that world, and yet here I am working everything on digital [inaudible] whatever. Everything is a notification, everything is a bit of data, it's so weird and I'm forgetting one of the cardinal rules of merch. Print it out, and just take a look at how big it feels on your stuff. Maybe it's on my little lapel here with all the debris and hair and fur and little dead skin cells and dander and all other bullshit. But you can take a look how big it's going to feel amongst other like-minded little pieces here with your other pins. I have to say, it is the size of that little watermelon pin, it feels pretty good and this is what we don't want to happen. These are a little graphic I made, I don't know, couple of months ago about just human beings. When I get weird, and I start thinking about the cosmos, and I start thinking about Fermi's paradox, how on the other side of the universe that a civilization might be starting right today or ending today. That's why we haven't heard from someone, or maybe someone already looked at us not interested, someone somewhat, why do we have two legs, two arms and a head, and that's the shift that I nerd out on. That's a real thing right now, look at all of us, we are these creatures. But on the other side of the universe, someone might be at their end or maybe just starting, and that just moves me to tears. Fermi's paradox of like, the hell look it up. So I want to make this pin that just celebrates the human form. But what happened, is when they came back, they were just a little too big and I had the wrong file size. I think I made them at 0.625 and they should have been 0.55 like my little crabby crab little guy here is, because that just felt a little better. They just they just feel a little too big, and the problem is I screwed up. I was moving too fast and I hand these off to Sean over Brewery Outfitters. He did his job, he got the colors right, he got the sizing, he got the sample, they came back, I got them in my hands, they're too big. So I had to go and adjust, and there's a couple things I had to do. I had to adjust all the files, bring them down to 0.5 or 0.55 or whatever it was. The thing is as it got smaller by just simply shrinking down the existing graphic, I was nervous that those lines going to get too tight and they would form into one line. So I went through and just I optically adjusted everything and gave for every little 10 percent, I shrunk the thing, 15 percent I shrunk the thing, whatever it was from 0.75 to 0.5 or whatever it was, I went and optically gave those things more room. So when I went down to that size, those lines were a little bit farther apart from each other to feel like they felt right here. This felt right, but when you go down smaller, you have to go and adjust it to compensate for that. So here's the whole thing. It's like this is the cardinal rule, print your stuff out at all times, cut it out, play with it, see how it feels on the things it's going to have to feel good on. We're all moving fast, when I'm on a plane there is no way for me to do that. So I always have to remind myself, make a note, when you get back home take this step, and you can see when I've screwed up. I'm a human being formed in this universe with all of us watching this shit, I'm one of them. Well, I screw up all the time and I always try to learn how to get better. It's these little things here, I always forget but print it out, cut it out, get that shit right. Thanks. 14. Tales of Merch: Field Notes: So you guys know this, this is Field Notes. We're talking merch. Now here's something where I made my own and I use them every day. But I couldn't find ones that I liked and out of that weird necessity, I just went and printed my own without all the goofy graphics and all of the goofy copywriting and just campy stuff. I just want them to feel like something that if you went to a lumberyard, they just throw you a set because you're just trying to get the numbers from the lumber, etc., and get the hell out of there. The first ones I made just had general graph paper to them. This was where I was making notes. I did that here in Portland, Oregon, 2,000 books for $2,000 and it was a bit of a long shot. I remember that first run that I made was 2,000 of something. That was the biggest number of anything I've ever made. The way that thing packs down into boxes, they were 20 boxes filled with 100 singles each. We didn't have them into three packs yet. It was just this quality of how much does it cost to make this little chassis, have my ink, my favorite paper from French Paper Company and then, of course, the graph paper that we print on the inside. Well, I've got the unit cost figured out and they came out here and within a couple of months, I'd given them all out because I was giving them to friends by the handful. I just thought that of 2,000 of anything, I'd have them for the rest of my life or at least shoeboxes of them laying around, right? But it took off. I gave a handful to Jim Coudal and Jim Coudal, he saw something in this little book. He saw the quarterly additions and the subscription services and