Archive | Design

27 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

The Most Talked-About Gifts I Ever Gave

Some of you brave souls actually went Black Friday shopping. I know this not from personal experience, but from the pictures I saw on tv. You are warriors, my friends! You actually went out of your house (by choice) to snag up on doorbuster deals at your local brick-and-mortar stores. Admirable, your bravery. I salute your dedication to the cause.

I waited until Cyber Monday to pick up a few gifts whose price tags I could not resist. Yesterday, I bought two sleeping bags for little more than a song, and hurdled exactly zero shopping carts during the purchase. Hurrah!

Today, I’m a little nostalgic for the most epic gifts I ever bought.

Several years ago, I had become weary of shopping.

I wanted to give something more personal… more thoughtful…something with meaning.

Instead of trying to dream up the perfect gift for several individuals with varied tastes, I decided to order a dozen custom t-shirts for my dad’s side of the family.

My grandfather was a coal miner, and my father and his nine brothers and sisters grew up in a coal mining camp in Coalgood, Kentucky. I found a picture online of the tokens that the coal mining company minted to pay wages to their employees. I selected the $20 token with “Mary Helen Coal Corporation” stamped on it. I uploaded the photo and placed in squarely on the t-shirt. I chose a charcoal grey t-shirt to compliment the coppery-bronze patina of the token. Once the design was perfected, I selected each family member’s size and made the purchase.


The custom t-shirts were a huge hit. The token printed on the t-shirts was a piece of my family’s collective history, and had meaning for each of them. We sat together after opening gifts and talked about their childhood.

My dad remembered using these coins to ride the bus into town and to buy a movie ticket at the Margie Grand Theater. My aunt remembered buying her first pair of new shoes at the Mary Helen Coal commissary with these tokens. Almost-forgotten stories of childhood were shared by my uncles. Some of these were heard for the first time by grandchildren. These were not only the easiest gifts I selected and purchase, they are easily the most “talked-about” presents I ever gave.

Here at BlueCotton, we’re dedicated to making things easy. The easier it is for you, the more we like it. Would you believe you can take care of everyone on your list in one fell swoop, and give them a unique gift they will remember? You can, and I’ll show you in 5 easy steps how it’s done.

1. Think about your extended family. I know it’s all-at-once painful and hilarious – like hitting your funny bone, but do it anyway. Do you have a nifty story in your ancestry that would translate well to a t-shirt design? Mike Coffey (our CEO) has a family-owned gas station in his history. My maternal great-grandfather once owned a motel. Any kind of business works well on a t-shirt, and makes for great storytelling when you’re with the family. Better yet, invent one! Does your family like coffee? You could create a Coffee House with your last name – or a Hunting Lodge, or a Ski Resort, or a Drag Strip. The possibilities here are endless – whatever fictional business or activity would appeal to your family works perfectly.


2. Go to and start your design! You can use our clip art archives, or upload photos of your own. Do you have a picture of great-great-great-great Grandpa Chester? Upload that old photo of him with his Model-T and share it with everyone on a t-shirt. Family trees also make for great designs. Maybe you can finally figure out how you’re related to that cousin twice removed. Enlist assistance from other family members to fill in the blanks.


3. Once your design is ready for prime time, you can begin adding your sizes. Refer to your list, and add sizes next to their name. Tally up the sizes and enter them in to the Design Studio.

4. Checkout! During checkout, you may add additional shirts in another color, or another style. If you’d like a different color of shirt for Aunt Clara who strongly dislikes the green shirt you’ve chosen, you can add your design to a different color or different style while still enjoying the bulk pricing. See? I told you we like to make things easy.

5. Your order arrives! All your presents arrive together, and you never once had to stand in a line. You simply open the box, unfold them and wrap them. You could even take the easy way out by dropping them in those fancy printed bags, stuffing tissue paper in the top (or not), and slapping a tag on each one.

6. Be the hero and give a thoughtful family-themed custom t-shirt that they’ll remember!


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11 October 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Keep Calm T-shirts: They Do Carry On

You’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” trend that’s been circling the globe. The British motto is ubiquitous, appearing on mugs, doormats, baby clothes and all sorts of various products.

Do you know where this saying originated?

According to Wikipedia, “The (Keep Calm) poster was initially produced by the (British) Ministry of Information at the beginning of the Second World War. It was intended to be distributed in order to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster. Over 2,500,000 copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers.” In fact, only a handful are still in existence outside of the government archives.

The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was “rediscovered” in 2000, and since the Crown Copyright expired after 50 years, the Keep Calm logo is now in the public domain.

BlueCotton took its very first “Keep Calm” order in 2010, and the trend has gradually picked up steam. It is hard to walk past our printers without seeing one ready to ship daily. It is a perfectly simple and versatile design style. Simply remove Carry On and replace it with anything you desire. For inspiration, take a look at a few designs that our customers have created below!






