Tag Archives: designers

Where Does Inspiration Come From? We Asked Design-a-Sock Entrants!

One of the coolest things about Design-a-Sock Contest is the incredible variety of designs we get. They come from all over the world (84 countries and counting so far this year)! They come from people with vastly different life experiences and perspectives. And, of course, everyone has their own idea about what should go on the perfect sock.

We like to think about Design-a-Sock Contest as more than just a contest: it’s a global conversation about design. And this year, with less than a week to go to enter, we’re going to do something we’ve never done before. We’re going to show you some of the designs we’ve already received to give you a better idea of what people are saying.

We got in touch with five different people who sent us designs this year. Here are their designs, and here’s what they told us!

Carlee Shirts

What do you want the world to know about your sock design? 

Turtley Awesome by Carlee Shirts

The idea came from my pet tortoise, Alfie. He has a heart print on one of his shell plates and was a gift from my hubby for our 17th Wedding Anniversary, so we just had to name him after the tortoise in the love story Esio Trot by Roald Dahl.

Where does your inspiration come from? Who or what inspires you?

My kids, hubby, fellow roller derby girls with the Idaho Rebel Rollers, nature, the unique talents and creations of other artists.

What do you enjoy most about being creative? 

Seeing my ideas come to life.

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world? 

You have amazing gifts to share with the world! Take the leap! You have no idea how many people you can influence, affect, inspire, and make feel a part of something by sharing who you are.

Sarah Hussein

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

While designing the socks I kept thinking about how to spread joy and happiness to people who might be interested in wearing it. I wanted to send a confident message to people who feel different and prefer to make special choices.

Who or what inspires you? Where does your inspiration come from?

Dogs and Bones by Sarah Hussein

My inspiration comes from many sources such as nature, animals, plants, and modern art. I am a painter who keep an eye out for very specific details. I am training my eyes to be better though through processes like meditation, reading art books, and taking my camera and my sketchbook with me everywhere.

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

The most interesting thing about the creative process is that I’m making a reflection of my own self through painting, designing, photography. I feel good when I express myself through these artistic media. I love challenging myself on every single piece I’m working on. I love telling myself that every piece must be my masterpiece. Art refreshes my soul.

Under the Sea by Sarah Hussein

How can you inspire creativity in other people?

I try to inspire people through my work by making the audience feel my soul through my art. I would like them to feel something different, something that hugs their hearts softly, something they may know or not but definitely would touch them.

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world? What do you think would help make people feel more included?

Absolutely all creative people have the same issue. All designers feel shy. Even the famous and great artists get nervous. They can’t help thinking of others’ judgements. So my advice is to share your art with the world because without sharing you will never get anywhere. Just do it, share your art, share your soul.

Carla Puebla

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

When it comes to sock designs, most people think about famous paintings or food or animal patterns, but science and biology can be fascinating too. White blood cells (Leucocytes) are quite interesting since there are many different types and they have multiple functions. I thought about adding some red blood cells (Erythrocytes), but it’d draw attention from the lesser-known leucocytes. But mainly, what I want to show is that people who take an interest in these specific subjects are not alone. Science and our own cells can be beautiful too, in their own unique way. 

Where does your inspiration come from? Who or what inspires you?

I’m currently studying Medicine, and I was inspired by a Histology class I attended. It opened a whole new world of creative possibilities, since you can use different stains to highlight different aspects of a cell. For example, if you were to stain the cells with Hematoxylin and Eosin, leucocytes would be pink without much contrast. Which is very different than what you would get if you used the Romanowsky stain. The actual design is based on a May Grumwald Giemsa stain from a peripheral blood smear.

Mi-Toe-Sis by Carla Puebla

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

I’d say that the best part about being creative is the freedom that it implies. In the case of sock designs, instead of looking for something similar to what I would like, I myself am actually doing it. In that way, I don’t really have to wait until someone does it. 

How can you inspire creativity in other people?

