Iron On Dons

There's been a resurgence in the use of old iron-on letters lately, and I am all about it. I couldn't give you an exact date of when it began, but felt iron-on letters have been used for several decades now to customize hats, T-shirts, jackets, and all types of clothing. Car clubs, gangs, crews, and more—you name it, and iron-on letters were there to help differentiate you from the crowd.

My earliest personal experience with iron-on letters was probably around the age of six. My older brother was part of a DJ crew in the late 80s and early 90s, and he and his friends had custom sweaters made with their crew name. Afterwards, I clearly remember the service being available at the indoor swap meet in Pomona (the city where I grew up). As I got older and delved into graffiti and hip-hop history, I saw iron-on letters reappear time and again.

In more recent years, Ben Goetting (otherwise known as World Famous Originals) released a font called Grandmaster Clash, which is based on famous felt iron-on letters. He also began to sell custom iron-on sets of this font, which I happily purchased and used. Night Tha Funksta from Japan actually hand-cuts his own letters that are reminiscent of the 70s Chicano styles of the time. More recently, the book "Heated Words," by Rory McCartney and Charlie morgan (released by Rizzoli), provides an in-depth look into the history of a very particular Old English/Gothic style font.

I've made a few of my own fonts, but I really took my time with what became Chibi OE. As much as I use Old English (or Blackletter/Gothic) lettering in my works, I always wanted to have a distinct version of my own. I don't think I've seen another rounded "cute" version of Blackletter before, so I'm very proud of my font being one of the first to push in that direction. I released the digital file and have been so happy to see it being used by designers, artists, illustrators, tattooists, and beyond. As much as I love making a font for people who use lettering in their own work, I also wanted to make it accessible to people who like the style but don't have (or care) to learn a program to use it digitally.

After a lot of back and forth, I finally made a batch of iron-on felt letters from my Chibi OE font. Instead of selling a set online, I am using this as a way to interact with people and will customize something for them on the spot. On June 7th, 2024, I had a small pop-up in Long Beach, California, where people could come and make their own shirts using my font, right in front of them. In an ironic turn of events, my older brother now helps me cut, weed, and heat press these designs for people. It's a lot of work, but it's so satisfying to see the final product, and it's always great to interact with people.

I'll be doing pop-ups this summer offering this, so please keep up with my socials or email list (its on the bottom of the page!)  so you don't miss out. Hope to see you soon!