Ninel Pompushko has owned and operated Chicago’s famous T-Shirt Deli since 2003. In the short 12 years since its inception, the perpetually evolving shop has been featured in more big name magazines than you can count (do Travel+Leisure or Vanity Fair ring a bell?) While she had no idea that offering clothing with customizable options beyond your wildest dreams would turn the deli into one of the buzziest places in Chicago, she undeniably stepped up to the challenge. The possibility that perspires on your fingertips upon entering the T-Shirt Deli for the first time is palpable. It’s a blank easel for those with limitless imaginations. With fonts equaling what you’d find on any version of Microsoft Word, decals detailing the city’s greatest attributes, and the option of using your own photos and designs to boot, the power afforded to you might be a bit overwhelming. That’s the goal of the T-Shirt Deli. The choice shouldn’t be easy when you possess endless options. That doesn’t mean that we can’t make an experience at the deli easier for you. And because we live to simplify the little things in life (we have nothing better to do), we went directly to the source to get tips on how to formulate an immaculate masterpiece of T-Shirt design. Without further ado, Ninel Pompushko’s dos and don’ts of T-Shirt making:
FLATSgear™ made by The T-Shirt Deli
1) Do make your gift extremely personal and unique. If you really know someone, use that to your advantage.
Example: If your dad gets stuck with the check all the time-you could make him a t-shirt that says “ATM” It’s simple, but seriously smart.
2) Do be simple. In the last example, you could have written, “I PAY FOR DINNER ALL THE TIME. I AM LIKE AN ATM”. Instead, a simple and smart, “ATM”, says it all.
3) Do inside jokes; these are the best because you generally won’t run into anyone else with the same shirt on. And if you do, you guys should get married.
4) Do put a bad word on your shirt. It changes the meaning in a very fun way.
Example: A customer made a shirt that said LEO FUCKING BURNETT, that’s a very different shirt from LEO BURNETT.
5) Do think ahead. It’s hard to think of a smart, funny t-shirt on the spot. If you have some time, take a few days to think of a great idea. When you see the look on people’s faces, you’ll be happy you did.
1) Don’t make a Father’s Day shirt for Dad that says I LOVE DAD on it. When a Dad wears a shirt that says, I LOVE DAD- it means, he loves his Dad. Just saying.
2) Don’t use exclamation points! Remember, your sentence is already so exciting that it is going on it’s own t-shirt.
3) Don’t do GOT MILK spoofs or MasterCard “Priceless” spoofs. Although those ad campaigns were celebrated as some of the best ever, they are and have been done…to death.
4) Don’t forget punctuation; as in:
* A woman without her man is nothing
* A woman: without her, man is nothing.
5) Don’t misspell a name, especially on a baby gift. New parents love to see their baby’s name on a t-shirt–but spell that name wrong and it can be as bad as writing the wrong name. There is a big difference between Sophia and Sofia.