all the weird random stuff and of course, me out here in Portland making all the rogue stuff that I make. He saw all of that. In this weird little instant, we shook hands, we became partners and 14 years later, Field Notes is still this incredible little company making fun stuff. There are so many kinds of explorations of detail in these things. I don't get to do that with my normal stuff. So when I get to go roll my [inaudible] up for Field Notes, we have proper budgets and proper people, proper citizens, adults running this, because if it would have been me, I would have killed it years ago. But Jim and Michelle and Brian, these guys, they know how to do this stuff now. Then they allow me or all of us to go and use these incredible embossing and foils and cool new papers. Look at this man. My buddy here in town, Eric Nyffeler, who did this cover for one of our Series D National Parks. We had 12 different artists contribute a cover for the poster art. That is amazing. So from detail to content to some of the different sizes we're doing here and ones that come with little models and stuff. One of the little mantras of Field Notes is every time you purchase something with us, you get a little something extra with it. So that's always happening here be it in the copywriting or just if you asked me, just the weird little gilded edges of this stuff. This stuff is just beautiful to make. So I'm working on right now. I'm using a Group 11 here in the pocket. These are our latest ones as these words go to print. But these details, I couldn't pull this off with my wherewithal here in Portland. Maybe, but Jim and the gang ought to do it and I'm forever thankful. 15. Reviewing Your Merch Samples: Okay. So I'm pretty sure this and my buddy Sean bringing those first samples over here. Come on in. All right. Hurry. Everybody, Sean McMahon, Brewery Outfitters, Portland, Oregon. Come on in here. All right. Here's the big moment. Here's the big reveal. What do we get? Cool man. So here's the pin version of our little Cumulus Collected. That one's feeling pretty good. Cool. Size feels good. The color feels good. There's little graphics on the back. Everything feels good. What else we got? So here's the first version of the patch, but I will say I might've had my file a little off. It seems a little high. Do you see what I mean? Where? Well, it's just high. So check it out. If you can see this, I'll show you. It's just a little high inside the circle. So I need to do an adjustment on that one. So here's the thing. I have to go back into my file and I have to do a quick adjustment just to bring it down maybe eight inch size. I see. It's going to touch the edge and then it won't feel it's leaning towards the top. So here's the deal. This was on me. When I submit the file, he hands the stuff off to his vendor and so on down the line. He translates all this for me. So I can make a change there. Let's see these little humans. Yeah, those are pretty cool. It's a little weird at the line. So what we're running into is it looks like his back is turned to us. The person's back is turned. See the little form? So what are my options here? We can lift the circle? Yeah, it's either going to sit on the front or its going to sit behind. So if we change it to the [inaudible] stitch, the same way that the clouds are, then it will lose that line that defines the touche. Well, it's frustrating because when I hand these things off, this is where you're learning. It's going to take up a little steps. Now remember, these might be a little more forgiving than pins to make the changes. Because your pins, you have to be really careful. Remember how we were stretching things out to make sure they were compensating for the spaces and stuff? Pins require tooling and a little more time. The idea that we handed the file off and it came back a number of days later. These things come flying back in. These take a little bit more time. These are a little more forgiving, so we can go make changes a little bit easier on these, but it's a process. By the time we get it to where I like it and we're ready to sign off, then he submits it that way, we make the quantities, and we're cool, but the changes would be just to lift that into one piece and then I'll give you a new file where I push it down and I think we're good to go. Three or 400 of those ready us to go now. So we got lucky on this one. What kind of a turnaround to get those back? 2-3 weeks? On a revised sample? Yeah. Yeah, 2-3 weeks. Okay. So in that process, that was probably about 10-12 days to get that first sample back. That was pretty fast considering. So what does it say? That's going to turn to about a month, maybe five weeks, until I get them in my hands and get to play with them. That's just how this stuff goes. So we have to be patient, I guess is what I'm getting at, but we nailed this one. Now, since the process of getting them ordered, it's going to turn into probably about a month until delivery because you can probably make that change and they just deliver the next time. Yeah. Absolutely. All right. Okay. We got Sean, We need to get