Disney. Pictures. Stuff. And so on…

Posts tagged ‘Merchandise’

And the award goes to…

or “I’m just happy to be here!”

To start with…

Friends, let me be one of the first to congratulate the winner of the Disney Store’s Design by Me contest, Christy W. This is something other designers look at, smack their heads and say “why didn’t I think of that?” It’s such a simple premise, and yet it says so much. Just as good design should. My hat’s off to you Christy!

The only constant is change

Ok, so until May 4, we all thought the results would be different. But according to Disney, many of the votes, including some of mine, were not legit. No more info was given. In the end, I came in second place, losing about 400 votes, taking me to 1,200 total.

As for Michelle M.’s shirt, her take on Mickey was, I think, exactly what Disney wanted from this experience, a fresh, new look at Mickey Mouse. Yes, it was polarizing. Very polarizing, complete with accusations of cheating and even some generational trash talk about those “Brooklyn hipsters.” But good design, as with good anything, should cause a little stir. As my wife once said to me, one of the reasons she married me was I could make her the most angry. Something that illicits this much emotion has some serious emotion behind it. But more on that later.

For me, this entire adventure, and trust me, it was just that, was one of great highs, the lowest lows and everything in-between. And even though I didn’t win, I can thank all of you who voted, and had your friends vote for me! I even made the front page of the business section of the our local paper’s Sunday edition! How cool is that?!?!?

Proof that I was indeed in the paper. The proof is more for me than you guys, I still can’t believe it.

The truth is, I truly was honored to just be in the final five. I have no idea how many they got, but we can assume it was more than a few. And for about an hour on the first day, I thought I might have a chance, by the Friday after the contest started, I knew there was slim chance of pulling out a victory. And I felt how you say, not so great about it. I decided to try to get 1,000 votes, and I did just that. So thanks to each and every one of you. You made me feel like I created something meaningful.

Who knew?

So, about the contest itself, and the thread on the Disney Store’s Facebook wall about it. Wow, those people are vicious. I mean, just read through them. Yes, I was surprised that some of the designs got so many votes so quickly, and so long after the contest started, but that’s the internet folks. And for those people accusing some of the designers of ‘knowing the right people’ yeah, that’s how it works. It’s “social” media. I told every single person online I could tell about this. Some of you who voted for me may not even have liked my shirt, but voted for me anyway. And that’s cool.

Last year, I sent some Disney attraction posters I did for fun to Boing Boing. I was proud of them, knew that one of the moderators on the blog was a big Disney fan and thought what the hell. Within the hour, I got word via Twitter that he had posted them. Within 24 hours I had over 16,000 hits to this very blog. Even now, I get 2-3 hits a day just from that one post.

I also did some “Keep Calm” Disney posters, based on the English posters used during WWII. I posted them here, on Pinterest and Tumblr. I’ve had over 700 repins on Pintrest and over 7,000 reposts on Tumblr of these three. My point? This is how Social Media works. And though I tried to get my shirt higher in the rankings using these very same sources, it wasn’t in the cards for me.

And some of the things said about my shirt: “…it does not represent the spirit of the Disney brand or of our beloved Walt,” and  “common and uninspired.” Sigh…Such is the life of a designer. Unlike fine artists, who have the leeway to create based on their own emotions and experiences, professional designers and commercial artists design for the marketplace. And we are met with much criticism much of the time. You have to have a thick skin in this business. Don’t get me wrong, it is through this fire we emerge as better  artists, but it can sting at first.

I’ve also done these charity posters recently. I’m including them here because I can. And I think they’re really cool.

But in the end, it was just a t-shirt. Let’s all dial it back a little…

Getting to the point

The one thing I can take from this? Out of all the entries, someone at Disney thought mine was one of the best.

I’ve tried to get Disney’s attention before. I would so love to do this very thing for them and design Disney Park merchandise. I even caught the eye of the Disney Store President on Twitter with my Mickey Ears idea. But this is the first time someone in the organization actively picked me. For that I am eternally grateful and will carry that with me the rest of my life. The masses can say what they will, but I’ll always have that nugget of validation.

Said ears

Why so serious?

If you’re still reading at this point, I’d like to take a minute and talk about the design process, because this is my blog and I can do that if I want ;-).

Why I did I what I did?

Market research…i.e. looking at the Disney Store Online for shirts, and walking outside my office to see what the kids are wearing these days. Working on a college campus give one a unique perspective on fashion and current style. This year? It’s all 80s dude. From off-the-shoulder t-shirts, big belts and gladiator sandals to neon sunglasses and bandanas, what was hot when I was in high school, is hot again. So, it seemed a natural fit.

Angry Birds shirt at WalMart. Totally 80s.

Disney Park merchandise has had a decidedly retro feel to it for the past few years, with the 1970s being in the forefront. I decided to go one step beyond (see what I did there ‘Madness’ fans?) and bring Mickey into the 80s.

Im’a let you finish, but these 80s-style Disney Store shirts are rad

But what 80s style? Well, 8-bit games are a hot design trend now…

so I did a low-res version of the ears. Bright colors. Bold lines.

