2K by Gingham 2007
June 2007

T-shirt prints
2K/Gingham (Japan/US)

2K by Gingham is a Japanese/American t-shirt label we've been collaborating with for quite a long time now. Its director, Yoshi Kawasaki, contacted us in 1999, and we have been designing t-shirt prints for him ever since. In short, every year we design a small collection of shirts, which is then released through 2K, and sold through various stores and websites.

In the beginning of 2000, we were very interested in the whole concept of 'self-referentiality': graphic design referring to itself, or to its own context. This interest shows in the early t-shirt prints we designed for 2K/Gingham: the John & Paul & Ringo & George shirt (2001) was referring to the idea of the band shirt, while the Anti shirt (2000) was referring to the idea of the slogan shirt.
However, in our more recent shirt designs, we try to take a lighter, more playful approach. We decided to focus more on the subject of language: short poems, found text, slogans, wordplay, quick thoughts, silly jokes.
We really like the definition that Augusto de Campos once gave of Concrete Poetry: "The tension of thing-words in space/time". What we try to explore with our shirt designs is very similar to that: the shirt as a 'word-thing' existing in 'time/space'.

In retrospect, the set of shirts we designed in 2007 was not as strong as the line of shirts we designed the previous season (see 2K by Gingham 2006). But that's the nature of designing shirts year after year: it's pretty much a matter of hit-or-miss. And besides, sometimes it takes a couple of years for a shirt to suddenly start making sense, even to ourselves. So there might still be hope for the shirts shown here.

First, there's 'We Want Less', a slogan reversing the rock show staple 'We Want More'. White print on a black shirt:



Then there's 'A Hard Print on a Soft Shirt', a reference to the title of Jean-Luc Godard's 'A Soft Talk on a Hard Subject' (1968). Yellow and white print, on a black shirt:
These shirts used to be available through 2K/Gingham. However, when in 2008 Yoshi Kawasaki decided to leave the company (following a change in management), we decided to leave with him, and withdrew our shirts from 2K. In other words, these shirts are currently unavailable. However, if everything goes according to plan, a selection of these shirts will be reprinted and released through Yoshi Kawasaki's new label, Publik / Five Leaves Inc., in 2009. We'll keep you updated.

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