What’s cooler than a load of newly unearthed Victorian symbols originally used to mark Sheffield steel products but now placed onto t-shirts? No, we have no idea either. Project Trade Mark is a brand exploring the graphic language of British industry and has just launched its first range of t-shirts featuring the aforementioned symbols. Three designs have been produced in a limited run of thirty three each.
This ‘curios’ project began two years ago with the discovery of a dusty register in the back room of a vintage shop. The book contained a complete record of the Trade Marks used by the Company of Cutlers of Hallamshire in1953. Most of the companies it listed no longer exist. This rare book turned out to be a graphical treasure trove. It was full of hundreds of arcane symbols used to market steel products. Victorian appropriations of Orientalism, hieroglyphics, exotic animals and visual puns, all catalogued by type and company. Project Trade mark is a celebration of the images used to identify, sell, market and distinguish cutlery, files, saws, bars, steel and knives.
Expect more tees to come as well as an exhibition in 2013 detailing the in-depth research that has gone into finding out the stories behind these curious images and the various items and companies that they represented. All t-shirts and hang tags are hand screen printed by Crow & Dunnage, whose workshop is, appropriately, inside an oldSheffieldelectro-plating works. T-shirts are printed on Earth Positive Continental cotton using water based inks.
Project Trade Mark t-shirts are available at: projecttrademark.com