I think looking at peoples’ ideas can be inspiring. I would have never thought about designing a pattern with cells if I hadn’t seen the cell slides paintings. So, it’s just a matter of recognizing potential among the normal objects that we see daily.

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world?

 I’d say to not be afraid to show it to others. Sure, some people might say that they don’t particularly enjoy your art, but it is not a tailored-made creation for someone. People have different styles and that’s where the beauty of art resides: in diversity. There will always be someone that supports you. At least there is a mathematical certainty about this. But even if at first it doesn’t succeed, sharing your art enables you to improve based on constructive criticism. 

What do you think would help make people feel more included?

I think that people would feel more included if we accepted that there are different points of view and perspectives on art, and there is not a “correct” way to do it. If we were shown different styles, it would encourage those with unusual techniques or ideas to share their creations and continue the cycle.

Michelle Dooley

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

As to specific socks:

I thought a menacing plant would look interesting on a sock. What was the name of that movie about the plant that ate people? The Little Sock of Horrors – no, that wasn’t it – well, it is now!

Feeling so tired today. I have to work my way through this thick pile of research about comets for a column I’m writing. Also want to think about some sock ideas. So much to do. Need a little pep in my step. Time to hit the coffee ‘cause I’m practically – Comet toes!

Reachable Stars by Michelle Dooley

My tights have had a few “ladders” over the years. I thought a ladder would look interesting on a sock, but where would the ladder go? I played with a lot of possibilities, then suddenly though of an old song about chasing the “Impossible Dream.” It’s good to aim high, but why shouldn’t some goals be accessible – let’s celebrate “Reachable Stars.”

Who or what inspires you? Where does your inspiration come from?

Over the years, I’ve had a few different careers: doing shopping mall market research (“Excuse me, ma’am, could I ask you a few questions about the deodorant you are wearing today?”); writing technical reports about photocopiers and facsimile units (What can I find to say that’s interesting about different toner colours and print capacities?); developing product ideas for The Franklin Mint (purveyors of fine collector plates, Jackie Kennedy dolls, and other dustables); and, most recently, teaching World Cultures as an adjunct at a local university (an increasingly challenging job).

How did I get here?

Little Sock of Horrors by Michelle Dooley

Growing up, I went to eight schools in four countries (my father was an international business executive). At each new school, I watched the other kids, then tried to be like them, to meld into the new group, and “belong.” It took many years to realize that wasn’t necessary.

Eventually, I figured out that each person has an individual tale to tell. Each story is unique. That’s what makes it interesting. Tell your own story!

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

What is my superpower? I wear thick glasses. It gives me a different perspective on the world: when I mis-read a word or an object, and realize my mistake, it can turn into a new idea. I also can’t draw very well and I’m not that good with technology. I struggled with that for a long time before suddenly being inspired to cut simple designs out of coloured paper. My biggest challenge has been to find a way to get what’s in my head, out where people can see it.

Comet Toes by Michelle Dooley

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Look for the funny side of your particular predicament: you will feel better and so will everyone else around you – and they’ll probably then share a similar experience they’ve had, which will bring you together.

Not every idea is a good one. That’s why it’s good to have a lot of them. Where do ideas come from? Everywhere! Talk to people. Read stuff. Look at stuff. Learn stuff. Remember stuff. Always be curious about everything. The more ideas you have in your head, the more likely your mind is to make interesting connections.

Haley Tebo

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

It sort of depends on which design specifically, but in general they were made with love and passion by a young graphic designer!

Where does your inspiration come from? 

Sweet Treats by Haley Tebo

After researching the Sock it to Me catalog and competitive market, I created some unique designs inspired by the Sock it to Me aesthetic. Your bold and creative designs inspired me to be experimental and unafraid in my own designs, from a fish riding a bike to wildly silly geometric turtles.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by people and works that make me feel something. Awe, motivation, and inspiration, yes, but also things that are relatable to the human experience. I aspire to be an excellent storyteller and visual problem solver, so Rebecca Sugar is one of the people that I look up to. Her show Steven Universe has inspired me because of its success in world-building and evoking emotion through art, music, and cinematography. The Steven Universe movie just premiered and I think that many viewers can find something to relate to that makes the viewing experience special and personal. It’s something that I would be ecstatically proud to be part of someday. Given that many “Cool Girls” that are part of the Sock it to Me community also advocate for LGBTQ+ issues and body positivity, I think that we can all appreciate the strides that Rebecca has made to address these in her work.

