A Decade of OBX Shirts

March 7, 2017

Latest Post The Hound of the Baskervilles by Owen Soule

We're closing in on the ten year anniversary of my family's first vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and I decided to mark this occasion the only way I know how, with a t-shirt! I debated a few different design concepts, but in the end I went for a walk down memory lane. This year’s design is a timeline showcasing the various OBX vacations t-shirts over the last decade.

Black + white + red = delightful?

This wound up as three color because screen printing tons of colors is insanely expensive and may even involve a large quantity commitment. Since I didn’t want to spent $50 a shirt or buy 48 of these bad boys, I opted to drop a bunch of colors. I really like the reduced color version - but here is a full color one in case you’re interested.

Too... many... colors... AAAAH!

And now for your timeline lesson - let’s walk through them, shall we?

The first entry is just a placeholder because we bought shirts at the ubiquitous Super Wings our first year. Those shirts were some kind of pirate theme (Surrender the Booty, Dead Men Tell No Tales, etc.) so I figured a pirate flag would work as the opening marker on the timeline. I suppose I could have started the timeline with 2008, but since this is a design celebrating a decade of shirts that likely would have sucked.

The flag of Calico Jack ...aarrrrrrr

In keeping with the pirate theme, our next shirt was a pirated design! This design, or something similar to it, came from a now defunct t-shirt web store. I loved its "Mexcellent” slogan and artwork so I purloined it for our vacation. Yes, this would have made better sense as a shirt marking a vacation to Mexico, but that would make too much sense in my world of deranged shirt design. Mexcellent!

Señor OBX approves this message.

Booty Call holds a special place in my heart because I designed it for my honeymoon. Yes, that theme seems a bit odd for a shirt marking matrimony, but at the time I'm pretty sure it made sense. It was done in Adobe Illustrator, which up until that time I always hated, but I bought a book and forced myself to sit for untold hours creating this design. Another fun fact, I listened to Jimmy Buffet’s “Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays” incessantly while creating this piece.

Fruitcakes in the kitchen! Fruitcakes on the beach!

The next shirt put an end to the pirate theme. The origins of this design are lost to the ages, I thought a road near our rental house was named mackerel but upon further review that’s not the case. Regardless, I settled on a mackerel pontiff design. He’s holding a pool life saving hook because we were into a pool game we dubbed “scoopies” that relied heavily on liquor and that hook. Just accept a martini swilling pope fish and move on!


Skipping 2011, because I didn’t create custom shirts that year, we come to the every popular Ham Nite. I won’t go into too much detail here - for more information check out my post on this design.


The last of the custom designs, before this year, was a Blues Brothers themed shirt. This one came about because Laura and I did not go to the OBX in 2013 - so going back in 2014 was a bit of a vacation reunion. What better way to mark a reunion than putting the band back together?


Rounding out the timeline for 2017 we find a stylized Back to the Future DeLorean. This seemed fitting for a shirt that was going back in time…line. The DeLorean only narrowly beat out a Dr. Who Tardis image. Sorry Dr. Who. Below is the mockup of the shirt from Custom Ink - I opted for the awesomeness of tri-blend because I love that friggen fabric. In fact, I wish all my shirts were made of tri-blend - a dream I’m helping myself attain with this very shirt!

I choo choo choose you tri-blend!

And that about wraps up ten years of OBX shirts. The shocking thing about this is I actually designed and ordered the shirts with tons of time to spare, so I don't have to pay an insane amount for last minute shipping. Guess that means I'm getting old…. ten years will do that?

March 9, 2017 Update!

The day after posting this I heard back from Custom Ink telling me I was an idiot for attempting to print black ink on a "vintage black" shirt since it wouldn't show up. Seemed OK in the proof? But alas, the proof isn't real life - so we switched from "vintage black" to "vintage royal" which does look a lot nicer and gives the shirt a patriotic beachy feel. I dub this update awesome and from now until the end of days I will claim this was always my original intention. Carry on…

Captain America approves of red, white and blue OBX-ery!

Owen Soule

Published March 7, 2017