We were recently approached by London-based illustrator Melvin Galapon to print a new range of t-shirts featuring his bold and brilliant designs.

We used a combination of DTG printing onto white Earth Positive organic tees to print the designs as it is the perfect way to print photos, illustrations and other intricate full colour designs. The t shirts are to form part of  Melvin’s clothing label which he very kindly took some time out to talk to us about. We found out more about where he looks for inspiration and his fondness for collaboration…

Q. So Melvin, what can you tell us about this new series of t-shirts?

A. They’re part of a clothing label called A-Ok that I’m setting up.

The designs themselves are inspired by a series I produced for my Rise & Fall exhibition at tokyobike (which runs until mid-August), although I wanted these to be bolder and more colourful.

Q. Quite a lot of your work seems to be influenced by or based around typography. How did your love for letterforms begin?

A. My earlier work was inspired by old technology, such as computers and video games. Within this I was interested in pixelated type, and how I could mimic glitches or distortions from a TV screen to push its legibility.

My current projects are more about deconstructing type using lines. I do this either digitally or physically, using laser cut sheets of acrylic. My work has also become a lot more pattern-based recently.


melvin galapon creative review

Above: Melvin’s cover for this year’s Creative Review Annual, built using laser cut sheets of acrylic and photographed by Sam Hofman


Q. Let’s talk about your working process. How do you go about making your images, and what are the tools of your trade?

A. I use my notebook, pen, mouse, Mac and camera. I always start by making little notes or sketches in my notebook. Then, once I’ve got an idea, it’s off to the computer. The final outcome is either completely digital, or a physical set that is built and photographed.

Q. What is the first thing you do when you get a new brief?

A. I try to make sure I’ve got all the information I need and I’m clear on what the client wants. I find the worse briefs are those where the client doesn’t have a clue what they want, or when there’s no proper direction given.


melvin galapon a-ok

Above: One of four t-shirt designs printed by ICON for A-Ok, a new clothing label from Melvin


Q. You collaborate a lot within your work. Two years ago you had an entire exhibition of work at the Kemistry Gallery that was inspired by the process of working with others. So what is it you enjoy most about collaboration?

A. Working with new people allows me to work in ways I wouldn’t be able to on my own. The other person always brings something completely different to the table.

What I love most are the conversations you can have with that other person. I get a real sense of how they work, and it’s within these conversations that interesting ideas begin to take shape.

Q. If you could collaborate with absolutely anyone, who would it be?

A. I wouldn’t say there’s one person in particular. I just love working with great, enthusiastic people who are open to new ideas and trying something new. If that happens to be a musician, brand, or clothing label, then that’s even better.


melvin galapon t-shirt

Above: Melvin’s contribution to the Pick Me Up x DC Shoes t-shirt collection


Q. What are you currently working on?

A. I’m designing a repeat pattern for Parka London, which will be used across a new range they’re launching next year. I’m also working on some other personal projects – including a video with choreographers Marquez&Zangs.