This was a simple design I made because I wanted to see it exist. I’ll be the first to admit that it takes no special skill to trace from an aerial photo of the Great Lakes. The creative element here, if it can be called that, comes in not doing anything else. These shirts have nothing but an outline of the Great Lakes on them. No promo for your friend’s indie band. No logos. No cities, states, or any other political boundaries in the design. Just the lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. No explanation. So that if you wear one, people familiar with Midwest geography will recognize it, and other people will have to ask, “What’s that random inkblot on your shirt?” That’s all.
After I popularized these shirts at various indie craft fairs in southeast Michigan in the early 2000s, many copycat shirts were produced. For several years I ran on online shop and wholesale operation, until moving on to other things. The shirts I made are still worn by thousands of people all across the world.