that right. That's a little more realistic. The timing [inaudible] All right. Come on in Sean. So here we are. Now we're seeing some nice rainy day out there. Come on in. We've been a couple of weeks. Goodies. So we've got some revised samples here. So check this out. Here's that first one and here's the revised one. Here's that second one. You see I got it right. See how that thing feels better now. It doesn't look like it's turned back round the wrong way. So this one's good to go. I think it was four or 500 of those. Awesome. Then here are the revised clouds. We're ready to go. So check this out. Wow, give me that thing. Yes, here's where we were and he's got them right now. So I said to move it down a little bit in the file and take a look how those guys look. See how it's touching just a little bit down that corner? Now that feels properly centered inside this little circle. So check it out. Here's how these things come to me. He's delivering the shipment, and now he'll bill me for the whole mess and then I'll pay for these things. That's sort of the process. Then this one, it took one little revision and then we of course got them right. This one, we've got a couple more steps, one more step and then we can take these things and now go put the order in for this one, there was another one which was black and yellow, and ship these things off. We'll see those back in a couple of weeks probably, right? Right. The bigger note of why, to introduce you to my buddy Sean, and I really talk about this, is because these are physical proofs I get to play with. This is a service I'm hiring him to go do for me. Sometimes if you're doing things online, online they may not even [inaudible] Maybe just a scan. So you just get a scan and that's sometimes good enough. When I'm on the road, I have to go on a scan. Plus we have a relationship. He knows the colors I like, he knows the tolerances and stuff, but this is cool. This is the best to see it up close because you get to feel it, see if it's the right size on your hat or on your jean jacket or whatever it's going to be. That's a service that these guys are providing. So tap into that stuff because you're just going to get done that much quicker and they'll know the timing a lot better than some guy on a phone somewhere. They'll tell you whatever it is just to get you off the phone. We have a relationship where I can count on him and then make my patch development, pin development, decal development coincide with how I want to have these things get ready to unleash to the world. So real quick, while I've got you guys here for Sean's splits. I'm going to take my samples here now. When I got this first one back in December, whenever it was, I put a little date in the back and a big holed number 1. Now the second sample, I'm going to put a big holed 2 on the back and put the date down here. So here's what the first one looked like, here's what the second. Just the idea of numbering these things. Here's just a little quick pro tip. All your little samples and stuff, don't put these out into the world or out into your merch, keep them in a little pile somewhere where you can reference those moves that you made. Because it might be tolerances, it might be colors, might be distances, and just things. Keep all this stuff in one little centralized space because it's like a sediment. As you go through these things, you can see the decisions you made and what you learned or didn't learn from them. So thank you. I appreciate it. You guys, hire my friend Sean McMahon from Brewery Outfitters, here in Portland, Oregon. Here it is ready, Brewery Outfitters. Just come find him and he can make cool stuff for you guys too. Thank you. 16. Tales of Merch: Warnings: Now for a cautionary merch tale. Here's the DDC yardstick, it's the last one I have. I remember when I was so excited to make these because you go to these lumberyards and they'll give you paint sticks. You go to the paint store and they give you their own little custom printed paint stick to stir the paint. When you look at the vessel, this is the chance, 36 inches, for them to say whatever they need to say about that lumberyard. So this is just such a cool little application of stuff. What I loved about it is that it's functional. I'm going to use this thing. I use this. You see there's paint on it and chips and stuff because it's my last one I have, but I use and I live by this little thing when I need to measure stuff. But the caution comes in like, I remember when I had it printed. I gave them this graphic here. You can see it's in futura bold. Everything else is just in a basic, some sort of little serif font template. The lesson was, I found out after the fact, I could have been more assertive with them and said, "Hey, no, I will lay out that little template in futura bold also." Because here's the thing, what you learn about merch is they say, "No, no, no. You can't do that, the imprint area is only here. It's only here. We already have this in print." They were just being lazy, and that's what I've come to find out. Because somewhere, there's a little bit of a