The team at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by PKP Photography.

A Cambodia Journey Design

Makara Sernett Art, Design 2 Comments

A little while before my A Cambodia Journey service-learning and cultural exchange trip (read here and here), I was asked to design the official image for our cohort’s t-shirts. I considered the team’s visions and ideas before starting any drafts because it was important that I accurately represent our group of 17 as well as the missions of the trip. We agreed on the following:

  • Present dual Cambodian & American identities
  • The journey is multifaceted
  • Everyone’s journey will be unique – everyone will experience a different path, encounter various personal obstacles and triumphs.

The main difficulty stemmed from the many facets of this mission and the variety of experiences each person will encounter. With that in mind, I developed several concepts and had the team vote between these four:

The final 4 concepts are put to a vote.

The final 4 concepts are put to a vote.

The final 4 concepts are put to a vote.

Ultimately the team voted on concept 3. This concept presents locations and images that are iconic of America and Cambodia in a circle to represent the international connection. Furthermore the icons alternate order rather than organized by cluster and hemisphere. This symbolizes the boundless Cambodian and American identities and experiences within us. We aren’t Cambodian at one time and American another time – we are simultaneously Cambodian and American at all times. So the icons that represent our two cultures should also mix and mingle.

With the team’s input on various icons and locations that are important to them, I researched and decided on a final list of icons to include. I began with a hand-drawn sketch that proceeded to hand-ink. I then scanned the image to be vectorized on the computer.

The scanned hand-drawn and hand-inked sketch.

The scanned hand-drawn and hand-inked sketch.

After the image was vectorized, I played with various coloring options, starting with two- and three-color mockups. Because this design was intended for a t-shirt, colors were limited due to printing costs. The coordinators and I agreed on a royal blue t-shirt, so after some thinking I decided to go with white on blue combination. It’s simple, yet eye catching.

A Cambodia Journey final digital design.

A Cambodia Journey final digital design.

We also had numerous sponsors for the printing of our team shirts, so their logos are displayed on the back.

Final mockups of A Cambodia Journey shirt design with sponsors on the back.

Final mockups of A Cambodia Journey shirt design with sponsors on the back.

Bob and I at the print shop picking up our merchandise.

Bob and I at the print shop picking up our merchandise.

A single color pallet made the design very flexible. We ended up printing on black and red shirts also, which also yielded sharp results. When we all wore these shirts together, we are definitely recognizable.

A Cambodia Journey team exploring the wonder of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by PKP Photography.

A Cambodia Journey team exploring the wonder of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by PKP Photography.

I am very proud of this design, and the process of its creation was so much fun! The only concern is that it’s a circular design added to my portfolio of other circle designs. If you’ve followed my work for a while, it’s no secret that I have produced many designs laid in a circle, and it may seem that I am limited when it comes to variety. However, when teams and clients vote, it’s clear that circle designs are good to look at, and even better when worn.

If you would like to learn more about A Cambodia Journey (trust me, it’s a great cause!), click here, here, watch this beautiful documentary, or feel free contact me directly.

A Cambodia Journey team learning the magic of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by PKP Photography.

A Cambodia Journey team learning the magic of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by PKP Photography.

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