California Calling

Shirt & Label Design


The brief:

Reimagine the California Grizzly Bear

After the destructive California Wildfires in late 2018, Elephant wanted to challenge our creative talents to support relief efforts. The idea of selling T-shirts to raise money was born, and there was a call for shirt designs across both San Francisco and Los Angeles Elephant offices.

Total number of design entries: 10

Number of designs that made the shortlist: 3

Number of designs chosen to print: 2

Design with the most votes: mine!



My design received the
most votes across Elephant.

The design I came up with celebrates the beauty of California Poppies and how they support the the California grizzly bear. Inspired by the quote, “Grow through what you go through", this design represents the strength of Californians and how we will continue to thrive, regardless of what knocks us down.


Shirt Design Process

Duration: 3 days

The words on this post-it translate to "poppies in circle with negative space in shape of bear", which is exactly how this piece was executed! It also inspired this piece's unofficial name, "Poppybear".

This piece was hand-drawn using the Procreate app on my iPad Pro (and live-streamed on my Twitch account!) I drew the poppy outlines freehand with a bear image reference in the center of the piece. I then brought the piece into Photoshop to fill the flowers and erase the outlines.


My design scaled for children's shirt sizes and adult shirts.

I got to meet our screen printers and see how my design was transposed on a silkscreen!

The first of a handful of printed proofs.

Seeing the shirts stacked on top of one another gives the illusion of a poppy field!


Shirt Label Design

Duration: Two-ish Weeks


The Cali Calling inner shirt label was an added detail to push the Cali Calling brand while also informing of the shirt size. Elephant Executive Creative Director Chris May suggested I create a hand-lettered logotype to fit within a 3" circle to be printed on the inner backside of the shirt. 

When thinking of the best style to letter for this label, it dawned on me that the California license plate has "California" written in script, so I wanted to pay homage to that style.



Inspired by the California License Plate.

Fun fact: Now that I've already examined and started to tweak the California license plate lettering for this project, I'm inspired to further edit the flow of this wordmark. The inconsistent pen weights can be improved, as well as the spacing between certain letters. I'm looking forward to turning this into a new project!



The Cali Calling logotype is inspired by the California license plate lettering, with tweaks to make it more readable. I hand-lettered this logotype using the Adobe Illustrator Draw app on my iPad Pro, and smoothed it out on Adobe Illustrator.


Original Design

Originally I designed the logotype to be knocked out of a filled circle. However, I was advised that this design could bleed through the back of the shirt, so I went with an outlined circle.

Final Design

This design is more in-tune with the logotype style than the original logo on the left. While reducing the amount of ink bleed, this simplistic design also achieves more movement and continuity.



Special Thanks

Thanks to Chris May, Executive Creative Director at Elephant SF, for providing the creative direction for the shirt label.

Thanks to Adam Aaron, Design Lead at Elephant SF, for coordinating the printing logistics and letting me tag along to check the proofs! 

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