In the aftermath of the attack on the Boston Marathon last Monday many people – both in Boston and across the nation – were left with questions. What can we do to help those affected? What can we do to begin to ease the pain and loss caused by an event that we still do not – and may never – understand?
This drive to help – to combat the darkness with light – mobilized businesses and individuals alike to set up foundations, throw benefit shows and events, and donate what they could to the countless funds for the victims that sprang up in swift response to the visceral call to action the tragedy spurred. One such business is Ctrl Alt Design, a Boston-based creative agency that specializes in graphic design, branding, and experimental marketing. Robert McElaney – Ctrl Alt Design’s creative director – designed an image representing his love for Boston that became the logo for their line of “Boston Love” t-shirts, sold on their website for a limited time only.
The screen-printed tees (the design is printed on American Apparel or Bella cotton shirts) feature a simple yet evocative image of a large red heart, the top arcs of which form Boston’s skyline. Ctrl Art Design is donating all proceeds of the shirt’s sales toOne Fund Boston, a non-profit organization set up by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to benefit those most affected by the attack.
“When the tragedy struck, witnessing all the pain and confusion, I felt compelled to create something to convey not only strength, but also compassion, something to bring people together,” said McElaney of the inspiration for his design. “While walking across the Mass Ave Bridge, and viewing the skyline, it hit me.”
As of 5 pm on Sunday, April 21 they’d already sold 267 t-shirts, raising roughly $2,400. It’s an impressive figure, one that speaks to the power of community in Boston, considering the fact that a brief post plugging the shirts appeared on Ctrl Alt Design’s website just two days earlier. McElaney said that the response has been overwhelming, so much so that they’ve extended their campaign through May 1. “We had a lot of people asking [me] to make sure they had the option [to buy] through the week, until they get paid,” he said. “Which somewhat blows my mind. Paycheck to paycheck and still wanting to give…Boston is awesome.”
The positive response to “Boston Love” reflects the anthem the city has adopted following the Marathon attack: ‘Boston Strong.’ “I moved to Boston in my early 20s from the suburbs, roughly 15 years ago. During that time, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a wide range of friends and acquaintances,” said McElaney. “Over time, some have moved out of state, some out of the country. When a tragedy like this strikes they all have responded with care, strength and support. Boston is what ties us all together. That’s what ‘Boston Strong’ means to me.”