Guest Post from Michael Essek: How To Become A Pun Creating Machine


Here at TeePublic, we've been fans of Michael Essek's Print-on-Demand tips for a while, so we're pumped to be running another entry in conjunction with him today. (Check out his previous blog entry on TeePublic’s blog here!)

If you like what you see, there're more tips where that came from on his website, so do check it out! With no further ado...take it away, Michael!


It doesn’t matter whether you love or hate puns - it’s undeniable that puns make great t-shirt designs. 

The good news for t-shirt designers is that puns are everywhere - and you can use them as free inspiration to help you come up with your own truly original pun-based designs. 

Once you spot a pun out in the wild, you can almost certainly ‘mine’ it - to find other ideas on the same subject, or based on the same underlying joke.

Here’s one way to do just that...

I saw the following pun in a stationary shop window in Seattle:

Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun”

This is a pun that works because of the similar sounds of the words ‘Ghouls’ and ‘Girls’.

Once you see a pun like this, you can keep running with it - ‘mining’ for more puns.

You simply look for other idioms, phrases, song titles, movies or other references that contain the word ‘Girls’ - and replace them with the word ‘Ghouls’.

For example:

  • Girls Night Out -> Ghouls Night Out
  • School For Girls -> School For Ghouls
  • A Big Girls Blouse -> A Big Ghouls Blouse
  • Cowgirl -> CowGhoul

...and so on.

This is just one kind of pun (a ‘rhyme & replace’ pun) - but the same system of reverse-engineering works with almost any pun you could find (it might just take a bit more work to figure out the ingredients).

The important thing is to take a minute to analyse the pun - then to follow the rabbit hole wherever it goes - and not to simply ‘stop’ at the first idea that pops into your head.

It’s often when you force yourself to push an idea like this further and farther that you will hit a ‘gusher’ - and then you’ll be able to list out 10, 20 or 30 ideas all from the same underlying principle or joke. 

So - my advice to you:

Be on the lookout for puns.

Great places to find them:

  • Billboards
  • Magazine Ads
  • TV Ads
  • Social Media and Memes
  • Song Lyrics
  • Movie Trailers

…and loads more places.

Once you spot one - jot it down.

Then analyse it - and try to find the ‘funny’.

If you can find the funny - you can make some money.

It won’t be long before you see the patterns that make them work, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a pun generating machine.

Until next time!

Michael Essek



Thanks for reading and of course, a big thank you to Michael Essek for sharing his expertise with all of us again! If you’d like to read more about this topic in-depth, head over to Michael’s blog on T-Shirt Design Ideas!

And be sure to check out Michael’s previous blog entry for TeePublic on shirt personalization.

Has this blog entry inspired you to try new things? Love to hear it!


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