Q&A with Coby Schultz and Barry Ament of Ames Bros Clothing & Design

by |November 8, 2012
Categories: Blog, Resource

Ames Bros, two friends from college who formed a Seattle based company creating iconic designs for print, logos, and the web. They’ve worked with notable clients such as Pearl Jam, Nike, John Mayer, Phish, Bonnaroo, Cooper Mini, Harley Davidson, Hard Rock Cafe, The North Face, AOL, Billboard, Honda, Nissan and Sting. You’ve seen their t-shirt designs worn by celebrities in tabloids, on television and on stage, and now you can incorporate one of their witty designs into your wardrobe as well. Check out our interview with Ames Bros creators Coby Schultz and Barry Ament to find out more about their graphic illustrations and inspirations.


How did you two meet, how did you decide you should open your first studio together?

We met in college in Montana and made crude plans to open our own design shop one day…


Coby Schulz and Barry Ament of Ames Bros Designs

You might not know them by name, but Barry Ament (left) and Coby Schultz(right) are the faces behind some of America's most iconic designs



Where did you get the name Ames Bros? 

Ament and Schultz  = Ames, Bros = Bros :-)


When did you first get into art and design, have you always been sketching?

We’ve both been into art since we were little kids. Sketching wildlife and cartoons, mostly.


How would you describe your design style?

Hard to describe, really. Contemporary mixed with old school. Random, unique, graphic, iconic. Hand-crafted and almost always incorporating humor.


Unicorn vs big foot and other funny graphic tees

 These playful "vs." tees display some of the Ames Bros most popular designs and their charming sense of humor featuring popular mythical creatures such as Bigfoot and a Unicorn in an epic battle for existence.


What are some reoccurring themes in your designs?

Humor, animals (not sure why), nature,  graphic, bold often one color designs, simple.


ames bros 3D monkey tshirt

This "3D Monkey" showcases the Ames Bros bold sense of simple, clean design.


What are some your personal favorite designs you’ve created so far?

We’re not going to tell, because they’re the ones that no one else liked…


What is your creative process like, from idea to t-shirt/poster?

Sticky note or small piece of paper (so we won’t forget the  concept) to rounds of illustrations until we get the composition right. Then it’s working on final art that ends up on a poster or t-shirt.


ames bros handlebar mustache tshirt

A clever play on words, this "Handlebar Mustache" tee is perfect for any hipster on the go.


Where do you draw your inspiration from, and who are some of your favorite artists?

Our inspiration comes from everywhere. Candy wrappers, packaging, randomness, movies. Our favorite artists were those that really never got credit for what they created. Stan Lee, Sid Mead, Jim Phillips and Gary Larson.


What kind of music do you listen to?

Everything but zydeco.


 Ames Bros have created iconic gig posters, album art and t-shirts for popular bands such as Pearl Jam, Phish and John Mayer.


Any celebrities you wish hadn’t been spotted in an Ames Bros tee?

We’ll take whatever the t-shirt gods are willing to give us.


John Mayer in an Ames Bros tee

Bands and celebrities like John Mayer, Weezer, Pearl Jam and Leonardo DiCaprio have all been spotted wearing Ames Bros shirts hanging out, on stage in concert, on TV and on the cover of magazines.



What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?

We’ve been in a business that started because we liked hanging out together and drawing for 18 years. That’s an accomplishment…still being in business that is!


big bang theory ames bros tshirt

 Ames Bros t-shirts have appeared on popular television shows such as "The Big Bang Theory", "LOST", "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", "The OC" and "Scrubs".


Any words of wisdom for aspiring artists or designers?

It’s a big world of design out there. Decide where you’d like to work (geographically) and what type of work you’d like to do. There are a lot of possibilities…so start at the top and work your way down.


 Check out all of our Ames Bros t-shirts here.