Petr of The Friendly Fire talks with us about saving the planet, eating goulash, and seitanic rituals.
Name: Petr Hlavizna
Lives in: London
Occupation: Graphic Designer
With Spreadshirt since: Feb 2013
Hi, Petr! Thanks for taking the time to have an interview with us. So, your designs are all about veganism. How long have you been vegan and what was your reason for making the switch?
I’ve been vegan for some 6-7 years. Veganism before then was something that would freak me out, because it sounded so tough and extreme but these days it’s not. I never imagined I could do it but yeah, here we go, not a big deal! Just wish I had done it sooner 🙂
Yes, people tend to think it’s more extreme than it really is. You donate 50% of your profits to charity, that’s great! Which charities do you support? How much have you been able to donate so far?
Thanks! The charities I donate to vary but they all are super-good, related to environmental and animal issues – www.worldlandtrust.org or http://blueplanetsociety.org are my top picks.
It’s pretty awesome to do what I love and be able to gain a bit of profit to help others along the way. But none of that would work without the paying customers – so far I’ve managed to give away over £150.
Good work! What made you start designing T-shirts?
Well, when I started my vegan journey I was super excited about it and obviously wanted to share it with the world. I went online to buy some good-looking vegan T-shirts but there wasn’t much choice so I had no other choice but to create my own. That was (and still is) the core idea. The fact that people like them and wear them too is fantastic, but that is a bonus. All the designs I create are 100% something I would wear.
What are your hopes for your T-shirt design business in the future?
Super-simple: to have the creativity and energy to keep creating T-shirts designs that have a positive impact on people and our planet!
That’s a great mission statement. So why did you choose Spreadshirt as your platform?
Because it’s just so easy to work with. And it’s German. Need I say more? No, I didn’t think so.
Happy to hear it. What is your design process like? What tools do you use?
My process is super random. But it always starts with a spark, an idea. It comes when I don’t expect it. In most cases the idea stays in my head for days or weeks where I think about different ways of executing it.
Once I have some clarity, I get behind the computer and put my thoughts into digital form. But even then – some of my designs were created within a span of a few hours and others take months to perfect.
The creative process is rarely streamlined and transforming your ideas into a product is never the same. But I love the process. I love playing with different ideas, visual styles and techniques to see what else is there, what feels and looks the best.
What advice would you give to people starting out designing shirts?
I would say the most important thing is to have fun (as cheesy as that sounds). If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then you are doomed.
Second thing – don’t do it for the money. Period. If you truly enjoy what you do then you’ll usually be good at it. Now, if you want to get into it but you don’t know where to start then think about what you are passionate about, what gets you excited. This makes it easier for you to come up with awesome ideas but also it makes a real difference in the quality of your work, because you are designing something you truly care about.
When you start designing, don’t worry about mistakes, everyone makes them. Share your work with others, get their opinion, you will learn faster and end up with even better designs.
But just remember to have fun!
Very sage advice… what about advice for people trying to go vegan?
Step 1 – Buy any vegan T-shirt (the ones in my Showroom come with double karma points in case you didn’t know)
Step 2 – Put the T-shirt on, look at yourself in the bathroom mirror and repeat 3 times “Hail Seitan!”
Step 3 – Bam, you made it!
Now seriously – don’t listen to me, don’t listen to your grandpa, go ahead and do your research, educate yourself about what it really is about! Do it one step at a time.
Go vegetarian first like I did – that makes things way easier. And then gradually introduce vegan replacements for ingredients and meals until you’re completely used to it. Once you find out how awesome it feels, how great it is for the planet and animals you’ll never look back.
Thanks for the pointers. Which of your designs is your favorite or means the most to you?
I love all the designs for different reasons. But if I had to pick only one it would probably be the ‘CHERRY UP’ one, simply because it is so upbeat! I feel like when you wear it, you just have no other choice but to be happy.
One last question: what’s your favorite vegan recipe at the moment?
Hah! That must be a Hungarian goulash! A vegan one of course.
Thanks for chatting with us, The Friendly Fire, it was a pleasure. Good luck with your charitable and planet-friendly endeavors. Hail Seitan!