Ze Frank

Shirts from Ze True Store

My collaboration with Ze Frank goes all the way back to 2004, when we both spoke at the Y Conference hosted by AIGA San Diego. We immediately started talking ideas. Ze was one of the voices that inspired the Daily Monster, which led to me having a recurring segment on The Show with Ze Frank. Later, I turned a key moment from the show into a popular poster. More recently, we made a True Facts poster together, and that ultimately led to Ze True Store, your one stop shop for all things True.

True Facts, in turn, inspired Ze to create the character of Creepy Dave. Dave is a vulture who hosts an animal show. He has a vaguely Eastern European accent, and pronounces both animal names and animal facts with great confidence and somewhat less great accuracy. The people went nuts for Creepy Dave, and as the people do, the people cried out for merchandise. And the will of the people shall not be denied!

Everything started with a screen grab of the original Creepy Dave video. In the True Facts era, I’d done some merch around the popular “Koalas in the Rain, no f*cks given” segment, and rendered the koala from the video into a stylized drawing. We used a Daily Monster for the “Sugar Addict” hummingbird Tee. But for Creepy Dave only reality would do.


The freeze frame we chose didn’t quite have the resolution to sustain high fashion, so I used some tricks I learned when using undersized images for CD packaging. There was fancy up-rezzing; turning things black and white usually hides a lot of jaggedness; and I added a newspaper halftone dot effect that harkens back to OG silk screened band T-shirts. That look also inspired my initial shirt design:


Ze rightly thought that this idea was perhaps a bit niche for the initial release, so I simplified. Still, the white-type-in-black-box look took root. It works great over multiple colors and struck me as suitably bold and un-fussy.

Creepy Dave was an immediate hit in the store, and over the course of a year we added lots of animals with Dave’s characteristic re-pronunciation of their names. We’ve got Crappy Barbras, Goldardedan Retriverdads, and Horney Badgerls, oh my.


And of course, every animal is Creepy Dave’s “Best Favorite Animal.


Perhaps my favorite item in the store is the Creepy Dave slip dress. Fashion vulture fashion done right. People have ordered it, and I’m still hoping for documentary photos.


And as ever, there are mugs. If there’s not a mug, it ain’t a real thing.
In the words of Creepy Dave, “OK, bye!”


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