The “every guy you knew had one” Nagel posters are making a bit of a come back. So I tried one of those.

I know you remember this one

And I did one more

I even tried my Keep Calm idea

It wasn’t until I was somewhere with my daughter and saw my inspiration…shutter shades. Thank you Kanye for bring these back. Ever kid in my daughter’s school has a pair of these.

Of course, I couldn’t find an illustration of these in a vector format I could use, so I made my own:

Which led to this:

Add this totally awesome 80’s font, which happily matched the sunglasses:

Add some 80’s color from a palette I found online:

I remembered how much I loved paint spattered clothes when I was young…

I still remember those shorts, the paint was neon. I wore them all Summer.

Plus, we could only use a black or gray shirt, so I wanted something that would stand out against the black and really be in front. I also was going for a fun, Summertime shirt, and something that evoked those emotions of being with your friends, being outside and enjoying yourself. Back in the day, I spent every Summer from 1983-88 in Southern California, and most of that time was spent at either Disneyland or Universal Studios. I would have worn this shirt to within an inch of its life. So, for me, this turned into a bit of an exercise in experiencing my youth again.

We’re almost done here

The strangest part of all this? Two different Greek media outlets picked up on this and posted links. In the end, it didn’t do much for the votes, but cool none the less.

So, it’s over. A week of surreal experiences. I got new followers, talked to a lot of people and heard nothing but kind words from friends and family. Again, because I can’t say this enough, thank you for your votes, and making this a most memorable task.

If your interested in seeing other items I’ve designed, have a look here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Monday Disney thoughts

I’m starting to feel like this guy…


I had no idea this tshirt thing would turn into what it has. From the people ahead of me being accused of cheating and having my shirt called uninspired, to being on the front page of the local paper’s business section, it’s been a learning experience to be sure. I’ll post more about this after the contest is over, but today, I feel like I want to tell everyone it’s just a flesh wound…


Found this today online, but have no idea if it’s really a Disney Park thing or not. If you know, please share.

Vote for my T-Shirt at the Disney Store


I’ve been picked as one of the finalists in the Disney Store Design by Me contest on Facebook. Just click on the design below and you can vote once a day! Thanks very, very much!!

New Mickey Gas Station Play Set

Disney new Gas Station play set looks very familiar, no? I love that Mickey is wearing a tie. Thoughts?

It all started with a mouse…

There are precious view visionaries in our lives now. Men and women who see the world differently than you and I, people who know that all it takes is one push, and the culture follows suite. Steve Jobs was one of these people.

The American dream, as we understand it, has always been to make something of yourself using what you were born with. Hard work and ingenuity brings a life of fulfillment and happiness, as well as pushing the boundaries of existence. In the early 21st century, fortunes are won and lost by bartering other people’s fortunes. Moving money around, speculating on stocks, buying and selling foreign currency, reaping the benefits of mortgages, both good and bad, have made thousands of people wealthy in this country. But as America moves closer to a service and financed-based economy, is there still room for the tinker, the inventor, the visionary?

Apple has proven that yes, there’s still room. And much like our beloved Walt Disney, Steve Jobs created not only a product, but a lifestyle and culture that will live long after we’re gone. In the coming weeks, you’ll read a lot about the similarities between Jobs and Disney, it’s no mistake that Disney crafted a relationship with Jobs and Apple years ago. The business plans and philopshies are just too in synch with one anther to be ignored. And for this, fans of Disney and Apple can be grateful. We can hope that like Disney, Jobs put in place people who will carry out his dreams and wishes to keep Apple on a path of success, while never losing sight of the fact that it all started with a mouse…

Followers of Apple’s history have heard the story of a visit to the Xerox headquarters and the discovery of a funny little device that allowed users to interact with their computer’s in a way they never could have before, the mouse. In 1983, Apple introduced the one-button ‘Lisa Mouse’ to the world, and computing never looked back. It was this single device that, in my mind, perfectly sums up Jobs vision of the future: integrating the computer into your life in such a way that it not only becomes essitnatal to your job, it becomes an extension of your body.

Much like Walt Disney, Jobs wanted to bring the user, or guest, into a world crafted to appeal to them. One that worked, almost by magic. One that always promised quality, craftsmanship and happiness. One that once you stepped inside, you’re life would never be the same. I know this sounds bombastic, but look at your life currently. The chances are high you’re reading this on a Mac, or Mac product. I’m writing this on an iMac. I’m getting emails on my iPhone. Searching for photos on my iPad. And if you’re not using the products themselves, you’re using something that was crafted and popularized by Apple: a mouse, a touch screen, a user interface that you manipulate and change to meet your needs.

