Key to the City | Skillshare Projects

David Hice

Founder of SbDr.



Key to the City

Hey Jeff,

Thanks again for doing another class. Working on the brand is never far from thought, but it is always good to get a little extra push from the class. I am excited to use this opportunty to break away from the norm and use this time to concept/create a completely new tee for the line. This is my favorite part about having a brand, really excited to know we will have a new tee in the line up in a month or so. 

Decemeber Update:

Hey Class,

Excited to finally update my project as I’ve been out of the country visiting Thailand & Hong Kong. I was actually inspired during this trip by the food, culture, & especially the skylines. Skylines, as much as the people & the culture, make cities unique. T-shirts are the key to a clothing line, much like skylines are the visual keys to a city; this is where the idea for the new SbDr. tee surfaced.


Research for “Key to the City”:

One of the best views of NYC is from the roof of my apartment building. This is where my inspiration started. To portray the best skyline on a tee, I needed to see it from multiple angles. I borrowed a friend’s car then drove up & down the East & Hudson rivers.




Making “Key to the City”:

After compiling various images from around the city, we made a version of the skyline for the tee.


Knowing when to stop!?

Sometimes knowing when to stop is the hardest part of designing. After looking at what we thought was the completed artwork, we thought it needed one more element to help the viewer not only see the NYC skyline but also deliver an “aha!” moment once they understood the connection between the design & the name of the tee.

This extra element came from simply looking a the physical key we were using as a design reference. It had deep grooves that immediately reminded us of being deep underground. What better way to evoke the feeling & experiences of New York City than referencing what every New Yorker hates? We included the subway. Although the tee is called “Key to the City” and the focus is on the skyline, we feel this secondary element is what converts a viewer from seeing this design as a “cool” work of art to a customer making a purchase.

(Reference Photo)



Ready for Print:


Test print:

The first test print went surprisingly well. Usually SbDr uses water-based ink, mainly due to the way it wears lighter, but the ink can also prove to be difficult when working with fine details because it bleeds. Instead of using a thicker ink we decided to increase the weight of the fine detail lines.

Another call we had to make was the unconventional placement of the artwork. It is always difficult to work with horizontal art on a tee for multiple reasons e.g. limited horizontal space can make the art wrap around the body. In an effort to keep the focus on the skyline/teeth of the key, we moved the artwork as far right as possible. Now when worn, the main skyline part of the image is in the center. Although the placement is a little low, it gives the tee one more unique element, helping set it apart from the normal look of graphic tees.



Final print:



For the classmates, check out more SbDr. here:
Instagram: @sb_dr


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