Emerson students Nick Reynolds and Chris Dobens were on their way to the Boston Marathon when they heard the news two bombs exploded at the finish line. Feeling helpless, they decided to design a T-shirt with two bold-lettered words—”Boston Strong”—emblazoned in gold, contrasting the cotton’s royal blue hue.
On Tuesday, Reynolds and Dobens will be meeting with the founders of their printing partner, Ink to the People, to hand the donation over, and they have asked the community to come celebrate by participating in a Boston Strong photo shoot.
Tomorrow, at 6 p.m. in Copley Square, supporters will start pouring in, in their Boston Strong threads to participate in the “Biggest ‘Boston Strong’ Photo,” inspired by the deluge of photo submissions Reynolds and Dobens have received since creating the T-shirts. After the photo is taken, the two are encouraging participants to visit the Marathon memorial across the street “and reflect on the attack that shook our city almost two months ago.”
“We just wanted to give everyone a way to celebrate the community spirit together,” said Reynolds to Boston Magazine. “We wanted to do one big picture, and see how many people will show up.”
When coming up with the mantra, Reynolds and Dobens were toying with short and simple catchphrases, such as “Livestrong” and “Army Strong,” that would resonate.
“Boston Strong really emerged as a simple, effective way of what we wanted to say without being too specific,” Reynolds told Emerson Today. “We wanted something everyone could rally behind.”
The phrase has since been splayed on hats, ribbons and wristbands, and was pointed to during Emerson’s undergraduate commencement ceremony.
“What vision,” said Max Mutchnick, co-creator of “Will & Grace,” during his keynote speech. “Emerson students used skill sets most likely learned in college to start healing this city. They were able to create Boston Strong because they’re Emerson Strong.”
Following tomorrow’s photo shoot, the duo will shift their focus to publishing a book titled “Boston Strong” with the help of a Harvard student. The commemorative tale will feature photos, stories and quotes to honor the victims of the attacks, and all proceeds will be donated to charity.
For a look at what you might see inside the book, check out some of the Boston Strong photos the two have received via Facebook below.