crack in the arm or something and some low operator somewhere when I was on the phone, said, "No, no, no. You can do the whole thing. It's just a little bit of an up charge because if you do a new art and test it and all this other stuff," but I wasn't assertive enough. The next cautionary little aspect of this is when these things came in, I was so excited. Wow, how much should a yardstick cost? Ten bucks? But how do you ship it? So you have to put what? Cardboard around it. You just put a stamp and someone's address on it, which you actually can do. I did it a couple times. But I think it's banged up and hit and crunched and checked through feeders and all sorts of ship by the time it gets there. I've got pictures where this thing has been broken and should have broken both pieces in the guy's mailbox, and then I start to put it in cardboard, and then finally I met Leigh and Leigh just said, "No more yardsticks. What a pain in the ass to have to ship them, worry about them, you're not making any money on the whole." Sure because to ship this thing is 22 bucks or something stupid. But these are the little things you're going to learn, and if you can learn that here, they're just the bigger idea of think about where and how you're going to get rid of this thing. Now it's one thing if this is sitting on my merch table in a little cool, a little bucket or something out in the public. That's one thing, but to ship this thing, for every piece of merch you make, you have to think about a couple of things. You got to to think about how much does it cost to ship it, not only here in the Pacific Northwest, but all the way to the other side of the nation? That's going to be a little more, or going international and all the intricacies there? You have to think about what ships, what does it ship in? The receptacle, the envelope, the little cardboard mailer, the little cardboard box, that's going to be a cost there. Then of course, whoever is helping you ship the merch, what's their time worth and what's it cost to hire someone to do all that stuff? I never think about that stuff. To Leigh's credit, she does. She'll do these weird little analyses of, "All right, here's what you're going to cost for every single time you touch it." That changes the price a little bit, so I appreciate her for that. Those are lessons I'm learning every day how to make these things. They all started back 2002, 2003, and I made this first thing that just sounded fun, but I couldn't ship them. So take some caution youngsters. Think about this stuff. If you just make a bunch of these just to give out to your buddies in whatever town you live in, that works too. But be careful. 17. Final Thoughts: Yeah, it's all right. So this class has come to an end and I am just a little freaked out because listen, none of this shit was ever supposed to happen. My life, a life in art, a life sharing with all of you guys, and now our sixth Skillshare and this idea that some goofy little dream I had can now become these things. They showed up. They're cool. They're here. You're going to see them on stuff and things, and it is just this funny little patch, and pen, and poster, and stuff, something that came from this, being open to being a part of a dream. But here's a deal. This is something that I wanted to show the crew when I came here, why do I do this stuff? Is because this stuff used to exist. This is Lena and Al Eklund released from Copenhagen, Denmark. What I love about it so much is that this thing exist in the world purely to hold car keys and things, or treats, or snacks, or in my case, a bunch of dead patches, and bullshit, and things, but it's fun to hold, it's fun to put your car keys into, there's a joy to it, and that's the whole thing with this whole class, because I'm all nervous when we're done with this thing. You guys got to go make this thing now. If you have an idea for a piece or merch, you want to go make it. You have your little dream, whatever comes to you while you're sitting at that stoplight, and now you can act on it. You can go source the stuff, you can start to design the stuff and take your design and properly put it into that file, and then think about all the little steps you need to know, from picking the vendor to worry about the price and the quantity, and how to ramp up and how to ramp down, sending that thing off, creating relationships, seeing samples come back, and you watch how Sean brought stuff over. I'd react, sometimes it was a little off, I'd make some changes. There's a process to this stuff, and I just would hope that by you guys watching this, I've armed you to go out and make your own merch and hopefully make something like this that I could buy. So I want to thank you for coming to this, and thank you for hanging in there with me all these years, listening to these things, making art, contributing to my life, contributing to these classes. I'll be out there stinking up some of those comments and stuff to after this thing comes out, but thank you for being a part of this and we'll see you around, and go make things like this. All right, see you guys.