Interview: nerdoh! t-shirts

This year's SFX Awards are currently open for votes, and the whole shebang is generously supported by the t-shirt company nerdoh! who are our 2008 official sponsors. The firm specialises in clothes inspired by our favourite movies and TV shows, from Star Trek logos to the Camp Crystal Lake sign from Friday the 13th.

We caught up with Phil Bonner , owner of the company and top t-shirt designer, and asked him about how he goes about coming up with his ideas.

SFX: So when did you guys first go into business?
Phil Bonner:
"I started a design and print company many years ago which produces all sorts of literature, brochures and adverts. We also do lots of t-shirt designs and repro (supplying films and artwork). Being a big movie fan, the two ideas came together. I started designing my own, more subtle, t-shirts which a lot of family and friends liked - and voila ..."

SFX: You're evidently inspired by movies and TV shows, but how do you decide what designs to make - how do you go from loving a movie, to creating the t-shirt?
"In many films there are iconic places, companies or products. We draw and create most of the illustrations and designs, drawing on our graphical background."

SFX: But, for instance, you have a "Big Kahuna Burger" t-shirt - but I don’t remember seeing the logo in the Pulp Fiction movie, so where do you come up with the illustration?
"There is actually a Big Kahuna logo on the packaging that Jules eats from! But ours is obviously a little different."

SFX: Ah, well spotted! Are all your t-shirts designed by the same person or is there a team?
"Everyone at nerdoh! actually throws some ideas about (I'm sure everyone’s done that around a table in a pub) but then we have a couple of guys who have to do the hard work and bring all that wonderful imagination into the real world."

SFX: Do you have a personal favourite shirt?
"I personally like the new Friday the 13th-inspired tee: Camp Crystal Lake. Browns and creams seem to be in at the moment and it actually looks better in the cotton than in the photo ."

SFX: It mentions on your site that there are some celebrity t-shirt owners. Care to elaborate?
"That page on the website wasn't actually planned, but just sort of happened! I gave a 30 Days of Night-inspired shirt to an acquaintance of mine and she actually knows Steve Niles. He saw it and wanted one. We also do conventions and shows and at this year's London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court, Tom Savini came up to us wanting one of our From Dusk Till Dawn Titty Twister t-shirts. He was a really nice guy and stopped for a chat."

SFX: The model on your site is Scarlet Salem – how did you choose her to model your t-shirts for the online store?
"We contacted her and she loved the shirts and wanted some. So, in return she did us some nice photo shoots . You can't go too far wrong with a bit of glamour to advertise your products!"

SFX: Obviously people focus on the designs, but how can they be certain your t-shirts won't fall apart?
"That is one thing we are very conscious of throughout the whole process. The shirts are 100% cotton, pre-shrunk and a premium quality, so they will last. They are all screen printed with the designs - not a transfer - so won't wash off, crack or flake. We want them to be a long term favourite piece of clothing, not a wear-once, forget about type garment."

SFX: You’re sponsoring the SFX Awards (thanks!) – any predictions for who might pick up awards? Who’s your money on to win best TV show or best movie?
"It's a great honour to sponsor the event and I'm sure they will go from strength to strength in the coming years. Regarding predictions: I'm sure Indy might be in there somewhere as well as Doctor Who on the TV side."

SFX: Sounds like you guys are big movie fans – what’s your favourite sci-fi movie? Have you made a t-shirt of it yet?
"It's funny that. One of my favourites is The Thing, which we haven't done anything for yet! Another is Alien, which we do a Nostromo design for. From a cool point of view, I like the new Indiana Jones-inspired design, Barnett College - Archaeological Antiquities (where Indy taught)."

SFX: Have you got any more cool designs that you’re working on right now – any sneak peeks for us?!
"It's not a sci-fi tee, but just come online is a Life of Brian-inspired design. Do you remember The People's Front of Judea? With their 'Romans Go Home!' As for the fantasy side, we have been toying with the idea of a Prancing Pony design (you know where that's from...)"

SFX: Thanks Phil! Remember to vote...

Folks, you can visit the nerdoh! site to see the full range of t-shirts, and you should click over to the SFX Awards voting page now to register your thoughts on the year's sci-fi.

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