Be an Open Book with Litographs Shirts
Want to tell the world about your favorite book? Wear it loud and proud. Cambridge-based company Litographs prints entire tomes on tees and posters, arranging the text into artful designs to illustrate the story. Current best-sellers include The Great Gatsby and Alice in Wonderland, but the Litographs store boasts more than 40 titles, with new ones added regularly.
Founder Danny Fein, a lifelong bookworm (favorite authors include Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer), studied evolutionary psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 2010, and while coding at his first job, he found himself searching for a real-world software project. Once the idea for Litographs came to him, he wrote the software prototype in just one sitting. At first, he didn’t think the project would be a full-time job, but the company’s steady growth has proven him wrong. Litographs started with posters, but has since expanded to shirts with a very successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2012.
Fein is not an artist, so he collaborates with designers from more than 30 different countries to create different images for each book. Once an artist completes a design, Fein uses his software to fit the text in the image on shirts and posters. “Most of the artists care deeply about these [stories],” Fein says. “Some even read the book again when coming up with a design.” While Litographs may have their sights set around the globe, they produce everything locally. “We’re really a local company,” he says. “And we’re planning to stay that way.”
Litographs also has a charitable focus. For each product the company sells, it donates a book to the International Book Bank, a non-profit that provides books to needy communities. And, in some ways, Litographs help preserve the printed word: “We are going to have fewer physical books in our homes, for better or worse,” Fein says. “Litographs can fill that void, and help people to show the world which books they’re passionate about.”
All photos by Justin Keena.