Tanner Groehler
Multimedia Designer

Velvet Vision

Spring 2023 | Apparel Design

Easily my favorite project of 2023 was designing a crewneck for my good friend and former bandmate Betty's new synth-pop project, Velvet Vision.

Betty had been making small fridge magnets out of her show flyers for several months and the only way to get a magnet was to come to a show. The idea was that after a few months of this, she was going to announce a new piece of merch that would be exclusive to folks who had attended the shows and collected several magnets.

We were on a tight deadline with only about a week before they needed to be delivered to the printer. We had a brief conversation while driving around after a snowstorm while Betty was visiting MPLS which got the gears moving. She sent me some inspiration from a few classic shirt designs and from there we decided to go with a single-color design both to fit with that style and to invest a little of the budget she would save into higher quality garments. 

First, I searched through public domain government archives. I was looking for materials related to synths or early computers. Then, an idea sparked. The old government photos resembled 2000s textbook images. This inspired me to create an advertisement for a synth school. I imagined a club for those who collected magnets. Plus Betty and I both enjoy a good pun, so the term "magnet school" made me chuckle. Simple joys.

The first round of ideation ended up pretty close to the final design - Betty had referenced a diagram of a deconstructed synthesizer so I wanted to play around with that imagery. From there I made several meme-ish images out of the government archive photos I had collected that would play on the “magnet school for synthesis” idea.

Betty liked the idea for the first round, but she wanted to incorporate photos of her equipment. I suggested that she take some photos on her phone, which she texted to me. I then enlarged the images, knowing any distortion would suit the design. Next, I removed branding and text to simplify the pictures. A pleasant surprise emerged. "Velvet Vision" perfectly fit on the sampler's touchpads. See the before and after photos below: 

We finished processing the images and tidying up. It took us about 8-10 hours from start to finish. We had enough time to print and deliver them. They reached us in time for Betty's big show. There, she announced her new full-length record and the merch.

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