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Designs To a T creates commemorative T-shirt for city’s 50th

By Staff | Jan 17, 2020

Want to celebrate Cape Coral’s 50th anniversary in style?

Leigh Anne Tollison of Cape business Deigns To a T has created a T-shirt that captures all of the things that make Cape Coral a destination city for residents and visitors alike.

The T-shirt features a postcard-like design on the back that reads, “Celebrating Cape Coral and the 50th Anniversary,” and features landmarks illustrated inside the lettering of the city’s name, surrounded by a palm tree, the location of the city in the state of Florida and backdropped by the Cape Coral Bridge. The front of the T-shirt features a small design over the chest that depicts the original signage those would see when coming into the city — dubbed a “waterfront wonderland.”

Locations such as the Cape Coral Yacht Club, Big John’s, the Iwo Jima monument, the military memorial spire on Cape Coral Parkway and more are shown inside the lettering bearing the city’s name.

Tollison said she was approached by Gloria Tate, president of the Cape Coral Historical Museum and Society, to create a design to “encompass the feel and color of Cape Coral.”

“We spoke of the community and highlights of our area, past and present, when designing the T-shirt,” Tollison said. “We specifically wanted to highlight the ‘paradise’ quality of our life here. Our staff immediately started brainstorming and tried to think of ways to incorporate the committee’s suggestions. With the current trends aimed towards vintage and throwback looks, we knew we wanted something with a retro feel. That’s when the postcard idea came to mind. We also wanted to bring the feel of the original Cape and that’s why we opted for the left chest print to mimic the original signage for the Cape — our ‘waterfront wonderland.'”

Tollison said they chose to include the locations they did by searching for the most popular images of the city and specifically targeted vintage searches.

“It’s amazing what’s out there to see about Cape Coral,” she said. “It was hard to narrow it down, there were so many fun images.”

The idea of making a postcard image came from Tollison and her husband’s love of all things vintage and their hobby of collecting 16mm film — of which they have many of Cape Coral.

The pair watched a decades-old Bill Stern “sales pitch” video of a new and budding city of Cape Coral for inspiration.

“When we were brainstorming for this project, we watched that film and it inspired the sort of ‘wish you were here’ thoughts from cards of that era, which brought us to the postcard style of design,” Tollison said. “Meri (Sutphen), our production manager, was instrumental in designing this image. She was born and raised here in Cape Coral. ‘Greetings from Cape Coral’ was the first draft, and then the committee suggested ‘celebrating’ — which was perfect.”

Other images depicted across the lettering on the T-shirt include a dolphin, a vintage photo of a couple driving into the city where the old signage was located and the ship at the Cape Coral Gardens.

T-shirts will be sold for $20 at Designs To a T or the Historical Museum, with custom options available at Tollison’s shop. The T-shirt material was chosen from their performance line — cool and comfortable, perfect for Florida weather.

Various sizes and colors are available.

Designs to a T has been in business for 25 years in the Cape, with its team made up of staff from all over the country coming together in Southwest Florida — such as many residents that now call the city home.

“Just like the population of the Cape, we’re from all over — but, we sure love it here,” Tollison said. “It’s a great place to live, to work and to play.”

She said she has seen an abundance of growth during her 26 years as a Cape resident and really enjoys the pleasant demeanor of residents in the area.

“The community grows and prospers and we’re happy to be a part of that,” Tollison said. “The constant is the ‘good vibe.’ Not a day goes by in our shop without a customer — especially those visiting from another area — commenting on the friendliness and kindness they see and experience here. I truly believe it’s one of the best places to live and is certainly deserving of lots of celebration.”

Designs To a T is at 1601 S.E. 46th Lane in the Cape.

The Historical Museum and Society is at 544 Cultural Park Blvd.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

(Editor’s note: We invite you to check out all of the Jubilee Kickoff stories grouped together in a special 50th anniversary section under News. Stories on upcoming events, and history highlights, will be posted throughout the year.)