Keep Calm shirts

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13 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Football Gameday T-shirts: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

Football season is here! Time for tailgating at your high school, college or pro stadium wearing nothing but the freshest swag to represent your team. Since we’re still early in the season, t-shirts are still a “go”. As the season wears on, we know the transition to long sleeves and sweatshirts is mandatory. While the standard t-shirt logo of your favorite team is always acceptable – we love making GameDay t-shirts for the big games. Rivalry games and homecoming are two reasons to make custom t-shirts for the special day. We’ve searched the web (and our archives) for some of our favorite limited edition Gameday t-shirts and Rivalry t-shirts. Check these out and find your inspiration for some gameday t-shirts for YOUR team.











What do you think about GameDay shirts? Do you collect them? Do you think they’re too limited and only good for one wear? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think.

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18 April 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Lexington Bee Company’s T-shirt Buzz

This week we’re sharing your message with a quality custom blog post. We got the buzz from Nathaniel Philips of Lexington Bee Company on why bees are so important to our way of life, and why should you support your local beekeeper!

Lexington Bee Company

One of my favorite job duties here at BlueCotton is getting to know our customers. I just watched a documentary called Vanishing of the Bees (narrated by the lovely Ellen Page), when I saw Lexington Bee Company’s t-shirt order fly across my screen.

How did you get into beekeeping?

My interest in beekeeping began when I was in college at the University of Georgia. I took an entomology class and became fascinated by the study of bees. I started volunteering at the UGA bee farm and reading books to learn how to keep bees. After that I built my own hives and what started out as a hobby during college, grew into a lifelong passion.

What do you find the most fascinating thing about bees?

A third of the food we eat depends on bees for pollination. Without honey bees, the fruits, the vegetables, and the flowers that depend on them would disappear. Not only are bees responsible for pollinating the plants that produce the food we eat, but they are also the only insect that produces food consumed by humans. Albert Einstein once said that, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”

If you had 30 seconds on all major networks, what would you say about bees/beekeeping?

Support your local beekeeper. Not only does eating local honey support a more environmentally friendly agricultural model, it’s also better for you. Honey is a collection of simple carbohydrates and an assortment of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. Processed honey sold in grocery stores loses many of its subtle flavors and nutritional values when it is filtered for clarity and superheated to extend its shelf life. At Lexington Bee Company, all of our honey is 100% pure, raw, unheated, and unfiltered. We harvest our honey with minimal straining to preserve all the natural enzymes, pollen, and floral essences the honeybees put into it for the highest quality flavor.

What’s your favorite kind of honey? Can you tell us a little bit about different kinds of honey (from trees/flowers/etc)?

The flavor in honey is the result of the pollen and nectar gathered in a certain locale during a certain season, which can lead to delicious results. Depending on what flowers and trees are in bloom determines what the honey will taste like. One of the most flavorful honeys is Sourwood honey, which is produced in the mountains of North Georgia and Western Carolina during the months of June and July. Sourwood honey is extra-light to an amber color and extremely aromatic with a distinctively rich honey flavor.

What’s your favorite bee/beeswax/honey product?

The appearance of honey in grocery stores has increased exponentially in the past few years. From chips to candy to sauces, honey is adding flavor to a variety of food products. Acting as a natural sweetener, honey is a healthy substitute for refined sugars. So, given the delicious flavor and added health benefits, any food containing honey is my favorite honey product.

If you would like to be featured on our blog and answer a few questions about your organization, business, club or team – please contact

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23 November 2011 ~ 2 Comments

The Electric Mayhem: 8 Muppetational T-Shirt Designs of the Muppets’ Most Famous Band

Today is the 23rd of November in the year 2011. If you don’t know the significance of that date, it can only mean one thing–you’re not a true Muppet fan. That’s right, my friends. Today is the day that The Muppets’ first theatrically-released film in 12 years–appropriately titled “The Muppets”–finally comes to theaters! I’ve been a fan of the Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo,, and the rest of the gang (seriously, I could go on and on and on) for as long as I can remember. It would be an understatement to simply say that I’m excited.

As much as I love the core characters, one particular group of Muppets holds a special place in my heart. Of course I’m talking about one of the greatest rock bands in existence–Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The band consists of five members: Dr. Teeth (obviously) on keys, Janice on lead guitar, Sgt. Floyd Pepper on bass, Zoot on sax, and fan-favorite Animal on drums. Are you familiar with the band? If not, you need to watch this segment from the original “Muppet Movie.”

In celebration of the release of the newest Muppet film, I’ve compiled a collection of eight Muppetational t-shirt designs featuring The Electric Mayhem. Check them out!

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07 November 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Student Turns Cigarette Butts Into T-Shirts


We thought we had gotten a little crazy when we showed you how to turn your old t-shirts into new underwear. Shinji Sawai, a 21 year old student at Ritsumeikan University developed a process to recycle cigarette butts into t-shirt material. Read more.

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