Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DESIGN THERAPY: Johnny Cupcakes

It will come as no surprise to my nearest and dearest, if I say that Johnny Cupcakes is my absolute all time favourite designer for unique T-shirts. It is a rare day indeed if I am seen without one of his quirky and cute designs on. You could say that I have a bit of an addiction. I prefer to call it LOVE!

Johnny Earle, launched his T-shirt line in 2001 whilst touring with the band On Broken Wings, selling his screen printed creations from the back of his car. The signature look of Johnny's designs is a cupcake with crossed skulls, the cupcake image appearing in all manner of places where you would least expect it, in each creation.
There is a humour and irony to his designs that have created a cult following for his wares and this is intensified by the release of limited edition shirts and invite-only releases at each of his stores. With stores in Hull and Boston, Massachusetts, and one in L.A. Johnny has established himself from coast to coast, for those in the know.

Johnny Cupcakes stores are set out like bakeries. The Newbury Street store in Boston displays t-shirts in glass cases and "fridges", whilst the L.A. store is more like a Willy Wonka-themed cake shop with over sized candy coloured ovens, that open and close letting out steam. Staff wear aprons and purchases are packaged in take-out style boxes.
Johnny Earle on display, Newbury Street Store

Interior of L.A. Store

I admire Johnny for his determination to go out on his own, and stay true to his ethos of a creative business that he controls, which has so far seen him recognised in 2008 by Business Week as number one in their Best Entrepreneurs 25 and Under awards, among many accolades. Yes, 25 and Under!! Yikes, this guy is seriously talented, and a genuinely funny and lovely person to boot. He regularly travels the country, and now the world, to give inspirational talks to young students about business and design. Johnny recently travelled to England for the first of his international lectures, stopping off in Leeds on his travels.

Follow his "freshly baked" antics here, to get a sense of the man behind the magic.

My all time favourites.....

from Johnny's Girls Collection, past and present

It is a testament to the strength of his brand that Johnny Cupcakes is going strong in 2009, despite the financial climate we find ourselves in now. Johnny, over to you...

**Update 08/21/09: Johnny Cupcakes has just be placed in 237th position by Inc. Magazine for their Fastest Growing Private Companies in U.S.A. piece. Read more here.. Nice**

(all images courtesy of Johnny Cupcakes)


  1. nice researching skillz helgs. v informative. j

  2. lol i love Johnny Earle on display


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