Archive | threadless

04 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Silver Screen Fabulations by Mikko Walamies (Mikko Terva) is a worthy winner for Threadless‘s competition with The Secret Handshake. Using a color scheme that is instantly recognizable as the red and blue of three dimensional movies, the design separates the movie experience into two parts: the red standing in for the mundane reality of the movie, and blue representing the hopes, dreams and imagination that the audience is projecting on the film. In a way, the imagery makes this seem like two shirts instead of one- and while I was skeptical about how well this would work when the design was in voting, I think the final product proves that this was a very viable visual strategy.

Yeti Hated His Size 5 Feet… by Aled Lewis (fatheed) is another addition to Threadless’s extensive yeti and bigfoot shirt collection, but the design hinges on the very nature of the yeti/bigfoot distinction so it’s an addition that makes sense. This yeti hides his small-footed deformity with some big footprint stilts, founding a legend that is now known worldwide. The artwork is clean, simple and a great fit for the white shirt.

Ketchup And Mustard by Alex Trochut is this week’s Select design. It’s a cool play on the usage of decorative text on a shirt, with Lorem Ipsum text instead of a message. It’s a very cool usage, since the words are purely decorative and still hold a bit of a hidden meaning to any designers or typesetters who see it. The style at work here is incredible, with highlights and shadowing that expertly lend dimension to the lettering.

Legend by Jimmy Tan Wei Hau shows a mechanical godzilla-like monster thundering his way through the countryside. Instead of destroying buildings he seems to be made of them, with architecture and gears mingling to form his parts. To me, this could easily be interpreted as a message about how industry can work, plowing over the resources of the natural world in a way that is reminiscent of movie monsters in its violence.

Napoleon’s Ride by Martin Krusche (MartinK.) depicts an alternate reality Napoleon who crusades with a donut flag and a freaky cartoon cat sidekick. The art itself is as high quality as the concept, with textures spicing up the piece through the fur of the cat, the waves of the flag fabric, and the speckled coat of the horse.

Corporate Ladder by Whitney Gaynor (WhitneyBeth) is a very Threadless-y idea, showing the different stages of corporate success (from janitor to head honcho) and the lengths some suits go through to advance. I fully expected to see this printed and all, but I’ve never really liked it- the grey toned colors and faceless employees bore me, and the sizes of the characters don’t seem to be in the same range (maybe they are, but it freaks my eyes out that the seated woman’s head pops over the step just as much as the Office Space stand-ins on the rung above her).

Reprinting this week: Runnin’ Rhino by Allan Faustino (alanis) and Geology by Tim Babb (timrb).

Overall, a very nice collection of shirts. The shirt color situation isn’t quite ideal- four of the six new shirts this week are in the white/silver/cream family, and I’d rather see stuff with some color.

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03 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Good Loves Threadless: My Top Three

Good Loves Threadless was a contest based around the theme Big Ideas. Three great submissions rose to the challenge.

A Lovely Afternoon - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

A Lovely Afternoon by ilovedoodle is a beautifully pared-down illustration of two gorillas- one riding a bike, and the other riding behind with a banana kite. The expressions and color scheme support the concept of a carefree spring day, giving this shirt a lot of charm and a slight fifties vibe.

The Mechanist - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

The Mechanist by Huebucket is an atmospheric drawing of a man controlled by his imagination. Ghostly hands draw, write and type as the creator seems to sleep on his desk, slumped over and giving in to creativity. I think anyone who has ever had an idea so powerful, it seems to create itself can relate to this one.

FAT PONY - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Fat Pony by mr.pimpant is a shirt I was destined to like- anything with a dude in a costume is solid gold to me. But there’s a lot more to this shirt than a costume. I love the juxtaposition of opposites, from the large creature with the small exerciser to the contrast between the intense face of the man with the blank happiness of the costume.

Overall, some really great work. I think the theme hit the right balance between vague and specific to create some really nice shirt designs.

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28 January 2008 ~ 3 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Goliath by Jared Stumpenhorst is my favorite Threadless shirt of the week. The highly textural cyclops is a great contrast with the tiny, colorful blob creatures attacking him. What really sells this for me, though, is the amazing illustrative style- I like the little touches, such as the gnarled fingers and the little tuft on the monster’s chin. The transparency of the blobs is another strength, as it gives a bit of a 3-D element to the scene.

This week’s Select is Folk Rock And Roll by Wyeth Hansen. I think it’s a great piece, using geometric forms to create the phrase “folk rock and roll.” The composition looks almost like a neon arrangement of quilting to me, which is very in keeping with the folk rock theme.

