Shop of the Month – Cormack & Lehane

Shop of the Month – Cormack & Lehane

The doctor is in! Henrik from Cormack & Lehane creates T-shirts for medical professionals. Read more about the designs from this Shop Owner with a PhD.

Working in a hospital comes with a lot of responsibility and stress. Hendrick’s designs target the hard-working, life-saving folks working in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and nursing. He does this with respect and a healthy dose of humor.

Hello Hendrick! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Why don’t you tell us a bit more about your line of work?

I am an anesthesiologist and intensive care specialist. Most of the time, I care for seriously ill patients in a large intensive care unit. I also work as an emergency doctor in air rescue and on the ground.

And you still find time to run an online T-shirt shop? Amazing! How did you decide to start a Spreadshop for medical professionals?

The idea came to me during one very strenuous night shift in the intensive care unit. There were several patients who were in a critical condition and the whole team had reached their limit. At some point, one nurse burst out with frustration and exhaustion: “Fuck my life.” Another nurse shot back with “to save yours.” It made me laugh and I told them that would be a cool saying for a T-shirt.

The seed was planted, but it still took almost two years until the first T-shirt was actually designed.

Who are your Shop’s customers?

Anyone who works in the medical field or has a connection to it could be a fan of Cormack & Lehane. Originally, I started with the idea to develop a shop for my own specialty, covering anesthesia, intensive care and emergency medicine.

In the meantime, it has sort of evolved on its own. Through this project, for example, I have established contact with some very active bloggers from the nursing sector. The nursing crisis in Germany is much more serious than portrayed in the media. Although we live in a prosperous country, many German hospitals are criminally understaffed. Due to the poor working conditions, this important profession is increasingly losing its attractiveness. Fewer and fewer young people are striving for a career in nursing. This is creating a vicious circle.

I have some designs in my shop which aim to strengthen nurses’ self-confidence and could even improve the career’s image. Of course, this doesn’t remotely solve the problems our health system is facing. But I get a lot of feedback from nurses who tell me that they feel a little better after a hard shift when they put on one of my shirts.

Do your colleagues also wear Cormack & Lehane shirts?

Yes, that happens. My brother especially loves wearing the shirts!

For me personally, the biggest reward would be to one day walk through a city center somewhere in Germany and see a stranger wearing one of my shirts. I think that would put a smile on my face for days.

How much do you love your job?

I love my job most of all when I’m actually doing it: when I’m in intensive care at a patient’s bedside or when I’m called to take care of a seriously ill person in a strange apartment at three o’clock in the morning. In these situations, I fully commit myself to doing my job with passion.

The dark sides of the healthcare system – such as the high workload, the severe restrictions it puts on one’s own private and family life, and the increasing budget cuts – unfortunately tarnish this feeling now and then. Cormack & Lehane is a nice, positive way for me to balance out those negative aspects.

Your “One Family” design shows a heart-shaped planet Earth as a heart, a heart on the African continent and a wave in an IV fluid bag. What does that design mean?

Modern medicine is an extremely complex structure. The design is supposed to express that teamwork is incredibly important for the big picture. It’s not about which discipline you belong to or whether you’re a doctor, nurse or cleaner. If everyone sticks together, this improves the working conditions for everyone and the quality of care for the patients.

“Surfing the waves of chaos” also features in your designs. How did you come up with the connection between surfing and anesthesia?

The design refers to working in the emergency room. You never know how many patients will come in on a particular day or what kind of emergency you will be confronted with.

There are days when suddenly a lot of patients arrive at once. It feels like a wave rolling over you. Dealing with this chaos, assessing patients according to the urgency of their problem and working through them in turn has something of the art of riding a big wave.

Who actually creates your designs?

The ideas for the designs come from me. I also create the majority of the designs myself. Sometimes I use graphic elements from stock suppliers and process them further.

At a certain point, however, my ideas can be too big for my skills to tackle. For some designs, I’ve worked with professional graphic designers.

Sometimes, colleagues and friends also look at my ideas and designs and give me feedback or contribute their own ideas.

Since the start of the shop, a small interactive community has developed, especially on Instagram. There are some designs that have actually been developed by the community itself.

And how did you learn to design?

I never learned formally. I was able to work a little with Photoshop before Cormack & Lehane. Everything else, I just taught myself over the past months. There are a lot of tutorials on Youtube that can answer almost any question.

