Cyle Howe

January 9, 2009

We interview t-shirt designer Cyle Howe of Cris.Howe Designs.

TM: How long have you been designing t-shirts?

CH: To start off, I wanna say thank you so much for asking us to do the interview! It means so much. But, first I just wanted to point out something most people don’t know. The name Cris.Howe, is actually a mixture of my name (Cyle Howe), and my partners name (Cris Riechmann).
We decided to use that name because we like to think of ourselves as a mustache, every mustache has two sides, and with us, I like power pop, pop punk, y’know, stuff you can dance to, and he likes metal, and screamo. So together, we are both sides of that mustache (and who doesn’t love mustaches?).
We’ve been designing t-shirts for only a few months actually, and we couldn’t be more happy with how things are going. We started in I believe June of 08, and we were getting clients like crazy! Mostly all local bands, but hey, it was designing, and we love doing it!

TM: Whoa, your designs are really detailed and artsy! Out of all of the t-shirts you’ve designed, which one’s your favorite?

CH: And I’m glad you like the designs! My favourite design that we’ve done so far is definitely our Hannah Montana Zombie shirt mainly because of the idea behind it. Neither of us like Hannah Montana, but zombies rule so… we think it works!!! As for Cris, his favorite one that we’ve done is the Gumball Machine that we’ve done for our buds over at Stereo Bear. He said “I think it’s the most creative and fun one we’ve done so far.”

TM: How do you get inspiration for your t-shirt designs?

CH: For inspiration, it’s kinda tough actually. We usually ask our client if they have a general idea on what they would like, and if they do, we roll with it, if not, we get together and we talk it over, we’ll just start joking around usually and then we come up with some ideas, we do quick little sketches on like napkins or whatever we have available at the moment, then we tell the client some of our ideas, see which they like best, and roll, hah.

We also get inspired by a lot of other designers, a HUGE inspiration to us is Godmachine, we both LOVE his work, everything he does is so good, and he’s so versatile, we really look up to him. And most importantly, just looking at other band shirts, that’s the best way to get inspired, like the little things you notice in a design, really inspire us.
Tee Battle Round 1 : Female Pop Stars image

TM: Have you done t-shirt design work for any “high profile” clients?

CH: Well, as for high profile clients, we haven’t really done any. We work with Stereo Bear a lot, I think they’re pretty big. Also, we almost sold a design to The Devil Wears Prada, but we ended up selling it to some guys from A Day To Remember for their upcoming line that they’re working on, but mostly we work with local bands, but honestly, we don’t mind. We really enjoy it, because it’s not who we design for that matters to us, it’s how we connect with the clients, it’s how we make a design, having people like the design, and of course, people paying for us to draw and colour!!! That’s what makes us happy!

However we would love to do work for some high profile clients though (hint hint? haha), like my goal is to do a design for a band I listen to on a regular basis, like Forever The Sickest Kids, Devil Wears Prada, Britney Spears (You know that would be really cool to do, whether you like her or not, haha), or something, that’d be awesome! And Cris wants to do some work for some more metal bands, I know he wants to try to do one for Senses Fail, and Sky Eats Airplane, and hopefully one day we’ll be able to!

TM: I see you’re part of the Emptees community. What artists on Emptees have served as a great inspiration to you?

CH: Yeah, we love Emptees, sadly we haven’t been very active lately, because we’ve both been so busy, but it has seriously helped us out so much!!! Everyone there is so cool, and they’re all amazing designers, and I have so much respect for everyone there. Godmachine, like I said before, is a HUGE inspiration to us, along with Edgil, Alex Norman, Dan Mumford, Sittingduck, the list goes on and on, they’re all huge inspirations, they’re all normal people (most with amazing mustaches and beards) who do what they love, and they’ve all worked with people we could only dream of working with, and the fact that they do that, it really inspires us.

TM: What are some helpful tips you can give to those trying to get known in the t-shirt industry.

CH: Keep working at it! Don’t give up, even if you’re just working for local bands, it’s the greatest feeling having people buy your art, and seeing people wearing what you made, it doesn’t get much better. So, just keep doing what you do! Don’t give up, practice practice practice! And if you’re having a hard time getting work, try contacting bands or apparel lines, and ask them if they’re looking to get stuff done, send them a few mock ups of what you’ve done, you’d be surprised what can happen!!! And a tip Cris has… Don’t copy, and I must say, that’s a very good tip ;] haha.

For more on Cyle Howe and Cris.Howe designs, check out their Myspace page.