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June 9, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST
ACME manager Reid Lyle doesn’t give customers the shirt off his back — he helps them design their own. For two years, Lyle has designed all types of T-shirts created from the dreams and nightmares of Columbians. This T-shirt tech creates wearable works of art, no matter how bizarre.
I manage about 10 graphic designers, and I do a lot of it myself, too. It’s not just overseeing; it’s getting down and dirty in the trenches as well. When the customers come in, they have a basic idea. I just make sure their ideas come to fruition.
A lot of it is so personalized that I don’t get it, but it is still a lot of fun. You never know what someone is going to bring in. One guy brought in a photo of two centaurs. Just imagine the worst thing two centaurs can do, and they were doing it to each other. Just the image, no words.
NAME: Reid Lyle
COMO RESIDENT SINCE: 2002
AT JOB SINCE: 2008
This guy in town does a comic strip called “Uncle Robot.” Every week or so he has something different to design on a shirt. He is a lot of fun to work with, and you never know what he is going to bring in or what Uncle Robot will be doing.
There is no monotony to it because there is always something new. It’s just one challenge after another because people come in and they have this idea that is not there in front of them, and you have to make it work. It’s better than answering the phone and sitting at a desk. It’s fun and action-packed.
I had a guy come in once who wanted to do some swastika stuff. I don’t mind doing rude and crude and even pretty questionable designs, but I don’t want to support hate speech. He got pretty mad at me. He started saying it was his right, his country too, and that he could say whatever he wanted. I told him, “Well, it is my right to suppress your speech.”
They are all inside jokes. When I get into a fight with my wife, I will make an apology T-shirt that I will wear for a couple days. One time, I gave her sister’s email address to a friend of mine who was interested in her. He started harassing her in good fun. It turned into this big ordeal, so I made a T-shirt that said, “I am sorry I gave my friend your sister’s email address” and wore that for a little while. It tends to pretty much end the battle when you are wearing a shirt like that.