If a professional designer were to look over my shoulder while I’m “designing”, it would probably be difficult for him to bear. My means to the end are often unusual, but in the end I get the desired result.

In fact, I’ve decided to take a week off this year and attend a graphic design course.

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Wie funktioniert unser Shop eigentlich? Alle Produkte in unserem Shop werden im Print-on-Demand-Verfahren hergestellt. Hierfür arbeiten wir mit Spreadshirt zusammen, dem derzeit größten Dienstleister für POD in Deutschland. Sobald eure Bestellung eingegangen ist, wird euer neues Lieblingsteil in Handarbeit bei Spreadshirt bedruckt und verschickt. Die Produktion findet dabei in Deutschland und Polen statt. So können wir unnötige Überproduktionen und weite Transportwege vermeiden. Dies spart Kosten und ist nebenbei auch noch ein kleiner Beitrag zum Umweltschutz. Dieses Konzept ermöglicht es, dass auch kleine Fische wie wir, auf dem riesigen Textilmarkt ein wenig mitspielen können. Sollte euch mal etwas nicht gefallen oder die Größe nicht perfekt sein, dann habt ihr ein 30-tägiges Rückgaberecht. Entweder bekommt ihr ein Ersatzprodukt, eine Gutschrift für weitere Bestellungen oder euer Geld zurück. Nähere Infos hierzu findet ihr auch in unserem Shop auf oder auf Wenn ihr Fragen zu unserem Shop-Konzept habt, dann meldet euch gerne per DM. #spreadshirt #buildingabrand #fashion #medlife #beyourownboss #justdoit

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Here’s your pizza. What medical advice would you give us?

Sufficient exercise and a sensible diet make a lot of difference. Otherwise, it’s all about balance: integrate resting phases for body and soul into your life. It’s perfectly alright to let yourself go for a few days, if you then even things out with a few “healthy” days. That way, you actually live quite healthily— and the rest is the luck of the draw.

If you learn anything in my profession, it’s that there is no guarantee for a long life. We are all just visitors in this world and should be grateful for every day.

Hanaoka Seishu was the first known anesthesiologist. He lived in the 18th century and came from Japan! Did you know about this guy before or did you come across him during your research for your Shop?

I heard about Hanaoka Seishu while I was studying medicine. When I had the idea to make a T-shirt about him, I read up on him again again.

I’m also planning a design that will immerse me even deeper in the history of anesthesia. There are other important milestones in the history of our discipline that could find their way into Cormack & Lehane.

NLSRYD stands for “Never Let Surgeons Ruin Your Day”. Are there frequent problems between surgeons and anesthetists?

Anesthetists and surgeons work very closely together in the Operating Room. Traditionally, these are two disciplines that like to tease each other. In the end, however, it must be said that we would be relatively useless without each other. Teamwork and good communication are incredibly important.

 You opened the store in 2018 and closed it for a short time about 6 months ago. You also gave the logo an update. Can you tell us something about your logo development process?

When I opened Cormack & Lehane, I wanted to see how the whole shirt business worked. The positive response was totally overwhelming. My ideas were already quite good at the time, but the implementation was inadequate in many areas. I also made a few mistakes with the copyright in the beginning.

That’s why I took the project off the market again, returned to my desk and put every single design to the test again. That took almost half a year, but now I have a product that I can stand behind 100 percent!

I had cobbled the original logo together with a simple logo maker on my tablet. That looked quite nice, but it had nothing to do with the brand or the target group. That’s why it was clear to me that a new logo was needed for the relaunch.

So? Why do doctors on TV use a defibrillator all the time?

That’s a good question! Probably because this is a measure that seems very exciting to the general population. Unfortunately, the application of the defibrillator when the patient is in a state of asystole (cardiac arrest) is totally misrepresented in about 95% of all hospital series. This also applies to many other medical measures. For a professional this can sometimes be difficult to bear. I always ask myself why it wasn’t possible to hire a sensible medical advisor with the million-dollar budget for the film or series in question. I would definitely offer to help out!

Thank you for the interview Hendrick! We are looking forward to seeing your future designs and wish you a lot of success with them.

You can find the Cormack & Lehane shop here. Exciting updates are also available on Instagram and Facebook.

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