Each year, the street in front of our office shuts down so local artists can put their work on display inside local businesses. Musicians and food vendors are there too to keep the crowds fed and entertained. And we’re there, too.
Since we’re proud residents of the Near Southside, we like to do something fun and interactive. And what better way to endear ourselves to our neighbors than open a tattoo shop?
The idea for Squirrel City Ink came about randomly, as these things always do, when art director Charlie Howlett wondered aloud if it would be funny to pretend the little building next to our office was a series of businesses that were “coming soon” but never opened. One of the ideas was a tattoo shop, and it stuck.
The name Squirrel City Ink was derived from Squirrel City Bombers, the name of our fake agency motorcycle gang, which never managed to assemble, let alone rumble. Anyway, with tattoo shop name in mind, we painted the building to match, created signage and even tatted up a mannequin.
For the event itself, we turned five hand-drawn designs into temporary tattoos, which we passed out for free. We also hand-drew two t-shirt designs that were sold and printed on site by our friends at Trust Printshop. In sourcing the t-shirts with them, owner Matt Lucas let slip that they had portable presses that would allow them to print shirts one at a time as people purchased them. Done and done.
Turnout was great, and everywhere you looked people were sporting our (temporary) ink. But what does all this have to do with advertising? Branding, like a real tattoo, is best left to the professionals. Otherwise, you’ve got a lifetime of embarrassment ahead of you.