In the Fall of 2020, Made In Baltimore issued a call to graphic designers in Baltimore City to submit designs to our Buy Local Design Competition. In the midst of one of the most trying times for Baltimore’s creative community, the Buy Local Design Competition was an effort to remind Baltimoreans of the importance of supporting local business, and a direct expression of the Made In Baltimore mission: encourage investment in Baltimore’s economy by growing the market for locally-made goods and supporting the people who make them.

We sought dynamic and engaging designs that would distill the ‘Buy Local’ message into an eye-catching and memorable graphic. The three designs selected do just that, all with their own unique style.   We also enlisted the support of local soft-goods manufacturers and printers Pangea Printing  and SEW LAB USA to create t-shirts and tote bags to host the graphics from our competition winners.


Meet our 3 Buy Local Design Competition Winners!

Christian Dexter (@alternate_glyphs)

“It is important to buy local because it not only supports small business and your city, but it is also beneficial to the environment. When we buy local: we don’t need shipment, large production plants, etc.  We support our community by supporting each other and making our city a better place.”

    “My design is inspired by Baltimore’s rich history. Being a student at MICA, I am exposed to all sorts of things in Baltimore, from the history of globe posters, to the old factory sign painting, and the rich culture Baltimore has to offer. Love where you live embodies what buying local is about. Loving and supporting your community, loving the land you live on, and loving your neighbors.”

    Christian’s design titled “Love Where You Live” can be seen below and is featured on a canvas tote bag manufactured by SEW LAB USA and printed by Pangea Printing Co. This tote is currently locally available at Bird In Hand Cafe, located at 11 E 33rd St, Baltimore, MD 21218 and at Open Works located at 1400 Greenmount Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202.


    Chad Smith (@realchadsmith)

    “At the most basic level it’s the best way I know of to support the people I know and that are a part of my community. On a larger scale it is important to subvert the stranglehold that corporate America has on our everyday lives.”

    “‘Buy Local’ is a thought process you wake up with, use throughout your day, and can directly see the impact you make. So, starting with something iconically Baltimore, the row home, and showing the communities in which we live shows the very heart of ‘Buy Local’. We buy local and support local in order to build and help the community that we love.” 

    “More specifically to a ‘Buy Local’ ethos is understanding the product you’re buying. Differences between similar products and services can be large or small- just as they can be with something as uniform as row homes. In the illustration there are both small and large differences to notice and appreciate. The subtle differences you see, hear, feel are what makes for a vibrant and diverse community, product, and life.”

    Chad’s design titled “Row Homes” can be seen above and is featured on a cotton t-shirt printed by Pangea Printing Co. This t-shirt is currently locally available at Bird In Hand located at 11 E 33rd St, Baltimore, MD 21218 and Open Works located at 1400 Greenmount Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202.


    Alysha Payne (@imnotalysha)

    “Buying locally not only boasts local economies, but empowers members of the community to maximize their full potentials and/or follow lifelong dreams of business ownership. This kind of empowerment can have a ripple effect, which can positively impact not only their families and friends but also their own community in some ways. This kind of confidence and ability should be recognized by the community so supporting these business owners as often as possible is necessary to continue to preserve the character and legacy of Baltimore.”

      “I wanted to create a design that showcased what local buying symbolizes to the city and history of Baltimore. So, I stylized a map of Baltimore to resemble a fingerprint to symbolize the permanence of local business in Baltimore history. I mainly used the yellow and black colors to pay homage to Baltimore’s flag. Known to many, “bmore” is slang for Baltimore, but I used “bmore” because all together, the shirt will sound like “Be more local,” which is just a cute phrase to hopefully encourage local buying.”

      Alysha’s design titled “BMORE Local” can be seen above and is featured on our Instagram @madeinbaltimoreprogram.


      Made In Baltimore is working constantly to elevate makers and manufacturers in the city of Baltimore. With the Buy Local Design Competition, Made In Baltimore has been able to provide paid opportunities and resources to stimulate a variety of local designers, makers, manufacturers and retailers. This work is a reflection of the program’s continued support to Baltimore and the many individuals that make it the Greatest City in America.