116 x Ugmonk Collaboration
116 and Ugmonk came together for this exclusive collaboration. Jeff Sheldon, of Ugmonk, shared some of the inspiration, design process, and their brand in celebration of the launch.
Why did it make sense to collab with 116?
I’ve been a fan of Reach Records and the 116 movement for a while, so when the opportunity to collab on a special collection came up, it was too good to pass up. I love the mission of 116 and what you guys are doing to break outside of the traditional Christian box and spread the Word. I’ve actually only done a few other collaborations in the 7 years that I’ve been running Ugmonk. I’ve been approached by a lot of people, but I’ve decided to spend the majority of my time focusing on building the Ugmonk brand. Since the mission of 116 strikes a chord with me personally, I felt this was an awesome chance to team up with a brand the I believe in.
For me, design is all about the details and showing restraint. Less is more.
Where did you draw inspiration from for this collection?
Ugmonk is known for it’s bold simplicity, minimalist aesthetic, and custom typography so I wanted to incorporate that same vibe with this collection. For me, design is all about the details and showing restraint. Less is more.The main “116” type treatment that is carried throughout the collection reflects just that. I also wanted to infuse a human element to the designs by incorporating a custom-drawn script of the word “Unashamed.” Rather than just designing a bunch of different pieces, it was fun to think of this from a collection standpoint where each of the pieces relate to each other in one way or another.
What sets Ugmonk apart from other lifestyle brands?
One of the main things that separates Ugmonk from other lifestyle brands is that it’s truly a design-driven brand. I still design every product which gives it a consistent and cohesive feel that can’t be replicated if all of the design was hired out to different designers. I consider myself a designer first, and businessman second. Ugmonk was born out of my desire to create things that I wanted for myself. I never intended it to turn into a full-time job or lifestyle brand, but here we are seven years later shipping thousands of products to customer around the world.
Ugmonk doesn’t really fit into any one category. It’s not a typical fashion brand, it’s not just a t-shirt brand, it’s just it’s own thing that has evolved over the years. Not having a traditional business model to replicate or someone else’s footsteps to follow can be challenging but is also really exciting. The possibilities of where Ugmonk can go are endless. Design will always remain the number one priority, but the way we grow the company, connect with customers, and share our journey will constantly change and evolve.
What does your design process look like from idea to release?
Designing and launching a product seems like a relatively simple task from the outside, but it’s a long process to turn an idea into a physical product that’s ready to release and sell.
The first stage for any new product is brainstorming some general concepts and themes. I’ll start by listing out ideas and doing some preliminary sketches just to get the creative juices flowing. I always like to start with pen and paper to rough out ideas. Using paper allows me to explore a variety of styles and ideas without being constrained to specific typefaces or tools within Illustrator.
Sometimes I have a general aesthetic in mind but many times the concept ends up evolving quite a bit from the starting point. Once I’ve honed in on a couple of design concepts, I’ll spend a good bit of time experimenting with the individual design elements until things start coming together. From there it’s just a lot of tweaking and refining until the I’m happy with the artwork. During this process I quickly mockup the designs on blank t-shirts (or other blanks) to get a better idea of how they’ll look as the printed final product. A design may look great by itself but doesn’t always translate well to a specific type of product.
Printing a shirt or making a product isn’t the same as clicking “File > Print.” Getting a design from digital mockup to tangible product can sometimes be the hardest step of the process. Everything from ink type, to the print dimensions and positioning, to the fabric type needs to be dialed in at this point. It’s important to clearly communicate about all of these details with the manufacturer to ensure the product turns out as envisioned. Then it’s a matter of working closely with them to create production samples and revisions until the product is 100% correct. This can be a long and tedious process to do right, but the results are always worth the wait.
Getting a design from digital mockup to tangible product can sometimes be the hardest step of the process. Everything from ink type, to the print dimensions and positioning, to the fabric type needs to be dialed in at this point.