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Welcome to Compete-tee-tion! This site tracks all the biggest news in the t-shirt design competition world, from reviews of new releases to information on new contest opportunities.

09 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s Retrofuturism and Navigational Elements collections

shirt.woot retrofuturism

Shirt.Woot took a trip deep into the science fiction of the past with their Retrofuturism plus sale. The future is reflected in a bunch of different ways, from robots to cats, but here are the designs that caught my eye:

Best of the Bunch: Uranus is the Future packs in an impressive number of punchlines!

Nicest Surprise: Welcome to the Future‘s vision of a cat takeover is done with a fun retro style, and the human skeleton in the foreground is a great touch.

Shirt I Am Most Biased About: My design The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be uses some vintage signage style to convey the theme of its slogan.

This promotion will only last until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. So if there’s something you like, grab it fast!

shirt.woot navigational elements

Artists took a lot of different approaches to the Navigational Elements theme as well (including the expected Star Wars references). But out of the whole group, these are the designs that stood out to me:

Best of the Bunch: Direct to Cookies kept things simple, but extremely wearable.

Nicest Surprise: I love the detail of the fish and water in the helmet of the spacefaring cat in Off to the Mewn.

This promotion will only last until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. So if there’s something you like, grab it fast!

08 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Misheard Lyrics design contest

threadless misheard lyrics

Listen up, Threadless‘s latest themed design contest is all about Misheard Lyrics! Here’s what they’re looking for:

It’s happens all the time. You’re in the car, belting out your new favorite song with your friends and suddenly, one very well-meaning co-karaoker blurts out a nonsensical combination of words that are most certainly not the proper lyrics. Not even close. Cue uproarious laughter.

“Excuse me while I kiss this guy”? Not quite. “There’s a bathroom on the right.” That could very well be true but those aren’t the words to the song.

Your challenge is to celebrate these “alternate lyrics” by submitting a design. Use your finest typography to illustrate hilarious musical missteps or even represent the classic ones with images.

Enter before February 26th, 2016 for your chance to win. One winner will earn $1000 cash and a $500 Threadless gift code. Additionally, all designers printed will earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

07 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Out and more new this week

threadless out

Out by Zhao Xiang (micronisus) is my favorite shirt this week, in part because its surreal theme, low color count and crisp vectors remind me of the style seen often in early Threadless shirts. But even without the benefit of t-shirt nostalgia, this is a very fun piece. I like the way it transforms the guard’s familiar helmet into a birdcage, playing off both the curved shape of the hat and its leafy texture. It’s the kind of juxtaposition that is likely to have you imagining a bird trapped in there the next time you see this kind of helmet in the wild. Smart art choices, like applying a light texture to the ink and using bright white to highlight the bird, help to push the concept even further and make it more successful. One detail I love is the way the guard’s eyes are almost hidden under his hat- it’s a neat hint that although you, the viewer, can see the bird, he has no idea it’s there.

threadless goodnightthreadless choix

Goodnight by Danmir Mercado (dampa) tucks a realistic nature scene into the silhouette of a guitar. There’s a nice relationship between the natural sound of the acoustic guitar and these pristine surroundings, even down to the slightly old-fashioned feeling of the black and white artwork. What’s most interesting to me, though, is the choice to keep the guitar upright rather than laying on its side. I think most artists might have chosen the horizontal option because it keeps the focal point of the art higher on the shirt, making it feel more flattering to the wearer. But there’s definitely something to be said for this choice as well, which allows the artist to really emphasize the height of those white mountains, and transforms the guitar’s neck into an endless sky.

Choix by Mathiole (mathiole) won Threadless’s Avant Garde challenge, and it definitely represents the theme well. What I like about this one is the way it takes a bunch of unrelated elements, forms and art styles and somehow makes them all flow together. There’s great movement in the banner that floats around the piece, and it helps to direct the eye from one section to the next. Shades of orange wrap around blue at the center, gently pulling attention to the character. The juxtapositions of elements are imaginative, making leaves feel like adornments and photographs appear to fade into illustrations. This complex, interesting mass becomes even more layered with the addition of thin, white doodles. Most are abstract, like lines, dots and shapes, but just below the character’s face a doodled hand waves. It’s such a playful touch, a rare moment where it feels like the artist is directly communicating with the viewer.

threadless one impossible ringthreadless bananda

One Impossible Ring by Rodrigo Leonardo Batista Ferreira (rodrigobhz) brings a famous optical illusion into the world of Lord of the Rings, and it’s a pairing that really works. What’s great about this mix is that the ring is such a strange, powerful object- it makes perfect sense to represent it in a way where it can’t possibly be real. It imbues the ring with a real ambiance of wonder. Because the ring’s form is being tweaked in such a strong way, though, the artist would usually run the risk of having the ring’s LoTR provenance becoming unrecognizable. But clearly that possibility was anticipated, because a subtle map is tucked away in the background. It’s a smart way to give the ring an environment to exist in while forging a stronger connection to the parodied material at the same time.