In 1984, a fact whose irony was not lost on my even at the time, I first used an Apple IIe. The first all in one computer. I sat in a college classroom at the age of 14 at ‘Computer Camp,’ a week of learning BASIC, a simple computer language built on if/then commands. I honestly don’t remember what I learned, but I remember the machines, beige with green screens, it was like going to the future. And as life progessed, I had the honor and pleasure of never using a PC. In close to 20 years of graphic design and art direction, I never used an IBM PC clone. In fact, when I started, you couldn’t do desktop publishing on a PC. I started in PageMaker, moving on to Quark Xpress and now Adobe InDesign. Quark didn’t even make a PC version for years. I had to convince bosses and supervisors that purchasing a computer that frankly cost a lot more than a PC was a good investment in the long term. I bought a Blueberry iMac in 1999 to start a freelance design business. An iPod Shuffle in 2005, an iPod video in 2006, and iPhone in 2008 and an iPad earlier this year. At my current potion, in 13 years, I’ve used 5 different Mac computer models. And in that time, only two hard drive failures. Can the American car industry say that? Steve Jobs created a product that I can no longer live without. These items are integrated into virtually every aspect of my life. I work on them, play on them, share photos with them, teach things to my daughter with them. Every item I’ve created and posted on this blog…from a Mac. Other than Disney, I can think of no other consumer product I use more.

So it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Jobs. As Disney fans, we can thank him for helping to fund Pixar, the company that has set the standard for not only computer animation, but story telling, much like Walt Disney himself. Jobs’ relationship with Disney over the years has pushed both companies forward in ways no one imagined. And that legacy of both men, will continue to do so for years. I’m struck by how affected by his death I’m becoming and coming to terms that no matter how much money you have, or what accomplishments you made, everyone dies. It’s this view that reflects what great men have said since the beginning of history…it’s not what you do, it’s what you leave behind that will be remembered.

You’ll be missed sir.

Friday Daily Disney

Hello all. We lead off today with a an announcement: today is my 16th wedding anniversary to my lovely bride Jenny! We met in SoCal, so of course I immediately took her on a date to Disneyland. We waited until our daughter was 3 to go back to Disney World, but we haven’t stopped since. The photo is from our February trip with my favorite, Stitch. Happy Anniversary dear. Love you.

Keith Richards returns to the POTC as Jack’s father, Captain Teague. This has been reported as the first look at Richards, but I’m not sure. He popped up in the first teaser trailer. Image here. Thanks to Stitchkingdom.com for the image. More photos here.

Above is what we’re told is the new Blu-Ray box for Star Wars: The Complete Saga. The set, released on September 16 of this year, will feature all 6 films plus over 40 hours of extras. More here. I’ll just say one thing: this box art is not how you say ‘good.’

These adorable Mickey and Minnie ‘cake pops’ were found on Etsy today. Cute! More here.

A great blog post from Mouse Planet about pet peeves in the Disney Parks. While I tend to turn a blind eye to a lot of these, kids are kids and when you load them up on sugar and throw ’em into an amusement park, they’re bound to be a little hyper, I did agree with a few of them. The enormo-backpacks are a pain, especially in line for Big Thunder Mountain. But mine would be the ‘It Used to be Better’ people. I know ‘Alien Encounter’ was awesome, and I miss the Sky Buckets too, but I love Stitch and my daughter likes ‘Great Escape.’ Fantasyland NEEDS to be expanded, and frankly, ‘Test Track’ is fraking awesome. You changed over the past 20 years, why shouldn’t Disney?

Happy Birthday to the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, opening this day in 1988. I love this Pavilion! A great ride, fantastic food, beer and what I’m told from female friends at work, the cutest guys in Epcot.

And your wicked-awesome Disney tattoo of the day

Monday Disney

We lead off with this year’s Stars Wars Weekends poster.

I don’t post a lot about new Vinylmations, but this new set is astounding. It’s the Vinylmations Bento Box, complete with ginger, wasabi and chopsticks. More here.

New Summer movie toys were previewed over the weekend, including Cars 2 and POTC. More here.

A LEGO Captain Jack from the LEGO Store in New York City.

Pirate Brands has introduced a line of products to tie-in with the new POTC movie. Proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

I stumbled onto these beautiful Disney shots on Flickr. More here.

Behind the Scenes of the first TMNT movie with Jim Henson. Henson’s workshop designed the animatronic heads.

Behind the Scenes on 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Hoth in your freezer. From The Chive.

From this week’s Post Secret.

And today’s Disney tattoo:

Daily Disney for Friday

In addition to a Disney monorail set, you can now pick up your own Disney Parking Lot Tram. Just don’t forget to remember where you parked. You can read more about bring actual Disney rides and attractions home after your vacation here.

An interesting collection of Disney film icons/fetishes. Find more here.

A great collection of mondo and minimalist movie posters, including the Disney ones above, here.

Some Epcot Flower & Garden Show fun. From The Chive.

And finanly, your Disney tattoo of the day:

Disney Dispatch

My new column for Disney Dispatch is online here. If you like the shirt, tell Disney…please.

Mickey Shirt

While working on a new column for the Disney Dispatch, I ran across this Mickey costume t-shirt. Disney only has this one and a Goofy, so of course, I thought I’d design one more. Disney execs, are you watching??

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