The Desert Collection

Posted by Taylor Barkin on

The Desert Collection

The Desert Collection Design Inspiration 

Tanner grew up in Arizona and we have been spending the past few years traveling through the desert. Since we launched Moore, many of our designs have been centered around life outdoors in the mountains and imagery centered around travel.

As we've continuously grown to love the desert and all of the plants, trees and cactus within it, we knew about a year ago that a Desert Collection would be making its debut soon.

This is a big one. When developing it, we actually had to cut out about half of the concepts that we originally thought about including. 

This is the first collection that consists of tees & a new line of desert themed home goods.

Part of the inspiration to push this collection to be the next in our line was because we wanted to give back as we could after seeing some of the destruction that has occurred within the last year. 

In 2019, the government shut down and many National Parks were left unattended. We were really sad to see that people were destroying Joshua Tree in particular and destroying trees that took so many hundreds of years to even grow. Recently we have seen that saguaro cacti have been being cut down in order to create the border wall 🙄.  While we can't be there to physically stop this, we can do our part to raise money for those working hard to protect these areas.

For the month following the launch, we will be donating 20% of sales to protect Joshua Tree and the Saguaro National Park. 10% of sales will be donated to Friends of Joshua Tree and the other 10% will be donated to Friends of Saguaro. We value what they are doing and want to help how we can to protect landscapes you truly can't find anywhere else.

Meet the Desert Collection!

The Joshua Tree

Tanner's Inspiration: For this series I really tried to touch on every desert in the American Southwest.

If you are not familiar there are four. Starting at the bottom is the Chihuahuan Desert that starts in Mexico, covers the left part of Texas and stops in New Mexico. Next is the Sonoran Deseret that also starts in Mexico, covers the bottom part of California and spreads over almost half of Arizona. Then it’s the Mojave that sits at the bottom of California, Nevada and touches the west side of Arizona. Last is Great Basin, which is where many of the major landmarks sit in the US. Grand Canyon being the biggest. The Great Basin covers the most area and sits in the most states. Almost all of Nevada.

For this design: Joshua Trees are native to the Mojave. The last two years of traveling from California to Phoenix I passed right through. It was my plan to try and see the national park but time was always an issue. However, this month we were finally able to see it for the first time

Travel West

Tanner's Inspiration: I used Travel West in a series in 2016. At that time I was experimenting a lot with lettering. For this new concept I wanted to use a timeless script combined with some desert imagery. This is the same Joshua Tree from above. Why draw the same thing twice? Really loving how the sky came out.

The color of this first version is a bit riskier than what we usually offer. I actually really love the mauve-rosie-pink on black. Again, those crazy sunsets in the desert have these tones. The other version is a mauve background and black design.

Grand Saguaro

Tanner's Inspiration: I chose a saguaro because have always loved cactus. Growing up near a desert meant I saw many shapes and forms of them all over Arizona. Even on license plates! Saguaros specifically are something special. The east side of Arizona has forest like amounts of them. They are obviously iconic parts of the desert but are also important to the landscape. Saguaro bloom flowers that help pollinate other desert plans, they are homes to burrowing animals/insects and surprisingly provide a source of water to the habitat.

In a past series I did a singular pine tree. This style felt like a good choice for this series as well. With the addition of a Harris Hawk I wanted to capture that interaction between plant and animal. You can see budding flowers as well.


Road Runner

Tanner's Inspiration: Most of the time I don’t draw many humans or animal life in the work I do. It’s not my specialty. I love drawing landscapes, objects, and plants. For the Desert Collection I ran through a list of desert animals. Many of which I really love, but didn’t want something overplayed. So, when choosing any the roadrunner felt perfect to tie in with the rest of the imagery. And a western hat.

These are bazaar little birds that only live in the lower southwest and Mexico. They are nicknamed “snake killers”. For such a tiny bird that’s a pretty strong name. If the want to see these guys in action I recommend Americas National Parks that @natgeo put out. It’s on Disney+. The Saguaro episode is amazing and goes over a ton on of info I’ve talked about.


The Casita

Tanner's Inspiration: This is a bit of a combination of desert life. I have always been curious about little adobe houses resting in the middle of desert plains. Two years ago Taylor and I took a trip to Taos, New Mexico where these are very common and come in many shapes. This does have a Joshua Tree that are not very common in NM but adobe style houses are all over.

I have thought of what it would be like to live in a place like this many times. I’ve even considered it an option. I do love city life but at times I’d rather hear the wind blowing and live a more simple life. It’s always in the back of my head.

This piece was the first concept I came up with for this series. I must be day dreaming. The sky is halftone dots to get another value.


Monument Sunset

Tanner's Inspiration: This one is all about desert skies.

The desert skies are the most beautiful I’ve seen. The sunsets, sunrises, and light that breaks through a thunderstorm cloud in the summer. You get these fades of purple, dark blue and green after a storm.