Ban&a by Brent Schoepf (wowrainbows) was only just barely edged out as my favorite design this week. By keeping things simple, this design is made to feel really iconic. I like that although there is a pun involved, not much emphasis is put on that in the artwork- it’s all about the visual joke of seeing the banana’s familiar shape twisted in this totally unexpected way. The punning stays subtle, only called out in the small lettering on the banana’s blue sticker. Shading is another area this design does really well, taking inspiration from the spots of a banana and using that same texture (only more tightly packed) to call out edges and shadows on the fruit’s curving form.

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).

06 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #518: The ’90s

shirt.woot logo

Shirt.Woot is taking a quick trip in their time machine for the newest derby theme…

Starting Monday at noon: Derby #518: The ’90s

Design a tee with a ’90s motif. Could be color, theme, design style. No cream tees.

This derby begins Monday at noon and continues through Thursday at noon. The top three vote-getters will each earn $1000 and $2 per item sold after the first day of sales. Those winners will be sold on Friday (1st), Saturday (2nd), and Sunday (3rd). Additionally, other designs may be selected for a Plus sale on the following Monday, with each selected design earning $2 per item sold.


The current derby theme is interesting, because even Shirt.Woot itself doesn’t seem too sure of what it is- in some places the theme is listed as Abstract Expressionism, while in others it’s Abstract Impressionism. Whatever the intended theme is, though, the result is a fun group of art-y entries that serves as a nice break from the usual pop culture infusion. Here are two designs I’m especially enjoying this week:

shirt.woot up is downshirt.woot you made me ink

Up Is Down by werewolfskippy has a crazy, psychedelic vibe that you almost never see in the derby, and I like the soft, refreshing color palette.

You Made Me Ink! by wearviral took a neat approach to the theme by combining the abstract impressionism of the background with a cartoon character.

This derby continues through Monday at noon. The top three vote-getters will each earn $200 cash and $2 per item sold. Additionally, other designs will be selected and sold for $2 per item each. Both top vote-getters and selected designs will be sold in a future Plus sale.

05 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s April Fools design contest

threadless april fools

Threadless‘s annual tradition of weird shirts for April Fools is kicking off this week with a themed design contest! Here’s what they’re looking for:

Just in time for our favorite kind-of-holiday-but-maybe-not of the year, we’re launching the Photoshop challenge to end all Photoshop challenges.

Submit a photo/mixed media design that’s so bizarre, you’d only wear it on April Fools’ Day. Go crazy with rainbows, majestic beasts or impossibly colored skies. Show us burgers as people or people as burgers. Consider the magical possibilities of all-over sublimation printing or bring absurdity to simple line drawings. Anything goes! This is your chance to be super strange.

Remember: The winning design will go up for sale. Don’t use any copyrighted images and make sure they are high enough resolution for printing!

P.S. Put the pedal to the proverbial metal. This challenge only lasts one week!

Enter before February 12th, 2015 for your chance to win. The winner will earn $500 cash and a $250 Threadless gift code. Additionally, all designers printed will earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

04 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

WeLoveFine’s Mass Effect winners

welovefine silhouara

WeLoveFine’s Mass Effect design contest winners have been announced, but I think that ThinkGeek selected the best of the bunch with their exclusive pick of Silhouara by Guilherme Meier. What’s smart about this design is that it highlights the shape of one of the series’s most unique and memorable alien types, the Asari. Even better, it uses that trademark flowing shape of the alien’s head to help direct the action within the silhouette, with the reapers gliding along similar angles. The cool sci-fi style of the buildings and structures seen throughout the game are also represented well. With those elements coming together, this is a design that should instantly resonate with anyone who played and enjoyed the series.

Check out all the Mass Effect design contest winners at WeLoveFine.

03 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #517: Abstract Impressionism

shirt.woot logo

This week, Shirt.Woot shines some light on an art style not commonly seen in the derby…

Starting Thursday at noon: Derby #517: Abstract Impressionism

Design an abstract tee – no pop culture

This derby begins Thursday at noon and continues through Monday at noon. The top three vote-getters will each earn $200 cash and $2 per item sold. Additionally, other designs will be selected and sold for $2 per item each. Both top vote-getters and selected designs will be sold in a future Plus sale.


Another style derby is currently underway, with artists unleashing their best attempts at Retrofuturism. One of the neatest things about this contest is all the different directions the theme was taken in, but here are two current underdog entries that especially stood out to me:

shirt.woot they're coming for youshirt.woot retro-owls

They’re Coming For You by thatquietgir1 is a perfect implementation of that 60s, geometric style and uses harsh angles to create a scene that feels genuinely alien and mysterious.

Retro-Owls by artguyaaron was the only entry this week to pursue the stylistic approach that Woot offered as an option, and in my opinion this cheerful owl print is both fun and one of the most wearable pieces in the contest.

This derby continues through Thursday at noon. The top three vote-getters will each earn $1000 and $2 per item sold after the first day of sales. Those winners will be sold on Friday (1st), Saturday (2nd), and Sunday (3rd). Additionally, other designs may be selected for a Plus sale on the following Monday, with each selected design earning $2 per item sold.