The History of Seventh.Ink
Seventh.Ink is one-man art and clothing brand run by designer/artist Matthew Johnson. What began in 2007 as a fun side project quickly grew into a business that is now known worldwide. As my art style evolved over the years, it became apparent that Seventh.Ink was more to me than just a way to create fun shirts. My goals for the brand shifted and I began to focus on illustrating more artistic designs while refining my style. Once screen prints were added to the arsenal of available products, I knew that Seventh.Ink had made a major change in the direction that I wanted to take the brand.
"Seventh.Ink has always been an evolutionary brand that continues to grow with me as I explore new concepts and artistic ambitions."
I originally started Seventh.Ink because I wanted to make cool and humorous graphic tees. However, I quickly found that the market for funny shirts was flooded and I wanted to stand out and be more original. Although some of my most clever designs were very well received, I felt that I wanted to make more of an impact with my brand, so I began concepting new ways to restructure Seventh.Ink without stepping completely away from everything I had done. This was about the time when I started releasing concept lines and collections that were cohesive and went together. Customers could now purchase an entire set of designs that were related, and I felt more of an artistic sense of accomplishment through these releases. The most popular collections to date have been the Haunted Collection and the Gods & Goddesses Series, both of which are typically well received and exciting to work on.
Being a One Man Brand
I think that Seventh.Ink has always been one of those brands that has sort of been a mystery to people. Is there a small or large team behind it, or is it just one person who pulls it all together? Over the years, it's been interesting to see how many people still think that Seventh.Ink is run by a group of individuals when all along it has only been run by one person. I've stated it since the beginning, "Seventh.Ink is a one man brand", but there must be something that continuously drives people to think that there must be more to it than that. I think a large part of the mystery comes from the online presence that Seventh.Ink has. I've always been able to design and develop custom websites and marketing for Seventh.Ink thanks to my background in graphic design and web development.
"When I get asked about running a brand by myself, a lot of people assume I outsource inventory, shipping or illustration work, but the reality is that those are all tasks that I manage."
The things that I do outsource are product production and photography. However, all of the design, illustration, marketing, branding, and everything else behind Seventh.Ink has always been on my plate. It's not easy, but because Seventh.Ink is past time of mine I really enjoy the work I do for the brand.
Over the years, friends and family have been a huge help in working with me at various shows and conventions. The more Seventh.Ink grows, the more help they've given, and I couldn't be more thankful for the great support from those close to me.
Attention to Detail
About the Shirts
Seventh.Ink shirts are printed with water based inks on Next Level blanks and have custom printed tags. All of my shirts are printed in the United States. One of the main goals of Seventh.Ink is to create a style of shirts that you've never seen before, and offer them at an affordable price. The unique blend of art and story that I put into my designs help them stand apart from what other brands are doing. All of the shirts have always had the Seventh.Ink logo on the left sleeve as a way to incorporate a bit more of myself into the brand being that I'm left-handed and my favorite number is seven.
About the Prints
In 2012 I decided to try designing some screen printed posters, and I was immediately hooked. Ever since, I have put out more and more screen prints every year while trying to maintain a balance of shirts and prints in my brand. All of my screen prints are printed on high quality stock (typically French paper) by the finest professional screen printers around. I typically do 18x24 prints, but I have been experimenting with other sizes as of late. Some screen prints also have metallic or glow inks to give them that extra finesse. I'm excited to push myself more into this new realm as my style continues to evolve.
About the Artist
My name is Matthew Johnson and I'm the force behind Seventh.Ink. As a professional freelance artist, I specialize in illustration, graphic design, and web development. I'm a graduate of AI International MN, where I learned to look at things from both design and artistic points of view. This has helped me further strengthen Seventh.Ink as a brand and artistic outlet. I was raised in Minnesota, but now reside in Florida and enjoys the best of both states year round.
My Design Process
There is a great level of excitement when it comes to releasing new products, even if it's just a single print or shirt design. The anticipation of waiting to see how well something is received is riveting, and if the response is good the resulting euphoria of knowing that something was done right is even better. I often get asked a lot of questions about my design process, which is actually really quite simple. I usually start with a thumbnail on paper or on my iPad Pro and continue to sketch to refine the layout until I'm satisfied with the details of the composition. Once I'm happy with the sketch, I begin inking and finish with color. Depending on the design, I'll work on my iPad Pro or Wacom Cintiq to finish out the illustration.
Over the last few years, I've been recording my illustration process and have been posting them on the Seventh.Ink YouTube channel. I've been working to make more as I go, people seem interested and I find that it's a fun way to show my process.
Thanks For Your Support
Seventh.Ink is a small brand, but a big part of my life. A huge thanks to everyone who has ever supported Seventh.Ink in any way, I can only do this because you allow me to and I'm forever grateful. You can continue to keep up to date with the brand by following @Seventh.Ink on Instagram.