Campfire Stories by Timothy Premack (MackStudios) won Threadless’s Camping challenge, and it’s an excellent choice. I love the way the warmth of that bright orange fire draws the eye in, much as fires make people want to gather around them as darkness settles in. And the heart in the center of it all reflects that feeling of warmth, too, making you think about the feelings you have when a good campfire story is being told (instead of just thinking about the words or the subject matter of them). The typography is well-chosen for its task, with a ranch-style all-caps look that has reminders of rustic branding irons paired with a loose, painterly script that oozes like spires of smoke. It all combines for something that feels hand-crafted and reminds viewers of a near-universal (yet still very personal) experience.
Neko Takarabune by William Chua (xiaobaosg) sends cats to sea in their own tremendous (and well-crafted) ship. I’m fairly certain this is actually a parody of the anime series One Piece, based on the straw-hatted skull and crossbones that graces the boat’s sail. Since I’ve only seen a single episode of that show I can’t speak to how well this design works for fans, but the good news is that even without knowing who the characters are meant to resemble, this piece is a ton of fun. The costumes and expressions make it feel like there’s a really diverse group of kittens having a great time, and it’s neat to search through them trying to find a favorite. I also like the style of the water, which feels like a callback to the famous print The Great Wave.
Css Animals: Sloth by Florent Bodart (speakerine) is kind of an interesting piece, because at first glance it’s just a nice colored pencil drawing of a sloth. Below the illustration, more context is added with some italic text that calls out a description of the animal, written in the style of some CSS code. So there’s a bit of a style mismatch between the components, although ultimately it works because we’re so used to seeing text captions below drawings. For me, it’s much more the sun-soaked colors and soft lines of the sloth that make this a design worth wearing, though those who work with CSS regularly might find the humor more of an incentive.
Enjoy the Coffee(n) by Tantan Warsita (maxdx) is a slick bit of visual humor with two punchlines. First is the idea of coffee so strong it could wake the dead, something any caffeine fiend can easily appreciate. And layered on that is this awesome visual gag of the skeleton lacking organs, which allows the coffee he sips to splash right out from his rib cage. My favorite bit is the way the skeleton is made to look a bit proper, because he’s not just drinking the coffee out of a mug, he’s also daintily holding a saucer underneath to make sure he doesn’t miss a single drop. Scattered mugs and large coffee beans litter the floor of the coffin, a choice I could take or leave although it does do its job of making sure no one mistakes the drink for anything but coffee.
A Cliff’s End by andremullerDKO (andrefmuller) won Threadless’s Uncharted 4 challenge, and it’s a lovely pick. For starters, I really appreciate the way the cartoon style of the shirt plays with themes from the game series, but doesn’t bind itself to the game’s own visual style. Taking things in a more comic direction lets the artist enhance the feeling of action and danger present in the scene, with literal skulls and bones trailing their jeep and Drake almost falling out of the car as he desperately grasps the steering wheel. Plus, the yellow to red gradient in the background (and the slight hint of palm trees) set just the right tropical tone for a treasure hunting adventure.