Designing t-shirts for a better world

by João Candeias

Published Feb 01, 2022

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As designers who desire to contribute to social change, we keep working to build a better world through design. The belief that design can be a force for positive change allows us to fight some of the most challenging economic, social, and environmental issues. This time, at the “Better World" series, we introduce our project “Future Print Club”. An initiative intended to build creative collaborations by designing t-shirts and bringing awareness for social and environmental problems. Keep reading to know more about this project that challenges us to go beyond in order to improve people's lives and environmental change.

The world faces a convergence of issues and challenges on a global scale. We all know how hard it is to fight for a better world, but global challenges require global solutions. Great ideas can come from anywhere at any time and, it doesn't mean creating something new. Even small ideas or reinventions can encourage people to do the same, resulting in a snowball effect that will impact our planet.

This belief is what has been leading Ana and Tiago throughout the years. Before the creation of Humana, they have been using design to promote social and environmental change. Those values and beliefs are replicated in every project we create at Humana.

"More importantly, in all five seasons from Future Print Club, we donated more than 10.000€ to more than 30 NGOs"

These are the steps we took to conceptualize “Thoughts”: 1. Choosing the platform; 2. Searching for references; 3. What should we do differently comparing to our references; 4. How we’re going to structure our blog; 5. What thoughts are we going to share; 6. Start writing thoughts!! We had one thing in our minds from the beginning, and it was that we didn’t want “Thoughts” to be just another technical design blog. With that being said, we came up with the idea of creating what we like to call “Series”. Every Series is special to us! It’s an attempt to sharing thoughts about our project experiences, build better futures with creativity & design, and book recommendations. Our ambition is simple: to approach different perspectives and viewpoints about a subject and wishfully, to help you broaden your horizon and be a source of inspiration. But we are not writers; we aren’t used to writing creatively, but to become better writers, all we need to do is to write! Writing can be beneficial to everyone! It’s a creative process and a valuable tool for thinking and for productivity. It becomes a kind of meditation where we make reflections on ourselves. Paul Jun affirms: “as much as writing is about communicating with others, it begins with self-reflection”. The result: We see it as a win-win where both of us (you and us) can learn something from it. As mentioned above, words can be a powerful tool to communicate and spread our message. Knowing that we live in an unfair world, we still believe that we can make a difference. What can we do to change mentalities and create a better world? Well, designers have the skill set to communicate, influence, and motivate people. But to be able to communicate efficiently, good writing is key. For us, good writing means creating context and not content! But what does that mean, you may ask. According to the MasterClass Staff, “context provides meaning and clarity to the intended message“.

That's the premise of Future Print Club. With the motto “to design t-shirts to change the world for the better“, the project intends to evoke the power of collaborative work. Every season, to express diversity and inclusiveness, we ask different creatives to select an NGO and design a t-shirt to withstand it. It is a creative idea, but we believe that including more artists in the circle will help to bring more awareness and more progressive attitudes about the benefits for the world. This way, we've been privileged to be working with more than 30 creatives from all over the world, including Oscar Maia, Jimmy Muldoon, Marta Cerdá, Ryan Carl, and many others. More importantly, in all five seasons from Future Print Club, we donated more than 10.000€ to more than 30 NGOs fighting for a better world, socially - CancerResearchUK, Water for People, GirlsWriteNow - and environmentally such as Plastic Oceans, WeForest, or Greenpeace. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why design t-shirts?”. Well, we don't just see shirts as a garment, but rather as a form of self-expression to reflect many causes. It feels like a more genuine and humanized way, allowing us to address uncomfortable topics and instantly communicate the message. Our emphasis on sustainability is also applied in the shirts of Future Print Club, one of its core values. We take it very seriously! Each tee is made from 100% organic materials using methods and materials that have as little impact on the environment as possible. In addition, each tee is only available for 30 days through a pre-order model, helping to reduce waste as much as possible.


The last thing I'll leave you with is that all of us can work towards a better world, but designers are specially gifted to encourage a positive change. Design can emphasize all the progress that has been made but, also acknowledge all the problems in the world and bring them visibility. The world only asks you for your imagination and creativity — Spinning the world's problems into solutions. We do this is by creating a community of artists and designing t-shirts to help those who fight for a better world. That's our motivation, and we feel optimistic. Twenty years from now, we want to look back and be proud of who we are and what we accomplished. New seasons of Future Print Club are coming on the horizon. Stay Tuned!