Carp-e Diem by Haley Tebo

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

I enjoy the processes of critical thinking and creative storytelling in graphic design. I am so grateful to have found my passion in this creative field that allows for a wide variety of collaborators, media, and opportunities.

How can you inspire creativity in other people?

Creativity can be found in more than just art. It can take the form of resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, and unique experiences. Wherever it’s found or however you express it, there really is no way to fail at being creative.

Bark Print by Haley Tebo

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world?

I encourage individuals to explore their own path to confidence and creativity. For example, my sister does studio art, is her own boss, and creates as inspiration comes. I, however, was timidly creative until I found graphic design because it allows me to handle decision making with guidelines and research to support my creative process. Find your own passion and comfort zones and you will find a community you enjoy sharing with!

Contest submissions from around the globe

Oh wow, so many great submissions have come in from folks vying for First Place in our 2nd International Design-A-Sock Contest. Not only that, they have come from places near and far, like Australia, Canada, Israel, Poland, and the Philippines. It just gives us this warm, fuzzy feeling to know that there are people all across the world who are joining us in talent and spirit.

We thought you’d enjoy seeing a few of the buzz-worthy designs we have received. Remember, First Place winner gets $500 cash plus 10 pairs of socks and bragging rights, since the winning design joins our line of socks already on the market. Second and Third Place winners score cash and socks, too. Of course, there are more chances to “win” as well. If we like your designs, we’ll buy them from you and call you a sock designer! Pretty cool thing to add to the resume, no?

BTW, you can still enter the contest. Find rules plus our design template online here and send in up to 5 designs electronically by 5pm PST on Friday, March 4th (or post-marked by the 4th if you snail mail them from the States).

All this talking and you just want to see some designs, don’t you? Ok. Here you go, friends. Get your votes ready, and join us on Facebook for a preliminary voting round from March 14 to 17. The winners will be announced on March 18th!

Continue reading Contest submissions from around the globe

We heart Portland [designers]

It is no mystery that SITM headquarters are in Portland, Oregon. We know we talk about it a lot. You would too, if you lived here (and maybe you do!). Portland shines for a number of reasons, but when it comes to our united creative force, I would argue that we outshine most cities on the grid.

Over the years, we have employed about a dozen designers from our very own City of Roses. Whether it’s pirates or robots, veggies or manatees, the styles are fresh and funky, and some even capture Portlandia culture (like the bikes!). We’re so proud that we thought we would turn the spotlight on these fabulous few for making our style here at SITM really blossom. Make sure to check out all of our Portland-made styles here.

Anna Magruder is an artist and illustrator in Portland, Oregon. In 2009, Anna took a leap of faith and left the routine and security of her graphic design business to focus on what’s become her passion—oil painting and illustration. Her paintings often focus on people and animals and whatever lies between. When it comes to sock design, Anna likes the geeky-chic look that says, “Smart is sexy!” (which is true!), exemplified in her three SITM designs: Space, Octosock, and Mad Science.



Mad Science

Brenna Zedan now works as a sock enthusiast at the Portland-based Sock Dreams, but we like to think she whet her sock whistle back in 2006, when she began working with SITM in everything from design to warehouse work to product photography. She has had her hand in more designs than she can remember. Some, like the Dainty Dots and the Monkeys, were Carrie’s ideas that she worked into a format that the manufacturer could use. Other designs include the cool color combos in the Summer stripe and Mermaid stripe, and best sellers like the Ninjas, Whales, Pirates, Ice Cream Cones, Bears with Teeth, and Unicorns (her personal favourtie).