July 4th, 2009. I was one sweaty, tired, average runner following the annual Peachtree Roadrace, the largest 10k race in the U.S. While making my way through the crowd I saw a guy with an interesting tattoo on his shoulder that gave me an idea:
What if I designed an Ichthus (Jesus fish) by stylizing the Greek letters of the word? What if I could design it in a way that encouraged a conversation? Like…
“Hey, that’s cool. What is it?”
“It’s an Ichthus.” That’s the Greek word for fish.”
“Kinda looks like one of those Jesus fish.”
“Yeah, it is. In Roman times, persecuted Christians used the fish as a symbol of their faith. The letters i-ch-th-u-s were code for: Jesus Christ. God’s Son. Savior.”
If you’re wondering how they got all that out of the word for fish, this visual explanation on my twitter profile will help.
The actual Greek spelling of ichthus using capital letters looks like this: Ι Χ Θ Υ Σ. Here you can see my first pencil drawing on a sticky note imagining these letters in the shape of a fish.
Tattoo or T-shirt?
I’m not tattooed, but I did think about turning this into a tattoo for a while.
It might have been cool, but I didn’t. Instead, I printed up a few t-shirts.
I wore this dry-fit shirt for the 2010 Silver Comet 10k. My friend, Justin Dean (that’s his son, Dylan, at the bottom of the page) helped me get connected with a company that prints and ships apparel and gifts (including American Apparel) via our own website, www.widepond.com, where anyone can create their own shirts, bags, hats, baby onesies, umbrellas, etc. and wear what they believe.
We also have a Widepond Facebook page where we announce discounts and coupons from time to time.
3 thoughts on “The Jesus Fish”
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I was looking at tattoos while on deployment and was on the web searching. I didn’t know what I wanted when I stubbled across your design. I loved it. I have yet to get a tattoo, but if I did it would be like this or similar to it. I think it would make a pretty cool bumper sticker too. Ichthus has multiple meanings for me. not only the original but I love the outdoors and especially fishing. I think it is a cool way to have people ask questions and be able to describe to them the symbol and letters meanings. Thanks for this article.
Thanks, Jacob. It is a cool conversation starter. You get to answer “What is that?” with, “It’s a statement of what I believe: Jesus Christ is God’s Son, our Savior.” If you get a tattoo, would you send me a picture? Thanks.
(note: widepond.com has been shut down so you can’t get a t-shirt there.)
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