Chicago Screenprinter Delicious Design League Lives Up to its Name

There’s nothing like good old-fashioned screenprinting. And Delicious Design League serves up this traditional art as a modern craft! This Windy City screenprinting agency is a boutique business with larger than life clients, including our favorite time-killers, Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter. They even create amazing prints for Chicago’s super hush-hush Secret Panel.

The core of Delicious Design League’s work is amazing art, which is why we’re pretty excited that they have a Duotone-themed art show at one of our favorite places, Galerie F, starting this week (on the last day of our Duotone challenge…coincidence or fate?) We talked to Delicious Design League’s creative director Billy Baumann about their show, their work, and about hot dogs (it’ll make sense).

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Tell us a little bit about Delicious Design League!

DDL is a small design/illustration/screenprinting agency in Chicago. We were founded in 2006 by me and Jason Teagarden-Downs. I’m the principal Creative Director and Jason is the principal Business Director. We are a total of seven people now.

Two of ten posters done for the O.A.R tour (via Instagram here and here).

How was Delicious Design League started?

In 2003 I started creating sceenprinted posters for my band and that led me into creating posters for all sorts of other bands and venues. So, by 2006 when I became tired of working at my big agency design job and Jason was tired of working his job as well, we decided to try to take my poster-making hobby and turn it into a real design business.

Poster design for FOALS (via Instagram).

It seems like your company brings the feel and look of independent art and creativity to huge brands – do you think this kind of personal touch is important when it comes to building a brand?

I think DDL can offer brands a unique look and feel to their projects by injecting a strong point of view and being able to combine graphics with illustration. It helps us stand out among all the other agencies, we hope. So, that personal touch is important I think because you need to be able to offer clients something that they can’t get anywhere else.

A wedding invitation designed by Delicious Design League (via Instagram).

You have an art show coming up this Friday at one of our favorite places, Galerie F! Tell us a little bit about it!

We’ve been working with Galerie F for years and earlier this year we even did a redesign on their logo for them. We’ve been wanting to do a solo show there for a while but we’ve always been busy. We finally committed to a date this year for the show and we’re really looking forward to it.

One of the awesome designs to be featured in the Duotone art show!

Tell me about the theme of the show, Duotone – this seems perfect for screenprinters. Did you experiment with any new styles for this show?

The name Duotone was mostly a play on words because so much of the art is two color, two styles, and it features mostly two-artist (me and Graham).

One of the awesome (and adorable) designs to be featured in the Duotone art show!

Where did the idea for creepy vs cute come from for the duotone theme?

The creepy vs. cute theme developed because Graham Erwin, who is one of our designers, was drawing these really creepy and evil looking “things” at night for fun and we all really liked them. So I thought it would be fun to showcase our range of styles by doing really cute versions of his creepy illustrations.

Just a few of the amazing designs and products in the Delicious Design League Artist Shop! Top row: “I Heart Tacos” on a women’s triblend tank, “Practice” on a baseball tee, and “Origin of Species” on a women’s triblend tee. | Botton row: “Hourglass” on a men’s white tee, “King” on a men’s triblend tank, and “Octopus!” on a men’s zip-up hoody.

You have an Artist Shop with us too! Tell me a little bit about the designs in there. Any fun ones you want to call out with a good story behind them?

This design (below) was created maybe six years ago. It was our first hot dog-themed print and it did so well for us that we ended up creating a fair amount of hotdog-themed artwork. We found it funny how Chicago seemed to have a never-ending hunger for hot dogs in any form.

Chicago Dog

What’s the process when your team is working on a branding project for a client?

For a branding project, we need to do a lot of research up front. Research about the brand, the product(s), the client, the target audience, etc… And once you have all that information, it makes the job a lot easier. From there you start narrowing down styles, moods, emotions, execution techniques that will work for the brand. Then, after all that is done and the client is on board and agrees with our research, we can start developing ideas based on those criteria. First with simple sketches and mood boards until after several rounds with the client we refine out ideas down to something that is final.

Poster celebrating 35 years of Chicago venue, Metro! (Via Instagram).

You guys are Chicago-based like us! Chicago is such a huge brand and advertising focused city – what’s the art scene like around here in the screenprinting world?

Chicago is definitely a hub of the screenprinting scene. Chicago was vital in the screenprint revival of the early 2000’s because of places like Screwball Press, Birdmachine, Sonnenzimmer, Crosshair, Dan Grzeca, Keith Herzig, Spike Press, among others. From those people, more and more people learned the art as well as having clubs like the Metro, Lincoln Hall, and The Empty Bottle willing to pay for posters it was a perfect storm to grow the art form and screenprinting in Chicago.

One of the adorable Duotone designs in the Galerie F show.

What’s one of your favorite things about being based in Chicago?

Without Chicago, we wouldn’t have been a part of this community and through this community, it gave us a venue, an outlet to create our own business. There would be no DDL without Chicago and its people.

In Chicago? Check out Delicious Design League’s rad work at Galerie F through October 22nd!

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Carlyn Hill

Dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I'm not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.