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No Bad Ideas

It’s been said that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. Well, that theory has been put to quite the test over the last six years during the design phase of The Red Shirt. Now with the dawn of the Seventh Edition approaching, it’s the perfect time to reflect on past brainstorms (there’s gotta be a way to work in flamingos) and solicit future ideas from Badgers everywhere.

“Why do all your Buckys look like devils?”

Someone really asked me that question. Was it valid? Absolutely. The silver lining was my co-worker knew it was Bucky, and that was good enough for me.


Let me clarify: Devil Buckys are not my imagination at work. The reality is less disturbing and a bit humbling. I’ve been honored (truly) to be part of The Red Shirt™ team at the Wisconsin Alumni Association. My thanks to each and every one of you who’ve purchased a shirt in the last six years. You’re supporting a great cause.

It never, EVER, gets old seeing someone strolling down the sidewalk wearing one of the shirts. And if you’re with me when I see one, you can be sure I’ll point it out. (The exception is my Mom. She’ll point them out to me… as well as strangers. Thanks, Mom. Love ya.)

Usually, a small team here at WAA comes up with designs for The Red Shirt. Most of us can’t draw worth a lick, but we can crank out concepts. In the end, every design that ends up on a shirt started as someone’s idea.

My claim to fame is the Fourth Edition.


It’s proof that our talented graphic designers can take ideas laden with devil Buckys and transform them into high-five-worthy works of art. It’s been fun because there is only one rule: no idea is a bad idea.

Fast forward to the Seventh Edition. Are we out of ideas? NO WAY. In fact, we have tons of designs in our creative vault. But brainstorming is fun, and we love ideas from colleagues, friends and alumni. So this year, we’re letting you in on the brainstorm. It’s a way to give back to our beloved alma mater, and giving back can be (and should be) fun.

The best part? That comes later. It’s when we see the tangible fruits of our labor and know that scholarship recipients are benefiting from these once-small ideas.

In retrospect, some of our ideas have been, er, before their time. But because we all need to laugh at ourselves more often, we unearthed these old sketches for your enjoyment. Laugh with us — then indulge us with your own ideas!


Maybe you’ll think of it in the shower or the car, or maybe you’ve been hanging on to it for years. Wherever you find your inspiration, we invite you to bring out your Badger and make a difference. There’s only one rule: no idea is a bad idea.

And finally, in my defense, Bucky is supposed to look menacing. On, Wisconsin!


The Red Shirt™ is a limited-edition, collectible T-shirt, created by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Developed around UW-Madison’s tradition of giving back, The Red Shirt strives to generate excitement and goodwill among Badgers everywhere. Proceeds from The Red Shirt go directly to UW-Madison’s Great People Scholarship.

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