BarCamp is an ad-hoc “unconference” in which attendees volunteer to make presentations in their areas of expertise. For five years the T-shirt artwork had featured a variant of the BarCamp logo, and I felt it was getting monotonous. I suggested that we should offer the attendees some more variety, and the organisers agreed.
BarCamp topics are usually related to business, communications and technology, and the event attracts people of that demographic. As a clothing item it was essential to create a design that would appeal to that audience without being too industry-specific. I wanted the shirt to communicate the fun spirit of the event and also illustrate its usual format of speaker and audience with multiple topics.
I knew the irony of using Egyptian hieroglyphics for a typically hi-tech event would be appreciated by an audience that is used to being bombarded with brushed metal and glossy icons. The organisers had asked to use a brown T-shirt this year; I thought the raw quality of hieroglyphics would work well with this earthy colour. We did not know how many inks we could afford at first, so artwork in this style could be easily adjusted to suit our budget constraints.
I did much research into hieroglyphic imagery, and drew inspiration from wide variety of sources. I used Illustrator to create vector artwork, overlaying it on photos of real hieroglyphics and modifying the character poses and props. I also drew the letters "BarCamp Saskatoon 2011" in a hieroglyphic style that would fit with the other symbols.
To stay true to the raw qualities, I then hand-traced the artwork with a computer stylus and paint software after the layout and concept were approved.
The shirt design was very well received by all who attended, and I spotted people wearing the shirts even many months after the event.