Published on July 17th, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich0
Classy Shirts and Ties for Boardgamers
Strategize in Style with Cardboard Clothing
Nicole – Something New
I do enjoy a good nerd shirt to show off my passion and fandom for things I love. I have a closet full of TeeFury cartoon mashup shirts. I even recently up-cycled an old DBZ shirt from junior high into a wearable tank top. Wearing a good nerd shirt is like being in a special cool kids club — getting complimented by another person on your nerd shirt gives you a momentary connection with a stranger.
Now, I know the choices for board game related clothing are lacking behind the surge in pop culture shirts. We all like Marvel, Doctor Who and Adventure Time; but I think there is potential for some creative explorations in tabletop clothing. I don’t want just any old board game logo across the front of the shirt- or be stuck with freebie shirts from conventions. I want something nice. A nod to a favorite board game combined with stylish designs.
Enter Cardboard Clothing: a new business by Justin Schaffer. Their mission:
“We aim to provide high quality, long lasting, good looking apparel that allows you to share your favorite games with others, and further grow this awesome community of ours.”
You might remember Justin is one of the founding members of Terra Nova Games: an indie game company known for colorful and challenging games (Guile, Ophir, Far Space Foundry). They have been in the board game industry for a bit now, and have multiple successful Kickstarter campaigns under their belt. He is partnering with a friend’s printing business in Utah to produce screen printed shirts. They need our help to get this business off the ground and they recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to back the first run of designs. The product line so far is impressive.
Hand-Crafted and Designed by Passionate Board Gamers
The designs are created by Cardboard Clothing and printed in Utah. The shirts are made of soft, ringspun, preshrunk material and the prints are screen-printed by hand. The shirts come in unisex and ladies cut from sizes XS-4XL. The ties and bow ties are a silk material and are hand sewn in Colorado. So not only is Cardboard Clothing creating original and interesting designs, they are keeping the manufacturing in the United States – a business practice that I fully support. And with a single shirt costing just $20 on Kickstarter right now, the customer isn’t eating the extra cost either.
The currently unlocked Kickstarter stretch goals are great additions to the campaign. More colors, new designs and stickers of Meeple Love: a Cardboard Clothing shirt design which donates a portion of that shirt’s sales to charity. 11 designs (each with 2 different color combination choices) are currently available with references to Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, Power Grid and even ‘homeboy’ shirts representing well-loved designers: Uwe Rosenberg , Stefan Feld and Vlaada.
As the campaign progresses and with additional funding, backers can unlock more shirt designs and vote on which games should get designs next. My personal favorite design is the Coexist shirt. The design supports pro-unity in the board game culture with each letter of ‘coexist’ representing a different board game genre.
Take a classic bumper sticker design and apply it to the vast gamer culture. Genius.
I urge you to please support and share Cardboard Clothing’s Kickstarter campaign. They are a group of dedicated people looking to build connections with small businesses and are passionate about sharing their love of board games and high-quality, hand-crafted products for the gaming community.
Luke: A Man About Ties
I like ties. When I was younger, I never understood why other boys disliked having to wear ties to church on Sunday. To me, getting into a suit and tie, making sure your hair was perfect and your shoes were polished was one of the best parts of my week. I’m not the best dressed guy I know, but that’s mostly because I know some fabulously well dressed gentlemen. I’d say I get by pretty well.
When I look for clothing I’m looking for two things: 1) bright colors and 2) bold designs. Without at least one of those attributes, it’s not something I’d buy or wear for myself. I tend to pass on wearing geek related clothing, not because I don’t want to wear geeky clothes, but because I find most of it uninteresting.
Most of the t-shirts are black or white and your wardrobe gets really samey really quickly if you buy many of them. “But it’s Mario fighting Boos, except Mario is the Doctor and the Boos are Angels!” The constant stream of mash ups on t-shirts just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. There is no joke or wit to most of it, just two things that are now one thing (what a twist!) in cartoon form.
A couple of years back, when we were brainstorming what we could do to contribute to the hobby (brainstorming that led to the creation of this site, in fact) Nicole and I considered starting a t-shirt business catering to board gamers. Even as trained artists, albeit not graphic designers, the work of coming up with good ideas that work on a shirt was very difficult.
So, knowing that I am sick of most nerdy clothing lines and knowing that I couldn’t think of many board game related t-shirt designs I would wear myself, I was interested when I heard what Cardboard Clothing was doing.
The sample shirts that we got in the mail were made by Port of Company, a go-to name for standard blank t-shirts. I’m not a fan of the mustache/beard designs, they really just don’t do anything for me, but the other shirts on the Kickstarter are more interesting.
What I like about the Coexist, 7 Wonders, Power Grid and Ticket to Ride shirts is that they are clever, and make me feel clever for having seen them. It’s a classic graphic design and advertising trick, you basically set up a visual riddle that doesn’t make a lot of sense on passing, but is easy enough that people can figure it out quickly. This makes the design memorable, and once you “get” it, you feel smarter for having seen it- even if you had to have someone explain it to you.
The ties that are currently available are not really my speed- they fail to be either brightly colored or boldly designed. I understand the urge to not make something like a Tabasco hot sauce tie, but these current designs are too understated. I don’t want something gaudy, but at least give me something with a little more life in it! I have faith that the designers can come up with something a little more interesting than some lines of meeples, and I’d like to see what they produce in the future.
At the end of the day, Cardboard Clothing is a great start up with some fresh ideas and a solid starting line. Some of their designs work better than others, but that’s the nature of things. I am backing at the “Two Shirt” pledge level to make sure I get my favorites, and if they can grab the attention of someone as picky as me for two items off their product line, I’d say they’re doing a damn fine job.