Banana Vert Ramps by ben chen (ben chen) is my favorite design this week, a charming mix of cartoon and realism. I love that it appears to use a photo of an actual banana, something that grounds the art in reality and makes it feel even more surreal. The gorilla skater is illustrated with heavy shadows that give him the illusion of three dimensions as well, and it’s easy to imagine he’s an animated character about to perform an epic trick. But what I like best about the design isn’t the execution, it’s the idea itself- this is the sort of joke that forever changes what you think of when you see a banana, and that’s pretty neat.
Lazy Sunday by Jay Fleck (DontCallMeBlanket) makes excellent use of negative space, using the pale tones of the t-shirt color to create the trees and white spots of pandas. A textured, watercolor-like blue fills the background circle, giving the scene a bright, tranquil feel. Small red leaves provide a bright pop of color and help move the eye around the artwork. But the heart and soul of the piece is definitely in the unique personalities of the pandas, each of whom interacts with the tree in different ways. One is about to fall, some contemplate leaves, others are a perfect picture of relaxation. But they’re each charming and very easy to relate to. This is one of those designs that I think has near-universal appeal.
Space Art by Florent Bodart (speakerine) gives a different take on the splatter-y look of a galaxy by adding an astronaut with a spray can. The visual comparison makes a lot of sense, and yet I find myself wishing the illustration had been tightened up a bit before printing. Specifically, the astronaut feels awkward to me in both his positioning and his proportions- it almost feels like he’s wearing a circuit board strapped over a baggy onesie, strangely thick at the thighs. Still, the idea is strong enough that I doubt many customers will mind.
Logic by Nate Christenson (natechristenson) combines a great man of history with a great man of pop culture, and it’s pretty effective. I think what works about it is that appeals to logic are often pretty harsh (particularly on the internet), and characterized by troll-like comments endorsing extreme economic survival of the fittest and the like. But this shirt design is evidence of something that feels truer, that being logical doesn’t mean being a robot who acts in opposition of emotion, it can come from a place of honesty and kindness as well. Plus, the art really nails the combo by transforming Abe’s eyebrows and ear- it’s subtle, but still enough to make a big difference.
GOOD JORB! by Perry Beane (BeanePod) appeals to me because of its raw enthusiasm. With the big grin, thumbs up, rainbow and stars, it reminds me of glittery stickers, like the kind you hope to earn by getting quiz answers correct in elementary school. But there’s something delightfully offbeat about this one, both because of the strange yeti character and the misspelled or vernacular Good Jorb text- it almost feels like this is a sticker from another country or a parallel universe, using visual language very close to ours but not quite getting it right. Very fun!
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn 20% royalties based on net profit (paid monthly) and a $250 Threadless Gift Certificate.