I bought a lunchboxbrain t-shirt back in September 2010. It was called B Positive and was sold by Design by Humans. It was a different shade of green than the one you can see below and I loved it. I have no idea where it is now, though. Andrew Gregory is from New York and he designs the type of t-shirts that I like to wear. Simple designs with clever concepts. Lunchboxbrain is the handle Andrew goes by in the t-shirt world.
Andrew’s first t-shirt print was a Threadless and GAP collaboration which meant he was able to see his t-shirt design being sold at the local Gap store. And he has been churning out designs ever since. Read more about the man below…
Andrew Gregory Interview
Where did the nickname lunchboxbrain come from?
I wanted a unique identity that reflected the fact that I enjoy designing in various styles. As a kid, my lunchbox was filled with various goodies. And so, lunchboxbrain was born.
I see on Twitter that you are based in Rensselaer, NY. Born and raised?
I live in Rensselaer with my wife, two kids, and one adorable old pug. It’s a great working-class city right across the Hudson River from Albany. I was born in Newburgh, New York, and my family moved to a suburb just outside of Albany, NY shortly after I was born. I’m proud to be a lifelong Upstate New Yorker!
What do you like most about where you live?
Tons. I’m just an hour south of the Adirondack Mountains, which are beautiful. There are tons of things to see and do right in the Capital Region as well – great live music venues, awesome parks, fun family spots, etc.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Spending quality time with my family is a the top of the list. My wife and my kids bring me so much joy. We play games, work on art projects, watch movies. It’s a blessing to spend time with them and have fun. Other than that, I’m always doodling/sketching ideas for tees and posters.
Do you work full-time in art and design? Do you have a 9 to 5 or are you a freelancer?
I have a 9-5 and my LBB hustle on the side. Working hard 24-7!
About the Artist
When did you start creating art?
I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid. I would draw my own terrible versions of Calvin & Hobbes, The Simpsons, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I stepped up my game in 2007 after I joined the Threadless community and that’s when the t-shirt bug bit me.
Do you have a formal art education or are you self-taught?
Self-taught. The really incredible thing about being a designer in this era is that there’s a wealth of tutorials and classes on the web. Google, YouTube, Skillshare are all tremendous resources for self-taught designers.
Apart from t-shirts, are you involved in other art/design projects?
Yes. I run my own Threadless Artist Shop which has prints, home goods and much more. I’m also a board member of the AIGA Upstate New York Chapter and have worked on some fun projects in that role.
Where do you usually get your inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere. I love looking through online collections of old ads, posters, handbills. Dribbble and Instagram are chock full of incredibly talented designers as well. Seeing other designers’ kick-ass projects makes me want to step my game up.
Could you describe your typical design process from concept to completion?
Step 1: Wait for the creative gods to turn on the light bulb.
Step 2: Sketch out the idea.
Step 3: Throw that sketch out and draw another iteration.
Step 4: Retrieve the initial sketch from the garbage, light the second sketch on fire as offering to the creative gods.
Step 5: Redraw the sketch in Illustrator.
Step 6: Immediately doubt the design concept until I’m too tired to think about it.
Step 7: Wake up, tweak the graphic until the creative gods strike me with lightning – which is the sign that the design is good and finished.
About the T-Shirts
How did you first hear about t-shirt design contests like Design by Humans and Threadless?
I initially heard about Threadless through the Graphic Design Forum. Other designers pointed me toward other sites and my t-shirt journey was underway.
Do you remember your first t-shirt contest win? If so, what was it and how did you feel?
I sure as hell do. My first Threadless print was a partnership with the Gap. The design, called Rock On, was included in a collection of t-shirt designs that were printed and sold in Gap stores across America. Luckily, there was a store in my local mall. It was surreal to walk into a major retailer and see my t-shirt design on the shelf.
Of the t-shirts that you designed, which one is your favorite?
It’s hard to pick one but I wear Lost In Illustration a lot. That design features custom lettering and a dashing illustration of Bill Murray. Talk about a win-win.
Do you wear the t-shirts that you have designed?
Yes. In fact, that’s one of my guiding design principles. When I think I’m done, I say “Would I wear this?” If the answer is no, it’s back to the drawing board.
Have you seen somebody wearing one of your t-shirts in the real world?
Aside from my wife, kids, and friends, I’ve yet to see an LBB tee in the wild. I have seen folks in Facebook photos and Instagram posts sporting my shirts, which is really the next best thing. It’s always amazing to see those photos and realize that folks are willing to pay money to wear them on their body.
Photoshop or Illustrator?
Illustrator FTW. Although I’ll often import vectors into Photoshop for texture applications.
About the World
What is the most exotic location you have been to?
Where would you most like to visit? Why?
Dublin or Glasgow. My Celtic heritage demands at least one visit across the Atlantic.
About Other Designers
Have you done any collaborations for t-shirts? If so, who and what did you design? If not, who would you like to collaborate with?
I’ve collabed with a few Threadless friends – Evan Ferstenfeld, Chris Thornley (aka Raid 71) and Walmazan. I’d love to collaborate with Andy Gonsalves. His retro style is so damn awesome.
Who would you like to see interviewed on the Shirt List next?
Any advice for new designers/artists?
Keep working. Keep refining. Keep learning. Just keep going. Don’t let haters or your own self-doubt stop you from making things that make you happy.
What’s the last movie you saw in the cinema/movie theater?
I watched Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie with my 7-year-old son. Sadly, it was not as epic as was advertised. I’d like to check out Baby Driver and the new Planet of the Apes film.