Lungs of the Earth: a t-shirt design

Lungs of the Earth: a t-shirt design
July 2011

It is said that rainforests are the ‘lungs of the earth’. Here’s a design I created for t-shirt retailer Made in the Now in 2011.

T-shirt graphic: Lungs of the Earth. Cartoon Lung with South America.

Made in the Now: a ‘fast fashion’ retailer

Made in the Now was a ‘fast fashion’ retailer, who existed for two years between 2011 and 2013. Their website only sold one t-shirt design at a time, which was available for sale for only a 24-hour period. The designs tended to be about current news events, with the freshness of the artwork’s relevance being a talking point for their customers.

The artists who created Made in the Now’s designs typically have 4 hours (between 9:00am-1:00pm Brisbane time) in which to complete designs. The topic of their design was typically chosen from a shortlist of news articles which Facebook users vote on. Once the concepts are made public at 2:00pm, users have 24 hours in which to purchase t-shirt designs before they are retired from the website. An archive of their past designs is currently on their Facebook page.
Made in the Now logo

My design: the lungs of the Earth, about Brazilian rainforest laws

Read the full story of this design, inspired by proposed changes to Brazilian forestry laws.

I was the artist commissioned to design Shirt #35 for Made in the Now. The issue I responded to was the decision by the Brazilian government to relax its forest protection laws. An international petition against this move was run by, which resulted in over 1,000,000 signatures.

From concept to artwork

The idea for the graphic came to me rapidly. One of the first things I thought of when considering the Amazon rainforest is the expression that they are the ‘lungs of the Earth’, producing 20% of the planet’s oxygen.

Originally I tried two mirror-image maps of South America, but the design didn’t really work, as the reversed continental map on the left was unrecognisable. So I decided to go for a map of South America on the right, and a cross-section of a lung on the left.

T-shirt graphic: Lung with South America Amazon

T-shirt graphic: Lung with South America Amazon female model
T-shirt graphic: Lung with South America Amazon male model

Besides the initial 24-hour sales period in 2011, Made in the Now also re-opened sales for the design during a handful of special occasions. They had short periods when they allowed customers to order old designs from their back catalogue. I also offered this shirt as one of the rewards for the supporters of my 2012 Rat Park crowdfunding campaign.