Freshly Laundered 003 / Christopher Michon


Christopher Michon is a graphic designer, dad, and husband living just north of Boston. Back in May we convinced him to do a t-shirt with us and his Hot Dog tee went to press just in time for Memorial Day weekend. We checked in with him recently to hear about where he finds inspiration and how to juggle #designlife and #dadlife. Interview after the break.


CB: Hey Christopher! The designs you feature on your website are bright, simplistic, and frequently come with thick bold lines. What inspires your illustrations and design aesthetic?

CM: Hi! Thanks for having me. I would have to say that my biggest inspirations come from my childhood. Things like cartoons, drawing books, and building blocks. I have always been obsessed with building things from basic shapes, and I believe that is the basis of my design aesthetic.

Growing up I was always playing with Legos or drawing from an Ed Emberley book (both of which I still do today). They taught me how to see things differently. How to break things down, and then build them back up again. How to find the most basic form in something complicated. I credit both of them with how I approach any design or illustration.


CB: Simple designs don’t have to be boring and you do a great job of showcasing that in your work. Speaking of Ed Emberley, you do a #makeaworld series on post-it notes via Instagram based off his Make A World drawing book. You’ve been doing this series for over a year now. How’s it going? What’s been the best part of it for you?

CM: I appreciate you saying that. It’s a little cliché, but I like to think that making something simple can sometimes be more difficult than making something intricate. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, but knowing which parts to take out to make the piece successful is a lot of fun.

The Make A World project has been a lot of fun for me. I started it because I realized I wasn’t drawing as much as I used to. So I picked up a copy of Make A World, and started doing one drawing a day from it. I am posting them on Instagram to keep myself accountable.

Overall the project is going very well, and it is still lots of fun for me. I’ve had mostly positive feedback, which is great since I started doing this solely for myself. I’ve done over 200 drawings, and I am getting very close to the end of the book, so I’m trying to figure out how to transition into something else.

The best part of the whole thing was being able to meet Ed Emberley himself. I had met him numerous times as a kid, since I grew up in the same town he lives in, but being able to connect now was a dream. I was ecstatic that he had seen the project, and enjoyed it. He also reiterated something that I hadn’t realized, that even though I’m drawing from his book, and his steps, they are still my drawings and have a completely different life than something he would do.


CB: He makes a great point - so much of design is influenced by people who came before you or from something you see out in the world, but each persons individual take can be drastically different. Obviously, you’ve produced a design for a t-shirt with us, have you ever done other work of that sort? Prints? Tees? Album cover art? What kind of projects keep you busy in your free time?

CM: Very true. It’s something I remind myself of daily. That it’s not about whether you could do a better or worse job on something, it’s that your outcome would be different.

The hot dog shirt wasn’t the first T-shirt I designed, but it’s definitely the one I’m most proud of. I was ridiculously stoked and humbled every time someone posted a picture of them wearing it. And as some people know, I designed a sticker and pin to be included with every order as a thank you. These are the type of things I love to make. Stamps, stickers, pins, cards, etc. There is usually such a quick turnaround on these types of things, that it’s easy to come up with an idea, get it printed, and then have something to trade by the end of the month. And it thrills me to share these things with people and have them be as excited about a sticker, or whatever it may be, as I am.

I’ve done various other things outside of my day job, like album covers, logos, and posters, but honestly when I have free time, I like to spend it with my family. My wife and I are busy with our two year old son, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They really help keep me grounded, and my priorities in check. I do, however, usually have some Field Notes in my back pocket just in case.


CB: How much has having a small child around the house changed how you get work done? You often post #dadlife shots to your instagram feed; sometimes those include you working while caring for him. Is it difficult to balance those roles since a lot of a designers job can (conceivably) be done at home?

CM: The easiest times to get things done is while he’s asleep. Right now I work from home one day a week. He mostly wants me to play with him instead of being stuck behind the computer, so it’s tough. He understands that I have to do work, but I try and balance it with breaks where we play. Overall it’s difficult, but anything worth doing usually is. I’m extremely lucky and grateful that I get to spend some extra time with him, even though I'm working.


CB: You’re right, having that extra time at home is a real treat, you’re lucky to have a job that has that flexibility! Thanks for chatting with us - it’s been fun.

CM: Great to talk with you Sara!

You can find more of Christopher’s work on his personal site, his tumblr, and his instagram feed. If you’d like to see his Hot Dog tee have a second run, you can request it here.