T-Shirt Contest Winner Explains “Jazzy Fresh” Design

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Maybe it was the “Jazzy Fresh” title. Maybe it was the explosion of color and detail across a cotton canvas. Maybe it was the nostalgia the cartoon bassist evoked in our audience. Whatever it was, Rick Cortez’s design was a runaway hit.

To get better acquainted with the man behind our winning t-shirt design, which is currently on sale online and will also be available on site our Summer Fest jazz store, Cortez was kind enough to answer a few questions about his background and the inspiration behind his winning design.

How did you first hear about the design contest?

I first heard about the contest from my folks who know that i am always willing to enter a design competition.

How long have you been designing?

I have been designing since high school during the late 90’s and now am a working professional in the graphic design field pursuing a degree in art. My aspiration is to further influence young students to join the graphic design industry.

Your shirt contained a lot of elements specific to Summer Fest and downtown San Jose — the street signs and Fest map are two distinct example. These seemed like traits a frequent attendee would take note of. Have you attended many Summer Fests?

Yes, I have attended Summer Fest many times over the years and they keep getting bigger and better. The symbols used can be easily recognized by veteran attendees and new ones alike, being that the map used is similar to that used by the Fest and the street signs are where the party is at!

Was there any particular inspiration behind your design, and is there any part of the design you consider to be the centerpiece? 

I’m kind of an old soul and grew up on cartoons. For whatever reason, cartoons and jazz seem to pair together perfectly. I scoured the Internet for old cartoon clips from the 50’s and 60’s as inspiration. From that, I was able to create the final illustration. I’d say that the details are the centerpiece. At first glance, it is easy to notice the upright bass player, but  it isn’t until you look closer that you notice the street map, street names, music staff and clefs.

What type of music do you like to listen to?

I listen to a lot of funk – of course I attended the year that George Clinton was performing. Overall, my taste in music is pretty varied – anything from blues to rock.

Will you be attending the festival this year? If so, who are you most excited to see?

I will definitely be in attendance this year and I can’t wait to see Cameo.

You can pick up Rick’s “Jazzy Fresh” t-shirt and other great Summer Fest designs at our Good Joe Online Store.