Whale of a Time by Christopher Phillips (cpdesign) is my favorite design this week because it’s such a fun and playful take on the animal. The main thrust of the humor is twofold, lying both in the unlikeliness of an animal so large being able to be stacked and in the novel use of the whale’s spouting. This arrangement makes the massive creatures seem acrobatic and creative, like a fun-loving crew of misfits. I like that each whale is a different type (culminating with the two flipping killer whales at the very top) and that each whale’s unique physical features are clear in the simplified lines of the art. The design’s smartest moment, though, might be one of the smallest- that tiny human scuba diver at the bottom, providing scale and adding to the humor by providing a self-insert for the viewer. It makes you imagine yourself stumbling upon something this incredible.
New World by Dianne Delahunty (digsy) won Threadless’s Retrofuturism contest, and it’s a great pick. It’s a very optimistic design, showing a small family watching a rocket launch from an alien landscape, surrounded by a futuristic city. I love this image because it tells you so much in a glance- we know this planet is a safe, beautiful place because we see a family walking in a deep canyon. We also can tell a lot of people live here, because clean, modern buildings scatter across the tops of those cliffs. And because of the rocket and multiple planets visible in the sky, we can see that in this future there are a lot of worlds to visit and explore. Text at the bottom reinforces the message with a vacation slogan. It’s a great piece because you see the art and want to go there, to live in those buildings, see that exotic land, and find out where that rocket is headed.
Not Today Satan by Kelly Larson (Kellabell9) is a tattoo-style take on a popular saying. Contrast is the source of most of the humor for me, because while tattoos in this style are often associated with bikers and badasses, the slogan is most commonly uttered by little old ladies. The gag is further enhanced by the cheerfulness of the art, because the heart, flowers and smiling sparrows all look very upbeat while the words point towards a bleaker reality. Strong work overall, and I think the phrase is pretty popular on its own as well so this design should find a lot of takers.
I Lava You by ilovedoodle (ilovedoodle.com) is a pun design that really goes the extra mile. While many creators might have stopped at the pun, this piece becomes much more charming because it also includes the innovation of the heart-shaped lava explosion and a second volcano reacting to the display. Both these inclusions reframe the volcano’s eruption as a declaration of love, something very positive and pure in contrast to the destruction usually seen. That contrast between reality and the illustration really works to enhance the joke set out by the wordplay.
CAMP! by Brent Schoepf (wowrainbows) is a minimal design printed in a way that is equally understated, as a small emblem in the pocket position. There’s a real sense of peace to this design because of the even, regular size and spacing of lines, and it works well with the theme because that sense of calm is part of what many people appreciate about nature. But what really makes the art special is that there’s a lot of charm and fun as well, because although the sun image is simple in form, it’s packed with character. Round cheeks make it seem to glow with joy, and the choice to use that one curved line to suggest and eyebrow and nose leaves the face seeming very unique despite its basic elements. Very strong stuff.
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).