“The clearest ideas are the ones that work the best.”
So begins the latest installment in our Made By series. Recently, we talked with Glenn Jones, graphic designer, illustrator, and founder of Glennz Tees about his creative process and what’s made his online shop such a success.
So If you’re passing by someone on the street and he’s wearing a Glennz Tees t-shirt, Glenn wants you to be able to understand what message the shirt is trying to convey immediately. Clarity is key. “Glennz Tees is really my spin on pop culture,” he says, often taking highly recognizable things and putting his own flavor on it.
“And whether that’s something I see or something I use during the day, I’m always being inspired...It can be the smallest thing like my swiss army knife or a cup of coffee.”
Good designs are all about, “finding that little twist and something new people haven’t explored before,” he says and one look at his many designs will tell you that much. I mean, there’s one of a Heisenberg-styled Hindenberg. And another of Batman trying to get a signal on his cell. Clever, concise, immediately recognizable designs are where it’s at.
Glenn is based in Auckland, New Zealand and lives just outside the city with his wife, Julia, and two young children. “Our life is based around our children,” he says. A typical day for Glenn starts with a walk to the local park so his girls can play.
While working on his t-shirts, Glenn would also occasionally come up with ideas for New Zealand-themed designs. When his wife was about to go back to work after having their second child, the pair decided they could both stay home and work on the business together. They came up with art prints that could utilize his ideas of Kiwiana that inject humor into New Zealand pop culture.
He used to sit down each day and worry that he wouldn’t be able to come up with any new ideas. He’d browse the web and consider making designs around specific things he’d find but he soon learned that’s not how the creative process works. “It’s better to go for a walk, go and have a coffee, go out into the garden...because it’s when I’m totally removed from what I’m trying to achieve all those ideas start popping into my head.”
He describes his process as extremely fluid. “I’ll come up with an idea, I’ll draw it, and usually as soon as I draw it I’ll social media it, and straight away get instant feedback.” This gives him a great idea of how a shirt design will do before it’s ever printed, which is pretty invaluable.
Glenn comes from a background of doing a lot of client work where everything was a bit more restrictive. “And that’s fine,” he says, because you learn how to work within guidelines. “But when you’re creating stuff where you have no one telling you how to do it, I think it’s the ultimate.”
Of people trying to get into art or design as a career, Glenn acknowledges that the process doesn’t move quickly enough for some folks. “They put their portfolio online, put their work on there and nothing’s happening,” he says. The reality is that though people want to get noticed immediately, it’s those who are in it for the long haul who see real success. “As long as you keep looking for opportunities and finding people who inspire you, really the world is your oyster.”
But don’t you want to hear all of this sage advice from the man himself? Check out our latest Made By video right here:
In our 'Made By' video series we feature and celebrate some of the most innovative, creative and successful people from around the world. Don't miss the next episode by subscribing to our YouTube channel.