The Memphis Superstructure Design


When I launched Mobius Theory in 2017 (technically it was relaunched, but that's a long story), I decided early on to make it about bold, fun colors and whimsical designs that could potentially mean different things to different people. And the goal was for these designs to matter to people anywhere in the galaxy, not just Memphis.

So the Memphis "bridge shirt" (Memphis Superstructure) is unique in that it is a single-color design (white), it is very clearly about one place (Memphis, Tennessee), and is actually very subtle and subdued compared to the other designs on our roster and in our production queue.

To be honest, I just really wanted a Memphis t-shirt that I designed, and I thought people would appreciate having something that featured the Harahan Bridge, aka the Big River Crossing. The other elements are something I came up with because they fit with the simple line drawing of the bridge's cantilevered through truss design. 

Me, wearing a Memphis Superstructure t-shirt in dark grey heather.

I also wanted to hint at something that might feel a bit futuristic. The row of square dots is the same element in my Mobius Theory wordmark. The column of heptagons is there to also indicate depth--Memphis itself is deeper than what appears on the surface.

But those elements shouldn't be taken too literally. This isn't a logo. It's more of an attempt at creating a feeling, one of looking forward to the future while respecting a rich history. In my research, I found some amazing photos at the library of the bridge under construction. This made me wonder what people at the time felt about their city. Real progress was being made to help modernize and industrialize not only the city but the entire nation. And yet this bridge is over 100 years old. This duality of future and past is one of the key concepts at the heart of Mobius Theory.

"Memphis Superstructure in Black" by Andy Torres, 12" x 24" digital print on canvas, 2017.

"Memphis Superstructure in Black" by Andy Torres, 12" x 24" digital print on canvas, 2017.