Alex Mitchell

December 20, 2009

We interview t-shirt designer Alex Mitchell.

TM: I see you’re also a teenage entrepreneur. What have been the challenges you’ve faced as a ‘teenpreneur’ and how did you overcome them?

AM: The first speed bump was to overcome my age. I kept it secret for awhile while I built up my portfolio. No one really cared, and just assumed I was a 20-something. I thought it might turn people away to have a a 16 year old designing for them. Since I’ve turned 18 I’m open about it. I’ve got the work to show, so it doesn’t matter much anymore. Finding a comfortable price set for myself has been tough as well. I started off charging almost nothing, but I’m up to the point now where I’m making a good living for myself.

TM: What was your first “big break” as a t-shirt designer?

AM: I’ve honestly never had a huge break out design, but when the local bands first started showing interest in working with me about three years ago is when the ball got rolling.

TM: Out of all of the t-shirts you’ve designed, which one’s your favorite?

AM: Probably a more recent design I did for the band Farewell To False Love. I just kind of went nuts with random shapes, photos, and textures. That design was also printed on a vinyl banner for the band’s backdrop.

TM: So what’s the idea behind your “artist name goes here” and “Bandname” shirts? How do you go about producing those shirts?

AM: In all honesty, those are both shirts that were not picked up by the original clients. The “band name” shirt is one I did two years ago when I found that pixelated-looking subway font. I just repeated it and blew it up at the bottom by selecting individual blocks of the font and placing them randomly. Splatter brushes helped a lot as well. As for the wolf shirt, the original client wanted a wolf. Thus, wolf! I took a photo a stuffed wolf head, cut it out of the background, and halftoned it. The entire shirt only consists of the text or the wolf head used in different ways.

TM: Which artists have served as an inspiration and been an influence to you?

AM: I remember there was a designer around when I first started called “Revere Design”. I almost worshipped the guy and his work. He motivated me to do the work I’ve been doing. Since I’ve branched out I discovered the work of Sons Of Nero, Go Media, and Kyle Crawford. David Carson, a graphic design veteran in my book, has inspired me more than anyone.

TM: What are some helpful tips you can give to other t-shirt designers out there?

AM: Do what’s cool to you, but don’t block out everything else. Accepting work from clients that you may think is a bit “off” will only broaden your horizons. I love metal, but that’s not stopped me from designing for pop-punk bands and hip-hop artists alike. Also something any designer will tell you: do not sell yourself short! Charge what you need to charge to compensate for your work and time.

For more info, check out Alex Mitchell’s site, October Promotional Design.