The Critter Story

Where did the inspiration come from for Carolina Coastal Critters?

Before I go too far in this entrepreneurial venture I need to reflect back on what influenced and inspired me to start this business. When I first began thinking about starting a tee shirt business I thought about my customer base and what kind of person would I want to target. I really think the appeal of wearing a tee shirt is the type of mood it puts you in when you select it out of the closet or drawer and also how others see you wearing it and their interaction with you whether it be a co-worker, friend or someone you’ve never met. The Life is Good brand appeals to me because of the large and diverse range of customers that it attracts. Men and women, any race, any age are drawn in to wearing the brand and in doing so, all the while creating a sense of a carefree state of mind. What could be a better range of customers than a large, diverse one?

Now that I have a successful brand in mind to pattern the shirt designs from I needed to create a concept, my unique brand identity. I next thought about where LIG shirts are sold and Charleston, SC along with Wilmington, NC came to mind. Both beach towns, both tourist destinations. Maybe tourists would be my main customers? I asked myself, if I were a tourist, what would I want to see when I walked into a quaint little beach shop or downtown boutique? How about cartoons that reflect a beach/vacation/fun type of theme? Sea creatures were a good choice for establishing a coastal theme.

For the next few weeks interesting and clever little puns associated with sea creatures popped into my head. These were early, early morning thoughts. I’d focus on a certain animal and then think about a phrase that used a word sounding like the animal I had in mind. Fortunately I wrote these ideas down before going back to sleep and eventually I had accumulated a dozen silly scenarios. O-Dark thirty inspiration! I’m also a big Jimmy Buffet fan and I not only admire his song writing but the little puns and twists he uses in his song titles and album cover names. A white sport coat and a pink crustacean, the weather is here – wish you were beautiful. These were the kind of catchy little phrases I wanted to have associated with my critters!

The rest of the process involved giving these ideas an identity. What typestyle would I use? How many colors would I add to these creations? I had a list of Google fonts and looking through that list the Slackey typeface seemed like a good fit. It has a Sponge-Bob goofy sea creature look to it which matched the visual aspect of my brand identity. Then came the fun part, sketching out these ideas. Some creatures I nailed their personality from the first sketch while others evolved over a series of sketches that slowly morphed into the look I had intended.

Once I had about seven refined sketches I knew that I was on to something unique, clever and at least in my mind, ready to delight and amuse all that look upon them. I won’t bore you with all that happened next in the creation process because it’s not nearly as interesting as what I’ve described. Needless to say I think I have found my porpoise in creating these!