5th March 2021

Roadtrip 101 – design notes

One of the world’s great roads, US Highway 101 runs for 1,500 miles along America’s west coast, from the outskirts of Seattle all the way down to Los Angeles. Snow capped mountains, ocean views, giant redwood forests, San Fransisco, Big Sur, California beaches – there’s a lot going on.

Any wise person would rent a sensible SUV for the ride – big windows, high up seating position – it makes sense. But this is fantasy land and so we recommend a classic US muscle car such as a 7-litre Dodge Charger. It’ll make a lot of noise and drink a lot of gas but you’ll be looking cool and living the American dream.

Design notes

Our Roadtrip t-shirts are a chance for us to show the cars that we love but in a slightly broader context. So while the image is mainly the car, we also like to add in a sense of place, although in a cool, minimal way – a suggestion of the kind of trip we’d like to make and the kind of car we’d like to make it in.

For our latest Roadtrip t-shirt, originally titled Roadtrip San Francisco, for a trip down Highway 101, we knew what we wanted – a classic US muscle car and a landmark icon from the trip – so we had a design more or less from the start. But with minimalist designs the details make the difference and we ended up with over fifty variations of our original design before we had our final  winner. Here’s some of the variations we had along the way…

The starting point. 1970 Dodge Charger with another icon built around the same time – San Francisco’s TransAmerica tower.

Maybe add in some disco colours and swoopy 70’s type.

Or maybe not.

Slightly more grown up layout and colours. We liked these – they nearly made the grade and we almost stopped right there.

But we tried something more alternative, a sort of arthouse roadtrip. But worried it was a bit too difficult to ‘get’.

So we straightened up and added some go-faster stripes and a go-faster door graphic.

These visuals show pretty much the final design, with a small white star and Highway 101 badge hinting at the location. There wasn’t much San Francisco left in the design, but its a Roadtrip – its about the journey as much as the destination, so Roadtrip San Francisco morphed into Roadtrip 101.

We printed the design in 3 colourways – onto an easy-going summer pale blue t-shirt, a more sporty white-and-red- onto charcoal grey t-shirt and a navy longsleeve t-shirt. You can see them all here.