After a long absence, Type Tees are back at Threadless with I High Five Strangers by Dan Maltzman (Maltzmania). I’m not a huge slogan proponent, but even so this shirt is… not good. I don’t find the design particularly attractive, and the fact that there’s a huge hand print on it just makes me think the wearer would be in for a lot of slapping and pushing. Even in the best-case scenario, do you really want to be stuck high fiving people all day?

I Wish I Were by Ian Leino is a great concept with top-tier execution. The hope on the devil’s face is clear and appealing, with a nice texture to give the impression of hair where it is appropriate. It’s also a perfect fit for the white shirt, and benefits greatly by some of the detail elements (such as the pitchfork and hoofprints).

Hummingbird And Snake by Jamerson Lima ( is, as a girl’s shirt, really tremendous. So it’s too bad that the men’s version is on khaki, with a bastardized color palette that seems to have lost all of the charm of the original. Which is too bad, because the patterns are so fun- to me, it almost seems like the creatures are three-dimensional fabric creations.

Interloper From Beyond The Heavens by Brian Brasher (etherbrian) takes a played out t-shirt concept and makes it seem fresh. I never expected to like a Space Invaders shirt, but this one is genuinely clever. Imagine a mechanical marvel from the outer reaches of the universe, ominously descending towards earth. Then imagine it looks exactly like the aliens you spent your youth destroying in the arcades. That’s just plain funny. Plus, I always wondered what those weird little pixel shapes were supposed to represent- were they aliens or spaceships?

Victor Terrintop by Nicholas Tassone (band-it) is my second favorite this week, as I love the cool color palette and the almost collaged feel of the piece. It has a lot of pattern and texture throughout, and the holes in the trees that allow you to peek at the man behind are very nicely done. I would deem this one of the more unique shirts that Threadless has printed.

Stupid Cupid by Budi Satria Kwan (radiomode) is the first of this week’s reprints, and it is definitely timely. I’ve never really cared for it, though- too boxy, and just not funny enough to overcome that. It’s also the kind of shirt that, to me, only works in the close up- there’s nothing about it that stands out at farther distances.

The other reprint this week is a favorite of mine, The Madness of Mission 6 by Travis Pitts (travis76). It’s a gorgeous piece, resembling the cover of the best seventies-era sci-fi you’ve never read. But if you look a little closer, it’s more than that. See the helmet on that cosmonaut? And the particular colors of the ghost? Maybe those little pills ring a bell… Oh hell, it’s a Pac Man shirt. The greatest pac man shirt of all time!

Overall, a pretty nice week of shirts- there are a few in there that I’m definitely itching to buy.

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23 January 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Professional-Caliber Submission Images with T-Shirt Textures

T-shirt design contests can be a tough gig- even the best illustration might not speak to the voters unless your submission presentation is just right. And one of the keys to hitting that sweet spot with the voters is to set up an image that accurately represents what your design will look like on a shirt.

There are two major ways to accomplish this: 1) Show the design on a photograph of an actual person, and 2) Use a t-shirt texture to show a close up of how your design will look on a shirt when printed.

Until recently, only really serious designers bothered to use a texture- it can be a hassle to create those, as you have to scan or photograph an actual shirt in just the right lighting conditions. But now Manos, a top Threadless designer, has benevolently provided the community with accurately colored t-shirt textures for all the colors that Threadless offers.

Expect to see a lot of improved t-shirt submission images in the near future as word of this gets out!

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21 January 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

We Are Just Pixels After All by Malo Tocquer (shkmalo) is my Threadless pick of the week. This design does one of my favorite things- it works differently from different viewing distances. From afar, a nice world map. But close up, and the map explodes into a series of unique pixel drawings. Very neat, and a great one color print. The choice of printing this as a huge side print kicks things up another notch.

ABCs by Aaron Hogg (hogboy) uses the style of a fifties-era children’s book to tell a different kind of story- A and B tell of the good things in life, but C tells of danger. A giant dinosaur, with subtle texture and a pleasant grin, chomps happily on the boy, whose hat flutters uselessly to the ground. What makes this shirt really shine for me is the attention to detail- you can see the apple from A held in the background of B, where the boy chases the ball… right into the dinosaur’s path.

Torso by Matthew Curry is this week’s Select design. It’s an artistic riff on the structure of the torso, with a cool color scheme and a neat, collaged look. Because of how many differently treated elements there are in the composition, it’s a piece that allows you to discover something new every time you look. And it comes with a matching poster, which cracks me up (I’ve never quite grasped the concept of owning the same art in two formats).

