One of the downsides of eBooks is that you don’t have anything tangible to show for all your hard work. Bits and pixels are nice, but they don’t replace the thrill of creating something real you can touch and feel.

We’re not ready to publish a physical book (after all, Meteor is still evolving), so instead we did the next best thing: we printed some shirts, and you can get one right now for only $20 + shipping.

The Discover Meteor t-shirt

But let me stop you right there. These are not your average, run-of-the-mill startup shirts with a boring logo printed in big white letters on the front.

As you know if you’ve bought our book, we like to do things right. So for our t-shirt, we hired an illustrator to come up with an original design, and then looked for the best printer and highest-quality t-shirt blanks we could find.

The Design

We worked with Sel Thomson, a graphic designer and illustrator from the UK who now lives in California.

I first came across her work through her Don’t Be Afraid poster design for Design VS Cancer.

Don’t Be Afraid poster

I really liked the way the design smoothly combined lettering and illustrative elements, so I got in touch with Sel and luckily she agreed to take on our project. She quickly got to work exploring a few initial concepts:

Sel’s initial sketches

We liked the circular concept, so Sel then came up with a higher-fidelity vector design:

The high-fidelity design

Although I liked the overall direction, I wasn’t quite happy with the colors. I went to work tweaking the document myself, and pretty soon came up with the blue/white/gold color scheme we ended up using.

Yet I still thought something was missing. The design was too clean, too quiet: I wanted something more fun, more wild.

Looking back at the intial sketches gave me an idea: I enlarged the rocket and made it seem like it was “breaking out” of the design. I mocked up my idea and sent it to Sel:

The rocket concept

Sel liked it, and after cleaning up my clumsy attempt and tweaking the lettering a bit more, came back with the final design:

The final design

Finding A Printer

I looked at many different printers. My main criteria was that I certainly didn’t want to end up with boxes of t-shirts piling up in my living room, so the printer we chose had to take care of stocking and shipping, too.

I first got in touch with Printfection, and even ordered one of their free printed samples. Not only does Printfection take care of stocking and shipping, but they also have a very friendly UI to set up the whole process, as well as many integration with third-party services.

Threadbird

Their customer support was amazing, so I certainly recommend them. Yet in the end, we went with Threadbird instead, because they supported features like printing a custom label.

I have to say I was also convinced by their amazing blog, which provides tons of info about the whole printing process. As you can probably tell, we’re also big believers in sharing as much as you can on your blog!

The only downside is that Threadbird were right in the middle of launching their own stocking and shipping service, and so didn’t quite yet provide the same ease of use as Printfection.

Selling the shirt with Gumroad

So we ended up writing our own Gumroad integration (which might very well be the topic of its own blog post one day), and thanks to Nick from Threadbird’s support we’ve managed to get the whole thing working pretty smoothly.

Printing The Shirt

The final step was picking a t-shirt blank. I personally hate the stiff, cardboard-like shirts companies often print on, so I looked for a more breathable and lightweight material.

We settled on a NextLevel tri-blend blank, and we’ve actually had multiple people comment on how nice the material felt.

We also made sure we used a soft ink to avoid the “3D“ feel of badly-printed shirt. As a bonus, this means that as you wash your shirt, the ink will settle in and the shirt will get that smooth vintage look.

How To Get It

We first made the shirt available to buyers of our Premium Edition about a month ago. But we ran out of stock so fast that we ended up having to order more shirts, and postpone the general launch until today.

Meanwhile, the Meteor folks liked the shirt so much they ordered 200 of them to give out at the May DevShop, at HTML5 Devconf, and at JSConf in Florida. But this batch as well ran out pretty quick, so if you managed to cop one you can count yourself lucky!

This time though the shirt is finally available to everybody. So go ahead and get it while supplies last!

Or if you prefer, we’re also sending the shirt to every new buyer of the aforementioned Premium Edition. And yes, this also works if you’re upgrading!

Meteor Models

So what do people think of the shirt? See for yourself!

And if you’re rocking the shirt too, we want to know about it! Post a pic on Twitter and we’ll include it in our gallery for all the universe to see!