INK Designs

April 1, 2011

Q10 Ink Designs 017

Kevin Ristow’s wife designed the “daisy” patterned T-shirts that are part of INK Design’s thINK Conscious Apparel. ~photo Michael Timm

1. Why did you move INK Designs from Cudahy to Bay View? How has the new location worked out so far?

We were waiting for the appropriate time to move INK Designs to Bay View. The opportunity had presented itself this past year and we decided to make the move. There is such a strong support for local business in Milwaukee and we wanted to contribute to the support-local movement. We are very excited about our new Hide House location.

2. Why did you start your own apparel line, thINK Conscious Apparel?

thINK Conscious Apparel was introduced in fall 2007. Its purpose is to promote awareness of social and environmental issues through a thought-provoking line of art-focused, original, ethical, and fashion-aware apparel. Our designs focus on nature, peace, and the environment.

3. INK Designs is featured on the cover of the Fair Indigo catalogue this spring. What/how much does that mean to you?

We are extremely honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with a like-minded company that is equally as passionate about sustainability and fair trade.

4. What are some examples of innovative or interesting jobs you’ve taken on?

Last summer we worked with a local Bay View treasure—Rishi Tea—on an all-over print for their Chai with Roots campaign. The art wrapped around the shirt from front to back and then off the bottom. That was probably the most challenging and intricate print that we’ve done.

5. How did you get connected with doing merchandise for the Brewcity Bruisers roller derby?

We had done some work with the Urban Ecology Center and met Joey Zocher, UEC Washington Park program director. From there, Joey (Bruiser name: Pound Anya) connected us to the Brewcity Bruisers and ever since then INK Designs has been a proud sponsor.

6. What makes INK Designs different from any other T-shirt printer in the area?

What sets us apart is our commitment to giving back to the community. In 2009 we partnered with the Milwaukee Community Service Corps (MCSC). Through community service, young adults lead a local clean water initiative to preserve, conserve, and restore water quality throughout the Great Lakes basin. Since 2009, we’ve continually donated proceeds from our thINK Conscious Apparel sales directly to MCSC in support of this clean water initiative.

7. What is the screenprinting process like? How does it work?

Screen printing is a printing technique that uses woven mesh (screens) to support an ink-blocking stencil. The stencil forms open areas that allow ink to be pressed through the mesh when a squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing ink past the threads of the woven mesh. The ink is then cured or dried.

8. What makes INK Designs environmentally friendly?

Our entire printing process from start to finish has been structured to lessen our impact on the Earth. We filter all of our waste water, use soy- and citrus-based solvents, non-toxic environmentally safe inks, and water-based adhesives. We also believe in sourcing apparel from sustainable manufacturers that use organic cotton, naturally sustainable bamboo, post-consumer recycled polyester, and low-impact dyes.

9. What graphic design services do you offer?

We offer a variety of design services—logos, business cards, web design, custom apparel, and various other print media.

10. What’s your professional history? How did you get into the printing business?

I’ve had a lifelong passion for print. I screenprinted my first T-shirt in a high school industrial arts class when I was 16 years old. I then studied graphic design in college and received my first job as a graphic designer in 1996. I’ve since worked for a newspaper, a direct mail company, a television station, and two advertising agencies. Ultimately, I decided to leave the corporate world behind to open INK Designs.

INK Designs
2625 S. Greeley St., Suite 305
Kevin Ristow
(414) 747-8998

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