March 24, 2011 at 6:00 am
I was excited to get a little behind-the-scenes peek this week at the process of creating I’m Organic’s 2011 Earth Day shirts and bags. I thought it would be really fun to share what I learned in today’s post!
Several months ago when I’m Organic started coming up with ideas for the Earth Day 2011 limited edition design, president and co-owner Justin Hajny realized that the many slogans he had been thinking about had one thing in common: they were all about how taking care of the earth just makes sense.
And so the theme It’s (Eco) Logical was born.
The owners knew they wanted a really creative, inspired design to go along with this year’s theme and I’m Organic’s overall message and mission.
So they contacted Chris Hajny, a Minneapolis-based product designer, illustrator and creative director who has been making a living creating art since graduating from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2004.
After I’m Organic provided him with some key phrases, he sat down with a pencil and sketchbook.
“Even if I think I have a good idea, I have to draw for a bit,” Chris said.
Some of those early sketches illustrate I’m Organic’s theme, along with Chris’ concept that eventually spurred the tree design.
“Once I had concepted ideas for a while, it was pretty easy to pick my favorite idea out of the group and luckily for me, I’m Organic was just as excited.” Chris said.
He had been looking for a way to blend typography with the illustration instead of layering the words on top of an image.
“So when I sketched a tiny tree with ‘Earth Day’ hidden in the branches I was pretty sure I knew I wanted to flesh that out,” he said.
Chris has a background designing apparel through his work at Paper Bicycle, a design studio that consists of Chris, his wife Lindsay and close friend Francesca. Together they create art, design, stationery, apparel and products for companies like Target, Department 56, MEAD, The History Channel, and more.
(In addition to the family connection, Paper Bicycle was an easy choice to work with on product design because of its portfolio and vast experience creating apparel designs and other original artwork, Justin said.)
In many ways, the I’m Organic Earth Day project was similar to work he’s done for other clothing companies, Chris said. He’s is always thinking about who’s wearing what he’s creating.
“The fun part about creating designs for I’m Organic, as compared to a mass-market retailer, is that I think organically-minded people are, on the average, a bit more educated and clever, design-wise,” he explained. “I give that audience credit for having a more delicate palette when it comes to design. That gave me the freedom to go places I might have to avoid, normally.”
He also embraced working with I’m Organic because he enjoys doing projects that he connects with on a personal level.
“I’ve done things like creating promotions for a local (and amazing) theater company, participating in a bicycle-themed group art show, and now working with I’m Organic to make fun products that raise awareness of being awesome and living organic,” he said. “On an artistic level, it’s very collaborative and free and they appreciate the sensibilities and input that I bring to the table. I also love knowing that it’s organic, local and honest.”
And I’m Organic loves working with Chris as well. He has already begun work on some new designs that will be released soon.
(I’ve gotten a sneak-peek of those too, and am very excited for the new apparel to become available!)
The limited edition products are 100 percent organic cotton and are made in the United States using water-based ink.