Like many around him, German graphic designer Deniz Weber was looking for a way to use his specific skills to help others during the pandemic. And with experience designing for Carhartt WIP and a background in silkscreen printing, he naturally turned to T-shirts. With a collective of creative friends under the name of Thek, he launched Support Your Local Dealer, which set out to support struggling creatives and local businesses. It began with The Solidarity World Tour tee: a simple concept that drew from the tropes of band tour t-shirts, listing the word “solidarity” in dozens of languages on the back.
For the second T-shirt, Thek got more ambitious. This time round, inspired by the retro aesthetic of marathon t-shirts where a mish-mash of sponsored logos congregate haphazardly on the back, the team looked to reimagine this design for the creative industry. “In a way, this chaos has its own aesthetic,” Weber explains, aligning his concept with the notion that adjusting to the post-crisis world will be “a marathon not a sprint, running together”. Reaching out to his “kings and queens” of the creative world, including creatives Eike König, Dinamo and Anja Kaiser, he asked them to create logos to reflect our current times, inspired by solidarity and togetherness. The result is jam-packed with graphic design joy, from Büro Bum Bum’s happy houses to König’s more politically slanted slogan, and is already raising thousands of Euros for those in need thanks to the global reach of its contributors.
Hesitant to ask for unpaid favours, especially in the current climate – “I know the phrase ‘can you design something quickly’ all too well” – Weber says most designers were keen to help the cause, though he did offer something in return. “If they asked for money I paid them a small amount out of my pocket, since I’m still in the privileged position to have a job,” he tells It’s Nice That. “With others I made exchange deals… an illustration in return for a tattoo appointment, or an icon in return for some fashion from my personal Carhartt WIP archive.”