What to do when you realise your idea isn’t new

What to do when you realise your idea isn’t new

For a while I’ve had an in the back of my mind an idea for a T shirt design. Many ideas roll around for months, sometimes years before they get dealt with. This is normal. Most of them never manifest into anything. This particular idea was pushed to the front of my mind by various events connected to my last project, the Stereotype T shirt. So, it felt like the right time to do it.

As it was now at the front of my mind, more ideas where coming thick and fast. It was a “now or never” type situation. I now had some solid thoughts on how it could be executed. If it’s not done now, it will slip back to the recesses that will only be used as reference for a future design at a later time. You don’t want to sleep on these moments of creativity and loose the urgency. It’s like waking from a profound dream and not writing shit down. You know it will all be forgotten by midday and only vague recollections will remain.

Like a pen and pad next to the bed, over the next few days I produced something I was happy with. I asked a couple of people for opinions, initial thoughts. Based on some feedback and with the original conception still front of mind, it was revised and improved. Two days later I was confidently sending the finished artwork off to be printed the following week. With more than a week before it would actually be produced, I had time.

I produced a mock up of the design on a T shirt and it was now online for sale.  I wrote a blog – The idea behind the T shirt design; the research, background information, the process and the problems I encountered whilst working on it. I had time even to send the blog to a copywriter friend of mine for critical analysis.

Don’t believe your hype

A few days later,  I was still waiting for feedback on my blog which, I believed to be about a fairly original T shirt design. There’s little point in writing for the web without doing doing some research, better late than never, so I decided to check what Google was saying. I searched the title of my blog. To my disappointment, I found a bunch of T shirts with ‘my original idea’.  After my initial disappointment, the next reaction was, “I’m going to have to contact my printers and tell them to stop”, followed by more disappointment. Then, “I’ve just spent hours of work for nothing” – more disappointment and now, frustration. “And, I spent hours writing a blog about this!”. “People will think I just copied someone else’s idea!” .

And then I had a realisation. My ego and naivety believed it had an original idea. On reflection, I should have known better – especially with such an obvious subject matter. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something that I thought was unique, only to find it already out in the world, in a similar guise. I rarely take the time to look around to see if an idea has already been done. If I do, most of the time, if the subject matter is important enough, I will try and do it better. If it isn’t, I just won’t do it at all.

Believe your hype

Should I research more before I commit to a design that I feel is unique? Or, should I discover it for my self with no distractions? The most important thing is, I know why I did it. My ego and naivety created this because I wanted to express something through uchi. I didn’t need other designs to influence if and how I should do it.

Google “Elements of the Human Body T shirt” and you’ll find plenty of nice and and some just decent variations.
I’m glad I didn’t stick with the first idea I had. I’m pleased I didn’t notice what others had done. I simply wanted to create an ‘uchi’ T shirt featuring the elements of the human body, and so, that’s what I did.

Japanese StreetSounds Electro album covers

Japanese StreetSounds Electro album covers

In the UK in the early 80’s, if you wanted to get your hands on the latest US HipHop and Soul club hits you’d usually have to pay US import prices. Then came the StreetSounds record label. They delighted many in the UK, hungry to get their hands on the latest vinyl, with their StreetSounds Electro compilation albums. Along with the StreetWave label, they licenced many popular US tracks producing over 23 compilations of full length version and mixes of the latest Electro and Hiphop mixes at UK prices!

Not only were the StreetSounds Electro compilations classic Hiphop albums, the album covers are also classic album covers. As a personal project we’ve created these Japanese versions of the first four StreetSounds Electro compilation album covers!

StreetSounds Electro Volume 1 – Japanese version

Electro 1 Album cover - Japanese version

StreetSounds Electro 1 Japanese album cover


The Packman  ザパックマン

West Street Mob <ウェストストリートモブ

G-Force  G-フォース

Captain Rock  キャプテン ロック

Newclues  ニュークルーズ

K-9 Corp  K-9 コープ

Project Future  プロジェクト フューチャー

C- Bank  C-バンク

StreetSounds Electro Volume 2 –  Japanese version

Electro 2 Album cover - Japanese version

StreetSounds Electro 2 Japanese album cover

エレクトロ 2

Grand Master Flash and Melle Mel グランドマスターフラッシュアンドメレメル

Hashim  ハシム

The B Boys  ザ B ボーイズ

Xena  エグゼナ

Two Sisters  ツー シスターズ

Rammellzee vs K-Rob  ラメルジーとK-ロブ

StreetSounds Electro Volume 3 –  Japanese version

Electro 3 - Japanese album cover

StreetSounds Electro 3 Japanese album cover

エレクトロ 3

Divine sounds  ディバイン サウンズ

Davy DMX  ダヴィ DMX

Imperial Brothers  インペリアル ブラザース

Newcleus  ニュークルーズ

Boogie Boys  ブギーボーイズ

Pumpkin  パンプキン

Fresh 3 M.C’s  フレッシュ3MCs

StreetSounds Electro Volume 4 –  Japanese version

Electro 4 - Japanese album cover

StreetSounds Electro 4 Japanese album cover

エレクトロ 4

Herbie Hancock  ハービーハンコック

Pumpkin and the profile all stars  パンプキンアンドプロファイルオールスターズ

Radio Active  ラディオアクティブ

Run – D.M.C.  ランDMC

Key – Matic  キーマティック


Cybotron  サイボトロン

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