There are some designs that stand the test of time. From fancy fonts and bold backgrounds to playful patterns and colorful cutouts, art and design are everpresent in the world around us.
To an outsider, the tiny town of Waverly, Alabama, appears pretty unassuming; with a population of less than 200 people, there isn’t much more than a few scattered houses and a strip of small businesses on the main road.
It might come as a surprise, then, that it is also home to a print shop whose designs reach beyond county, state and even national lines.
Standard Deluxe does a little bit of everything — though Scott Peek, owner of the hybrid print shop and popular music venue, said many of the shop’s designs are rooted in southern styles.
“I like old southern signage — like old signs and typography,” he said. “… I like a lot of different styles, you know? It’s just a wild mix of styles, but somehow there seems to be some sort of ‘look’ that we have that’s sort of a throwback, kind of vintage look.”
Standard Deluxe got its start in 1991 when Peek and a couple friends decided to establish a vessel for their artistic passions.
Peek had begun dabbling in screen printing as a teenager in 1982 and graduated from Auburn University a few years later with a degree in design; by the late 1980s he had a T-shirt line with an Auburn-based screen printing company.
“I was always interested in art, from childhood through high school, so it seemed fun,” he said. “My family — my parents — are artistic in different ways, so since I was a kid, you know, going through school and stuff, I was always the doodler or the person who makes somebody’s sign or whatever.”
What started as a hobby had evolved into Peek’s main area of study — and a way for him to make a little extra cash during college. But opening Standard Deluxe gave him even more room to branch out and grow his own screen printing business.
By the end of the ‘90s, however, Peek said the group had dwindled down to just one. His friends and business partners moved on to pursue other things, so Peek was left as the sole owner of the venue — and it’s been that way ever since.
While many southerners have come to know Standard Deluxe for its music side — including popular festivals like the Old 280 Boogie in spring and Fall Boogie in autumn — Peek maintains that the print shop is at the forefront of its offerings.
“One of our main things that we do is we’re a print shop for bands, and businesses and individuals, sometimes individual designers, so that’s sort of our main gig,” he said. “We sell our own stuff, and we do design work for other people, but we also print for other people — businesses and all kinds of stuff.”
A peek at the print shop portfolio reveals a sampling of designs for The Civil Wars, Dawes, Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood and James McMurtry, among many others.
“We print for people all over the country,” Peek said. “We still print for some folks in the Caribbean — you know, it’s just different every week.”
But Standard Deluxe has also printed for plenty of local clients.
“I mean, we print for Russ [Baggett, owner] over at 10,000 Hz,” Peek noted. “We print his shirts, … a lot of local bands and … we print shirts for Auburn Hardware, and they sell some of our shirts.”
The Standard Deluxe online store also offers T-shirts honoring the beloved War Eagle Supper Club, Auburn University’s “Cow College” nickname, the iconic Freewheeler bicycle mural in downtown Auburn and, of course, Standard Deluxe.
Another favorite: the “Hangin’ Out in Alabama” tea towel, which depicts some possums hanging from a tree branch.
And while Peek’s first love is designing, he said he has taken a bit of a back seat to that part of the process as he’s partnered with freelance designers over the years.
“I’m more a creative director these days than hands-on designing, [but] I still have my eye on things,” he said.
A majority of modern designers use staple programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to craft their designs. While Peek said he doesn’t have a specific program or method he uses for his own designs, he’s always been a fan of the old-school, by-hand designing. Still, he acknowledges that computers and software have made the job of a screen printer a lot easier.
“We started out doing a lot of stuff by hand,” Peek recalled. “… Things changed with the computers, so … I would say a lot of stuff’s done on the computer. It may be drawn — some stuff may be hand-drawn — but probably eight or nine times out of 10, the designer’s working on a computer doing their stuff.”
These days, Standard Deluxe offers a wide range of printing options for anyone in need of a big job.
According to its website, clients can request screen printing services for everything from sweatpants, tote bags and bandanas to a variety of T-shirts — for humans and even dogs.
The minimum quantity for an order is 48 pieces, but larger quantities are welcomed.
“After being in business for 30 years … thankfully you’ve got a lot of regulars — record stores and artists and bands, and different festivals and stuff that we work with from year to year,” Peek said.
And it’s easy to see why: The print shop handles each job with care and does its best to accommodate each request.
“Whether it’s 100 pieces or 5,000, each product is handled by live human hands and spot checked for that extra-fine quality that you’ve come to expect from Standard Deluxe,” the website reads.
Since its early days, Standard Deluxe has achieved its fair share of recognition from all over, but for Peek, Standard Deluxe is about doing what he loves and being authentic about it. At the end of the day, celebrating art is at the heart of it all.
“I just consider myself an artist, really, not a designer,” Peek said.
Standard Deluxe is located at 1015 Mayberry Ave. in Waverly. For more information, visit standarddeluxe.com.