A couple of years ago, Derrick Weber created a “home” logo within the shape of Oklahoma. Since tornadoes recently swept through Oklahoma, that design has circulated around Facebook and other social media.
This art and similar logos have swept over the Internet as social media avatars, T-shirts and posts. The Oklahoman talked to Weber about his work and how he developed the popular concept.
Weber was born in Minneapolis but moved to Edmond at age 10. He's lived in Tulsa since 2009.
After he was laid off from a clinical research job in 2009, Weber started pursuing photography.
He's been selling fine art prints since about 2010, he said. Currently, he does portrait and concert photography, as well as T-shirt design.
Here, he answers questions, including his feelings about his design being copied, modified and spread on the Internet.
Q. What does Oklahoma mean to you?
A. Oklahoma means community. It means never meeting a stranger. It means someone always willing to lend a helping hand. Other states may have more scenic views or have more exciting things to do, but the people are what make this state truly something special and unique.
Q. Talk about your artwork.
A. I visited my talented photographer/farmer friend, Samantha Lamb, in Hobart in December 2011 and we went to Meers Restaurant and outside the door was a multicolored rock mosaic in the shape of Oklahoma. I took a picture of it with my iPhone and did some editing. I had just bought a text app on my phone and decided the picture needed a little something more. “home.” was then added as a simple, meaningful statement. I made some prints of the design and then a few months later started thinking about turning it into a T-shirt. I didn't have any experience in graphic design or screen printing, so it was a slow process, but I've now been selling the shirts for almost a year and they just recently took off a few months ago as several stores around the state started carrying them and promoting them on their Facebook business pages.
Q. When did you notice it being shared extensively on social media?
A. I first noticed a replica of my design all over Facebook a couple hours after the storm, but it wasn't actually mine. I'm guessing someone saw a shirt on a store's page, copied it and placed “home.” off-center and uploaded it. Since the storm, I've seen several different versions of my design now on Facebook and T-shirts. It's a bit frustrating to see your idea copied so extensively, but I'm glad it means so much to so many people. I've been contacted by people all over the country, as well as Canada and Sweden, wanting shirts because of what Oklahoma means to them and it's a great feeling to be able to connect with them. After seeing the replica design on Facebook, I created a similar design to my original with a heart around the state that was also shared extensively and people began using it as their profile picture.
Logo shirts can be ordered through the online store at www.