Written by Ray Masaki


I’ve been emailing with a guy who is interested in purchasing one of my t-shirt designs, and he asked me if I thought the design would be appropriate for his brand. Even though I like being paid, I honestly didn’t think that the design fit too well with his brand aesthetic, so I gave him some advice.


Thanks Ray,

Dont worry I like the constructive critisism it keeps me on my toes and working hard…

I do like variety in my clothes.
when I decided on a look I took out all the shirts I had in my closet and drawers and asked myself what they had in common..
wierd colors and strong artistic feel with positive imagery was the main theme, breaking character occasionaly.
I like being able to go from a cartoonish tee to a full color image and going back and forth from day to day.
Although I know I need to keep my customers expecting a certain look Im still trying to learn how to tred that line.

I do know I want to stay away from monsters and gory stuff. Also want to stay away from high sexually charged images and obscene stuff. Other than that anything that has an artsy intelligent feel or in some way relates to my life in NYC Im open to. I dont know maybe Im being too broad what do u think?

I had 3 other tee shirt designs that I didnt feel confident puting on the site.. and right now Im shopping around for some and reworking other ideas of my own.
I want to have another 6 designs for sale before I really start promoting my stuff.

Im still leaning towards purchasing your design. Either way though even if I dont maybe we could work together on something else… do you do commissioned work as well?

again I want to thank you for all the feedback.


I know exactly what you mean. You can either be safe by keeping your brand extremely consistent, or you can take a risk by trying to broaden the style of your designs. It’s best to have a combination of both, and try to use designs that are interesting and unique but still tie in with your brand.

I feel like you might have a little confusion with what you want exactly. Before you start pumping out more designs, I feel like you should be very certain what your brand represents. Try to come up with a mission statement, and determine what you want your brand to accomplish, and stick to that theme. For example, with my brand, I wanted to create an alternate world called Lowdtown, where all these characters co-exist, so even though I use a lot of shirts with pretty heavy branding, I try to stick to that theme. And even if all the shirts don’t necessarily have Lowdtown characters, I try to make it so the styles still work together harmoniously.

So you said, “Other than that anything that has an artsy intelligent feel or in some way relates to my life in NYC Im open to.” I feel like that may be a bit broad, because “artsy intelligent feel” is quite ambiguous and many designs can have an artsy intelligent feel. You should try to narrow the scope of your brand, so that it is more unique and appealing than the run of the mill artsy and intelligent brands.

Now look at the design that you’re interested in buying, does it fit your mission statement? If it does, then by all means, you’re welcome to buy it. If not, I would love to do some commission work for you, if you give me a clear idea of what you want.

Hope that helps,

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