How to Become a T

The T is a term used to describe content creators that make videos on YouTube. It stands for “the next big thing” and anyone who clicks this link will learn what it means, get tips about how to be one of the first to become a T, and more!

T-shaped profiles are a very common shape for humans. There are many examples of t-shaped profiles, but the most important is that it’s a good representation of your body. It shows where you’re strong and where you need to work on improving. Read more in detail here: t-shaped profile examples.

Mike Anderson wearing t shirt.

We’re back with another installment of our So You Want My Job series, in which we speak with guys who work in coveted positions and ask them about the realities of their employment as well as tips on how men might achieve their goals.

I’m particularly excited to give today’s interview since it’s with Mike Anderson of Tankfarm Clothing, who is a wonderful friend of the Art of Manliness. Mike approached us as a site fan and volunteered to create some Art of Manliness t-shirts for us a while ago. The end result was a shirt collection that was hotter beyond anything we could have imagined or dreamed for. Tankfarm has been a strong supporter of AoM and employs super-nice individuals with a strong blue collar work ethic. Today, Mike takes us behind the scenes of a company that I know a lot of men are interested in: designing and printing t-shirts. Mike, thank you for the interview and all your support!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (e.g., where do you come from?). What is your age? Describe your job, including how long you’ve been doing it, and so on.

Mike Anderson is my name, and I am 32 years old. I am from Cypress, California. I’ve been a graphic designer and t-shirt designer for 12 years, and I graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a BFA in Graphic Design.

With my brother John, I’ve been the co-founder and art director of Tankfarm Clothing since 2003. Men’s graphic t-shirts, button-down shirts, knit shirts, and jackets are among our specialties. The bulk of my time at work is spent designing innovative men’s t-shirt designs. Tankfarm is available at Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as Urban Outfitters and a variety of specialized boutiques.

2. What inspired you to pursue a career as a t-shirt designer? When did you realize you wanted to do it?

My whole life has revolved on my family’s printing and screen printing operations. Since I can remember, I’ve also been sketching. Since my second year of college, I’ve wanted to be a t-shirt designer and work alongside my family. My grandpa founded Cypress Printing in 1970, and my father joined him shortly after leaving the service. Many clients asked for custom silkscreened t-shirts at the “print shop,” as my family refers to it, thus my father founded Cypress Silkscreen in 1980. My two brothers and I worked with my father in all aspects of t-shirt printing throughout high school (set-ups, screen making, mixing inks, printing, boxing and shipping). After graduating from high school, I began working for the print business as an in-house type setter (old school term for graphic designer). For local Orange County companies, I produced t-shirts, business cards, brochures, wedding invitations, and more.

In 2001, while playing drums in a local rock band with my brothers, we formed Tankfarm Records to represent ourselves and a few other local musicians. T-shirts for Tankfarm Records were created by me, and they sold better than the CDs! We had our first all-store purchase from Urban Outfitters in 2003, and we decided it was time to make this our full-time job.


3. What qualities do you need to be a successful designer? Do you think going to school to study art and graphic design is a good idea?

I believe that having a little of natural creative skill and a lot of practice are the keys to being a competent designer. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the two most important software products to learn. I’ve seen designers attempt to get away with simply using Photoshop, which is a huge error Because Illustrator is lot quicker and vector-based, so it’s much more efficient (non pixel images). These two applications are required by any design firm, and knowing Adobe Indesign for page layout is a bonus (t-shirt catalogs and order forms).

While education is vital, the designer’s portfolio is the final selling point. I would propose giving free design services to everyone you know for the practice to truly nail down a fantastic portfolio (and it feels good to give back). Portfolios that are exclusively packed with school work aren’t very impressive. Local eateries, sports teams, and start-up companies are all excellent options.

Boxing club logo.

4. What does a guy need in order to start his own printing and design company? How much does it cost to start a business?

It is not inexpensive to start a screen printing firm. To obtain all of the computers and gear needed to get started, it would cost between $25 and $50,000. Finding a local, dependable screen printer to print your designs for you is considerably more cost efficient. You’ll save money on overhead and be able to design from the comfort of your own home or a nearby coffee shop.

5. There are a lot of males that want to create t-shirts. They believe they have some brilliant ideas, and they may even be printing some in their basement. But how can you move from manufacturing a few shirts for your pals to reaching a larger audience with your tees?

Starting small and working your way up is the greatest method to get your t-shirt designs in front of a broader audience. The majority of online businesses and small boutiques are eager to take a chance on a new brand. Larger store buyers will eventually take notice and will either request samples or make arrangements to view them at major clothes tradeshows (project Vegas, magic show, ASR).

6. The t-shirt industry is a very competitive one. How can you set yourself out from the crowd and break free from the pack?

Sticking to your own style and avoiding trends is the greatest approach to set yourself out from the crowd. “If we wouldn’t wear it, we won’t manufacture it,” is our slogan. We combine contemporary themes with classic Americana nostalgia. McQueen and Dylan are icons who will never go out of style.

7. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

When a t-shirt sells out, it’s the finest part of my work. That way, you can be certain that everything went smoothly: I developed a nice t-shirt, the retail buyer purchased a good t-shirt, and the consumer liked it. And the cycle goes on…


8. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

Finding out a shirt didn’t sell well is the hardest aspect of my work. We’ll always endeavor to gratify our clients by replacing worn-out shirts with new ones.

Mike Anderson and John Anderson seeing finishing of t shirt.

Mike and John, his brother.

9. How do you strike a balance between job, family, and personal life?

I’m really blessed to be able to work with my two brothers and father. My grandfather visits around once a week (a picture of him from 1950 may be seen on our t-shirt hangtag), and my uncle Larry is the major paper printer. Because I only live 3 miles away, it’s critical that I spend breakfast and supper with my amazing wife and two young sons. When necessary, I can work from home, and I prefer not to be at the office late at night.

10. What is the most common misunderstanding about your job?

The most common misunderstanding is that all things linked to fashion are just frills and games. In reality, it takes a great deal of effort, commitment, and hustling.

11. Do you have any further advice, recommendations, or anecdotes to share?

I really believe I am living the American dream, and I would urge all AoM readers to take chances in their lives. Someone else will if you don’t.

Thank you very much to Brett McKay for allowing me to share.



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The “t-mobile for business partner program” is a way to become a T. The process includes filling out an application, submitting it, and waiting for approval.

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