In 2007, a group of Student Affairs professionals met to discuss ways to increase traffic inside the Bone Student Center and boost Redbird spirit on campus. As a result of that meeting, the Fear the Bird Shirt was born. Now entering the ninth year, the Bird Shirt has become an important part of campus tradition with more than 30,000 shirts in circulation.

The University community is encouraged to wear the shirt on Fridays to receive special discounts and incentives inside the Bone Student Center. Each spring, students get the opportunity to vote for the next Bird Shirt, designed by an Illinois State student.

The 2015 Bird Shirt was designed by Taylor Gersch, student specialist at the Bone Student Center and senior from the School of Art. We sat down with her to learn more about the process.

Where did you find inspiration when creating the Fear the Bird shirt?

I found a lot of my inspiration just from the sheer quantity of options I created for 2015’s Fear the Bird Shirt. In total, I would say about 35 different variations were created and from that they were narrowed down to the five released for voting. When creating that many options, slight tweaks are common, and sometimes those tweaks lead into another separate idea.

What were the biggest challenges you faced while creating the Bird Shirt?

When I was creating the designs for the Fear the Bird shirt, I had to think of the design as a logo. Each element has to be unified and directly correlated to another element otherwise the design wouldn’t look as cohesive or put together. I would say creating so many contemporary logos was one of the biggest challenges while developing the design.

How does it feel to have your design selected?

It feels great! As a graduating senior I have grown to love Illinois State University and the Bone Student Center’s impact on our community. My school spirit has grown exponentially after working so closely on campaigns that can potentially make an ISU student’s day. I’m excited that my design will be carried on for more than a special event’s lifetime. As an alumna I will love to come back and see my designs still have a presence in the Bone Student Center.

What’s next for you, post-graduation?

Now that I’ve graduated, I will be moving to the Washington, D.C., metro area and living with other interns from Illinois State. I found a great internship for the summer with a small design firm who focuses a majority of their work on social outreach programs enhancing the community through technology. I will be helping develop and design e-books, websites and mobile applications in order to effectively spread knowledge and awareness.

Bird Shirts can be purchased at Barnes & Noble – Illinois State University Bookstore and the Lobby Shop in the Bone Student Center for $9.99. For more information, please visit

Stephanie Santucci contributed to this article.