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The Cabin T-Shirt Design Process

While working on my short horror film The Cabin, a long and intense creative process, I knew that I wanted to extend the project beyond its life on the screen. In other words: I wanted merch. I wanted to see pieces of my movie out in the world. I wanted to let people support the work outside of just watching it once and telling their friends about it.

I ran through a few different ideas, but quickly figured out that I needed some snazzy t-shirts, which could be worn by future fans of the movie and also work as a grassroots way to generate some early buzz around the project.

Once I started working on a logo, I began by tinkering with some ideas on my own, taking straightforward images of the namesake cabin and putting it through a range of Photoshop filters. These experiments looked pretty cool, but they weren’t quite enough in the end. The shirts had to fit the movie’s exciting and spooky vibe, so I needed to try new options.

Though I’m confident in my filmmaking and storytelling skills, it didn’t take me long to realize that I needed to reach out to others for help in creating the perfect logo for an ideal t-shirt . (If my work in the film community has taught me nothing else, I’ve learned that collaboration can be crucial to my creative process!) A friend tipped me off to a graphic designer they knew who might be up to the task, so I happily reached out and we started from scratch as a team.

At first, she took my idea of using the cabin as the focal image. She tweaked it. She cropped it. She filtered the photo and manipulated it . Yet none of it really stuck for me. Then she floated the idea of using a haunted yet campy face as the central image. It was an entirely different idea and I loved where she was going with it.

I instantly knew that I wanted to use my own face, or some version of my face, as the primary image. I took a photo of myself and applied the “old age” Snapchat filter to it. (Try this out, if you haven’t already. I guarantee that this nearly realistic image of your wrinkled future self will scare the daylights out of you!) The designer then took this altered pic and, like the true pro that she is, worked with the template for a while until she produced a stellar logo that matched what was knocking around in my imagination. There was the witch from the film, fully realized as a vibrant image and definitely worthy of being on the front of a shirt!

The end result is a bit sinister, a bit bloody, a bit kitschy, but above all it totally captures the overall feel of the film. It’s a t-shirt that honors both my own creative process in making The Cabin and also Houston’s amazing film community, which was truly integral to getting the project off the ground.

The shirt is made of thick 100% ringspun cotton yet is still soft to the touch. It’s double-stitched on the sleeves and neckline, too, which adds to the shirt’s long-term durability.

Show your support of The Cabin and get one of these fantastic t-shirts today at!

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