Last summer I was lucky enough to be able to participate in an internship with Outhouse Designs in Austin, Texas. Outhouse Designs is a screen printing company that prints and designs custom t-shirts.
My cousin, Chad Joyner, is an art director there and through him I was able to secure an unpaid internship for school credit. I worked 15 hours a week from June through July 2012 there.
Austin is a fantastic city and Outhouse designs is a fantastic company. They have a talented, hardworking art team and they screenprint all of their shirts on site. Their clients include Tylers, South by Southwest, Shiner Beer, Salt-Lick Barbeque, the University of Texas, Ducati, Academy, Rice University and Lone Star beer. They are also the people behind all of the Keep Austin Weird T-Shirts and Bumper stickers you see around Austin, Texas.
Needless to say it is a pretty impressive company for a sophomore design student, so I was a little intimidated when first walking into their office, but it is hard to stay anxious when you walk into the office for the first time and are greeted with this scene:
Not only are the walls covered floor-to-ceiling in all kinds of amazing designs and illustrations, their office features a full-sized Outhouse up against the opposite wall!
The first day Chad gave me a full tour of the entire building and grounds, during which I learned immense amounts about the screenprinting process. Outhouse has a huge factory floor where they print all of the shirts on huge presses, as well as a machine that folds shirts, a drier that dries inks, an ink mixing machine, and a lightbox for curing screens. Along the far wall they had racks and racks of hundreds of old screens from past jobs. They also have a connected building with a machine for embroidering hats. It was an impressive sight!
One of the presses on the factory floor
Hundreds of boxes of shirts waiting to be shipped out
After the tour I headed up to meet the Art Team, a group of talented individuals who create custom designs for large and local clients. When I was there they had just wrapped up shirts for ROT biker rally and had begun working on shirts for Academy and Shiner beer.
I had the privilege of working with the design team on a few Shiner shirts, and it was an awesome learning experience to see how real designers work with large companies to produce a product. No more sending sketches and comps! Shiner was given a fully prepared, mocked up catalog of finished designs to choose from.
When the art team wasn’t working on the Shiner merchandise, I was given a lot of freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. I mostly worked with the company’s Absolutely Austin and Texas Souvenir product lines.
A few of the designs I created during my time at Outhouse. Click here for High Quality images
It was a challenge learning to work with files in the specific way they need to be produced for print. Things such as ink color and color separation are very important when screenprinting. I also got to use the software that Outhouse uses to streamline their screenprinting process, with it the artists can upload high quality designs and outline all of the specifications for the printers down on the factory floor.
Overall it was a very challenging and rewarding experience! I learned a huge amount about professional design and production of merchandise, and I fell in love with the city of Austin! Keep it Weird!
You can read a little more about the work I produced and see higher quality images on the portfolio page for this project.