Behind the seams: The stories behind class t-shirt designs


Hannan Waliullah

ASB has enacted a new policy about class shirt colors this year. While previously, the class colors had changed every year for every class, the colors will now stay static. Freshmen will be lavender, sophomores will be white, juniors will be gold and seniors will be purple (instead of the usual purple and gold). But one thing about the process will stay the same: the annual t-shirt contest. Look through the following pictures to see the inspirations behind the winning designs.




“I didn’t know until you guys contacted me,” freshman Brett Park said. Park’s design won for the class of 2020.  But because he had created so many designs, he lost track of which design was his.

Confusion aside, Park worked hard to come up with the design, which incorporates the idea of 20-20 vision.

“Everyone thought it was pretty clever that it was 20-20 vision, so we kind of build off of that one,” Park said.

Park created the design on CustomInk. He originally created almost 30 designs, but ended up submitting only two of them. Since the class of 2020 primarily uses Instagram to post updates, he posted the design and voting took place on the post. The class officers counted the votes one by one, and Park got the majority vote.

“[The feedback] is pretty positive,” Park said. “The only critique that they gave us is that the color is a bit too light and looked pink, but overall people liked it.”

In the future, Park would definitely submit to more t-shirt contests.




When she was a freshman, sophomore Juhee Yang wanted to run for 2019 class office, but she decided against it due to her busy schedule. However, this did not stop Yang from contributing to class office. For the past two years, Yang has designed for the class of 2019 — everything from Facebook promo pictures to Homecoming class shirts.

In an area where Santa Cruz is popular and fairly close attraction, it’s very likely to see someone walking around with a classic Santa Cruz shirt or hoodie. This Santa Cruz inspired design for their shirt is relatively simple: a white shirt with a lavender circle in the top left corner and “Sophomores” in the classic yellow Santa Cruz font.

“At first I didn’t have a design in mind but my friend Mia [Polcyn said] we should make it similar to the Santa Cruz shirt,” Yang said.

Going off of this, Yang began piecing the shirt design together on Photoshop, which she has been using since fifth grade.

After submitting her design, the clean and simple shirt won the votes of her classmates. Although Yang could not be a class officer, she continues to find other ways to help her class.




Junior Ashley Chang had one idea in mind when designing the t-shirt: simple.

“I had in mind that whole calligraphy thing that people seemed to be really into nowadays,” Chang said. “But either I’m really not good at that or I just you know, my inner art creativity wants to make it look different.”

Instead of the usual pun-filled shirt, Chang had decided to do a shirt with a simple, sleek design.

“I wouldn’t say it’s better, but it’s just harder to find good puns because sometimes they may come off as cheesy,” Chang said. “Or not everyone feels the same way about that pun.”

Because she did not want to include puns, Chang decided to go with the calligraphy route and create a unique T-shirt.  And despite winning the class vote, she remains humble about her successes.

“But also, there were a lot of very good designs that I voted for that weren’t my design” Chang said “and I didn’t really vote for my design,”





The senior class had two designers: one for the shirts front side, and the other for its back side.

Front Side:

Senior Lucy Shao didn’t think she was going to win the contest. In fact, she originally didn’t even think that she was going to submit an entry. She was helping her friend out with his entry, but after changing a lot of the design, she decided to submit her own.

“[After changing the design], he got mad at me so then I was like ’okay, I’ll just submit that design as my own design,” Shao said. “That’s really the only reason why I joined.”

Shao had participated in previous years’ t-shirt design contests, but had never won. She had also designed the t-shirt for MVHS Leo Club. 

“[My design] was different from [other designs] so when it did win I was really surprised and I was like ’oh okay’’,” she said. “I’m sort of happy that I won but then I also think it’s not that big of a deal.”

Back Side:

Since senior class vice president Anella Palacpac had access to the design submission form, she was able to look at the list of the designs beforehand. Palacpac wanted something unique. Something that wasn’t a generic design. Something that wasn’t a default image on CustomInk.

For inspiration, she scavenged the internet for examples of class t-shirts. A crown was the obvious choice. It symbolized seniority.

“It’s nice to see that I can see the crown, and I can have the class remember ‘Oh, this is our crown,” Palacpac said. “And if you see someone in a purple shirt and you see the crown, it’s really rewarding.”

The crown also marked a symbol of growth. As a freshman, Palacpac had designed the bright yellow freshman class t-shirt with a memorable quote, freshly made and ready to amaze. Now, as a senior, she looks back at the design as something she had grown from.

I [designed the front of] the freshman year shirt, and looking back at it I just really don’t know why I did that,” Palacpac said. “And now leaving [MVHS], contributing to the class one last time by creating the back design was really rewarding.”