I hate Darwin Kick by Ibrahim Dilek. I know that sounds awful, but there’s just a lot here that doesn’t work for me. I hate evolution silhouettes in general, as most sizable t-shirt places have multiple designs using them. And this is just not that clever- the idea of evolution silhouettes interacting has been done, as has the idea of the evolution line ending in violence. It’s tired, and this isn’t even a particularly well-done rendition- I have no idea what’s going on with the kicked fellow’s head, but something is definitely not right.

A Salt And Battery by Emery Greer (TollFree) is a pun shirt, as everyone can plainly see. It is not a particularly attractive shirt (it is a damn salt shaker and battery, so you can’t expect much), so the value of this shirt lies entirely in how funny you find this pun. It is too bad, then, that this isn’t that funny. Here is how a conversation about this shirt would go. “What’s on your shirt?” “A salt and battery.” “Oh.” “You see, there’s a pun…” “No, I get it.” The end, I hope you have enjoyed this play.

Arctic Spa by Matthijs Smit (mtths) is a very funny idea, depicting the arctic spa where polar bears, penguins and eskimos go to chill in an ice cube tray. But while this is a funny idea, it’s not a great shirt. The shape on the shirt is awkward, and overall it reads like an illustration intended for another medium and the repurposed on a shirt without any editing.

Penguins Are My Home by Michael Valadares Ferreira (Bisparulz) shows an eskimo who has literally built a home out of penguins. Surely the most adorable home in that frigid zip code, it also features an icicle antenna. The shading is excellent, making this piece stand ou even among the artist’s other great work.

Freedom Call by Ana Paula Caldas is one of this week’s reprints, and it’s the kind of work that Threadless doesn’t really print much these days. It uses vector objects (some of which, frankly, look like they’re right out of a generic vector pack) to illustrate the concept of the woman being propelled upward. It’s also the kind of work you can get at any number of shirt sites specializing in this type of vector work, so it’s an odd reprint choice for me.

Advisors by Rula Ali (Topper Harley) is a reprint that makes more sense- it’s the best rendition of the theme (an angel and a devil on each shoulder) I’ve ever seen, and it’s the type of shirt that people associate with the Threadless brand. I enjoy the spareness of the illustration- a whole lot gets accomplished with just three colors.

Overall, a pretty typical week. A couple of good shirts and a few truly baffling choices (two penguin designs on light shirts in one week- and right at the tail end of winter?). Here’s to hoping that some cool printing techniques start to roll out in the next few weeks…

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19 January 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Cranium Loves Threadless: Top Three

The Cranium Loves Threadless contest had one of the most open-ended themes I’ve ever seen for one of these: Wow! And some people really capitalized on that freedom to create some unique and interesting shirts.

No More Grey Matter - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

No More Grey Matter by paperball is a buffet of color and cartoon, with strange creatures transforming into other visual elements. At the very bottom of the design, almost lost in all the chaos, is the tiny brain that all these ideas sprung from.

Smoking Kills - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Another favorite of mine is Smoking Kills by eskimokiss. The look of it is complex- a smoking hand pedals a unicycle, with the smokecloud manipulating a raincloud that overflows a bucket. The smokecloud and bucket overflow spell out the shirt’s message. It’s a funny image, and the unique color palette puts this squarely in the top tier of message shirts- though truthfully, I think it would work even better if worn ironically.

Creature Convention - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Creature Convention by secretly robots is so perfectly suited to this contest that I would be genuinely shocked if it didn’t win. As a shirt with pictures of colorful, smiling monsters, it works pretty well. But this shirt is more than that- it also creates a message when folded, with the monsters spelling out Wow!, the competition’s theme.

The upper echelons of this contest included some really fantastic work, though a lot of people struggled with the vague theme. There will almost definitely be a great winner, though I think a more concrete theme might have resulted in more successful shirt designs overall.

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16 January 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Rob and Big Loves Threadless

OK, confession time: I am a huge fan of the show Rob & Big. The size difference between those guys would have me laughing regardless of the other content, and I am a damn sucker for miniature horses as well so this show has pegged me perfectly.

So I’m pleased as punch that they’ve teamed up with one of my favorite t-shirt stores to create the Rob & Big Loves Threadless competition. In this contest, designers are charged with creating a shirt that explores the theme “Let Me Tell You About My Best Friend,” certainly a theme that’s ripe with potential.

Enter before February 15th, 2008 for your shot at the prize package, which includes (in addition to the customary $2,000 cash and $500 gift certificate) an XBox 360 Console with the Rock Band Bundle, a signed DC Board, Rob & Big DVDs, Wonder Showzen Limited Edition Lunchbox DVD package, and the oh so alluring promise of more prizes to come.

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