There is nothing more magical than seeing the desert sun pass behind the rock horizon.


Western Cup

Tanner's Inspiration: Of course I had to come up with a coffee cup concept for this series. Plus a prickly pear cactus.

This cup is very similar to one my dad used and still uses when he goes camping. It’s a very southwestern style cup. Almost always used for morning coffee. The pattern is not the same going around the cup since I do not know who the artist is and do not want misrepresent their meaning. I won’t go down a rabbit hole but I feel really strongly about appropriation. Just don’t do it.

This is the only piece I made that is heavier on representing part of a culture. I wanted to show my appreciation for the native culture in the southwest.


Cactus Cup

Tequila Bottle 

Tanner's Inspiration: Does anyone need a margarita?

Touching on concepts that I am drawn to continuously. I really love the shapes of different bottles. Not just for spirits. Beer, depending on what type have some wonderful shapes. When I was developing the ideas for this series naturally tequila was the option that came to my head first.

Since I like to research info and imagery while I create a series I wanted to know the basics of how and where tequila is made. Apparently it is only made in Jalisco, Mexico and designated states of Mexico. Traditional tequila is made from one type of agave plant, the Webber Blue, that only grows in Mexico. Keeping it short, they take the heart of an agave called a piña, cook it, extract the juice, ferment it and distill it. Of course they bottle it and age the tequila like most spirits.
I also became fascinated with the shape and form of agave plants. The leaves are what most people know but when the plant flowers is beautiful. The stalk grows about 7-16 ft tall and let’s of amazing yellow flowers. Funny thing is this part of the plant has nothing to do with making tequila.

Home Goods

The Bundles

With the bundles, you can get a sampler platter of an item from each category. The best part? Every bundle purchased means more funding to support our national parks.

The Zine

Tanner created an artist Zine for this series, which is something he has wanted to do forever but because of the labor involved, hasn't been able to squeeze the time in to make one. He spent his nights curating this little book to detail all of his inspiration for the series and each individual design. 

The Desert Collection color selection

One of the most exciting, and actually most challenging parts about creating a collection is deciding what colors will make up the collection. All designs start with pen and ink and are always black and white when finished. From there, we take the given design and pick either one or two colors per design to launch with.

Many previous collections have had forest, earthy tones and have consisted of a lot of greens and neutrals and playful colors as they have fit. We were excited for the Desert Collection because it was a chance to go beyond what we normally offer. When we thought of the word "desert" the first thing that came to mind were tones of oranges that make up all different types of desert landscapes. 

Orange is Tanner's favorite color so it's about time we create designs that naturally fit with that.

How we planned the Desert Collection launch

This launch was 2 months in the making. The inspiration for this launch hit us when we were out visiting our friends at SEED in Costa Mesa. When we were out there doing a live print workshop, we looked at each other and said, I think our next collection is going to be desert themed. It's a landscape we have always loved traveling to and felt heavily inspired by.

From there, we got through our busy holiday season and started planning the launch. Since Tanner grew up close to a desert, he had a lot to draw from inspirationally from his childhood. He sat down one day and started sketching out all of his ideas. I loved all of them immediately. He had so many ideas on this one that we had to painfully cut some out.

Once we decided what concepts we were going to move forward with, he began refining all of them, which took about a week on and off to complete. From there we had to decide exactly what products we were going to launch!

How we decided what products to launch 

T-shirts have always been our main thing so most of our collections consist mostly of that. We did, however launch a line of home goods last fall so our gears started turning with this collection. We got really excited when thinking about launching beyond just shirts on this one so we decided to craft a set of designs of candles, tea towels and a limited edition set that has all of these items bundled together. 

The desert landscape is such a unique one that we had fun taking different elements to create panoramic candle labels and tea towels complete with various cacti that we love.

The Desert Road Trip

We love the desert! So what better way to capture our new products than to go plant ourselves there. We recently took a week long road trip from Colorado to Phoenix, through the Saguaros, on to Joshua Tree and back home through Monument Valley.

We first stopped in Phoenix to debut our new collection at the Phoenix Flea. We were blown away by the in person response to this collection and struggled to keep things away from the internet prior to our official launch.

After Phoenix, we ventured to California and first stopped in Palm Springs for an afternoon beer.

From there we went to where we were staying in Joshua Tree, a tiny little house in the middle of the desert. You'll see most of our pictures were taken here. Ever want to take a bath outdoors? Just stay at The Shack Attack and they have you (un) covered!

From there we ventured to the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately the fog was sitting so low that we weren't able to see a darn thing.

Then we ventured to Monument Valley and hit it right as the sun was about to go down. That wasn't completely our intention but holy moly was this the best time to go!

Learn more about our other collections here!

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