Montreal Swing Riot

Montreal Swing Riot

T-Shirt design for Montreal Swing Riot Lindy Hop event


This is still one of my absolute favorite of my designs! (Can I say that without sounding like an @$$? I don’t care, it’s true.) MSR was a high energy, exciting street dance event organized by a group of Lindy Hoppers. Look up the videos on YouTube, you’ll see.

Client: Alain Wong for Montreal Swing Riot
Tools: Paper & Scissors, Photoshop

The Process

I wanted the design to feel gritty and raucous, like I like my Lindy Hop, so I began digging through some punk posters for inspiration.

Montreal swing riot inspiration

Using photography in my designs is not something I typically do, but I wanted to represent some of the OG Lindy Hoppers here so I gathered some of highest energy photos I could find.

Montreal swing riot inspiration images of frankie manning

Brainstorming & Ideation

The photo of Frankie Manning and Ann Johnson was the winner so I printed and scanned it along with some cutout letters from some magazines I had laying around.

Montreal Swing Riot Event Design Cutouts Process

Taking it into Photoshop

Once in Photoshop, I started playing around with some ideas. The color scheme seemed pretty clear to me from the beginning – black, white, and red, cause you won’t find a more intense color scheme than that! These are the first iterations.

Montreal Swing Riot Event Design Cutouts Process with color

Second Round

Here’s the second round.

Montreal Swing Riot Event Design Cutouts Process with color

Final Designs

Finally we settled on these for the two variations. I distinctly remember having a discussion about whether the red flag was “too much” based on Montreal’s political climate at the time. I’m glad they decided to leave it in there because it seemed in line with the ethos of the event.

Who dat?

Just some happy customers!

Montreal swing riot tees as worn by event goers
Bottom photo credit: Yannick Khong

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