Archive | threadless

08 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Tip: Show Your Shirt Designs on a Real Tee

It’s pretty much a proven fact that showing your shirt designs on an actual person will improve your scores in any contest where voting is involved. It makes it easier for voters (your potential customer base) to image themselves wearing your t-shirt. Plus, you can avoid the ugliness of most company-provided templates.

viralVISUAL, a Threadless member, has set up a guide on how you can quickly and easily switch the shirt color on an image- making it easy for designers to accurately represent what their shirt will look like when it is ultimately produced.

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06 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Wow, there’s a lot of new happening at Threadless this week- for starters, they’ve vastly increased the tools that artists get to play with. Starting now, all artists will now have the option of using the printing options available to Select artists, including specialty inks, embroidery and band printing. The color limit has also been upped to 8 colors. This news is pretty obviously a reaction to the options offered by Design By Humans, but regardless of why these options are being offered they’re certainly welcome. I’m curious to see how these new processes will affect pricing.

The winning design for the Cornelius Loves Threadless competition was a great choice: Splash of Senses by Yoshi Andrian Amtha. Everything in this one looks liquid and moving- it looks like a visual representation of synesthesia. It’s too bad this was printed before the floodgate of printing options opened up, because I think it would be even stronger with a textural or gloss ink in the mix.

Me vs. Me by Scott Rench is the Select this week. I’m a huge fan- the roughness of the hands is so expressive, and it contrasts nicely with solidness of the face. I’m very drawn to the pull down menu representing the mouth because it gives the sense that the figure has a lot to say, even though the menu defaults to blank. There’s a lot of depth in this one.

I’m sorry to say that Tree by Dan Rule (danrule) is my biggest disappointment of the week. I loved it in scoring, when the roots were on the back across the shoulders and the tree loomed large on the shirt, but in its current state there’s not a lot to set this apart from other tree shirts. It’s a gorgeous image, but to me that isn’t always enough- particularly when so many similarly attractive shirts already exist.

I had the opposite experience with Music Snob by Spencer Fruhling. While I’m still not crazy about this as a shirt, it makes a really nice zippered hoody. And even though I still have doubts about the text being very visible to passers-by, it’s a nice treat for the wearer, at least- among the styles advertised on the cassette spines are such genres as Gangsta Lounge, Garage Opera and Children’s Hardcore.

Cow Puzzle by Louis Crevier (Presse) is a cool concept. A puzzle showing where meats come from in a cow would be pretty neat, if it doesn’t already exist. But I’m not quite sure why this is a shirt- it just seems like the wrong medium to me. Make a puzzle if you want to show a puzzle, you know?

Down with Capitalism by Jaco Haasbroek has a style that sets the perfect tone for the concept. From the tiny facial features on the letters to the gravelly ground, the design conspires to make the lowercase letters look as small and as vulnerable as possible. I have a lot of sympathy for those little guys. Another nice touch is that the word “capitalism” is the only place on the shirt to use capital letters.

Okay, let’s talk about What Would Macgyver Do? by Glenn Jones (Glennz). This is probably the second most ripped off design at Threadless (first being Flowers in the Attic), which means there’s a pretty big audience that wants the shirt but has been unable to buy it legitimately. But for all its popularity, this is my least favorite type of Threadless shirt- focused more on text than on art, relying on a pop culture reference, and overall similar to the type of shirt you can see in a hundred other online t-shirt stores. A lot of people will be glad to see a reprint on this one, but I’m not among them.

Pillow Fight by Fiona Lee (fOi) is this weeks other reprint. I actually like the idea and design and all, it just seems like this shirt is constantly being printed. Maybe I’m hallucinating, but how long was this even out of print for? I’m thinking a year, tops. Regardless of demand, there has got to be something a little less recent worth reprinting. I mean, could the girls/guys color schemes at least have been flipped this time?

Overall, the selection this week is pretty solid, but not spectacular. More than anything else, I’m looking forward to future weeks when those new printing options hit the shelves.

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29 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

In addition to a new crop of shirts, Threadless has also unveiled a new front page design. I’m really into it, as it does a nice job of promoting the community aspect of Threadless in addition to the shirts. Plus, the addition of the $10 Thriftee bargain is great- one shirt at a time will be offered for $10 until it sells out, then another shirt gets that billing. Pretty awesome!

BEarth by Steven Lefcourt (Ste7en) is totally gorgeous. It stands out from most Threadless shirts because there’s no overt pun, nothing with a face on it, and there’s no pop culture reference. Just beautiful art with some depth. I’m very excited that this is being offered in zip-up hoody form, because it’s a great fit for that format. Definitely a worthy winner of the Mae competition.

My other favorite this week has got to be Halt! Who Goes There? by Steven E. Hughes (castle). It’s a neat concept (and pretty accurate to the way children play with cardboard boxes), but the execution is what makes this design such a winner. From the fur on the dog to the folds of a shirt, textures enhance the mood of the piece. The shadowing is also done well and serves to anchor the art to the shirt. But my favorite part is the angle of the artwork- it really invites the eye into the cardboard box. So cool.

This week’s Select is Preparing for the Goblin Fire by Chris Pottinger. I like the drawing, it does a nice job of being disgusting and cute at the same time. But, as I’ve said about past Select designs, I wish it took the t-shirt medium further. Why not use a puff or gloss ink on the boils? Why not use a less typical shirt placement? Design By Humans has shirts with interesting printing techniques almost every day of the week, and I think Select designs should be more up for that challenge. Why not take the opportunity to experiment?

Delivery by Jean-sébastien Deheeger (nes-k) is about the plight of a stork. This will probably sell out quickly, which does nothing to change the fact that I don’t care for it. As a concept, this kind of thing just seems very overdone to me. I’m completely fed up with detail-free vector creatures and their constant single bead of sweat.

Children Under the Bed by Meg Park (MegP) is in the same category as Delivery for me. Even though it is being printed for the first time today, I feel like I’ve seen it a million times. It is well done, don’t get me wrong. It’s just hard for me to conceive that there wasn’t something a little more innovative that might have been a better choice for a print.

More Reasons Not to Go Camping by Chris Thornley (Raid71) is completely amazing. The linework conveys a multitude of textures and the splashes of red add a nuance of aggression to the piece. The only thing that kept this from being my favorite of the week is the color scheme- I preferred the blue on brown color option, and I’m pretty tough to please when it comes to natural and cream colored shirts. Still, I’d love to see a third set of reasons not to go camping, because these shirts are solid gold.

Ambition Killed the Cat by Neil Gregory (NGee) is the first reprint of the week, and I’m not really a fan of it. It’s just not my sense of humor, I guess- seems a bit obvious and (even worse) visually uninteresting.

On the other hand, I quite like Best Mime Ever by John Schwegel (fizzgig). My usual complaint about how I would prefer if they switched up the color scheme for each printing still applies, but the image itself is solid.

Overall, a pretty nice week for Threadless. I vastly prefer this week’s selection to the past two weeks’, so I’m hoping things are on the upswing.

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27 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

The Comebacks Loves Threadless: Top Three

Now that the Loves Threadless contest for The Comebacks has passed the submission deadline, it is time to take a look at my top three picks for the winner:

I'll Pass - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Kolb’s I’ll Pass is easy to relate to, as I think even accomplished athletes have taken a minute here and there to just enjoy their surroundings. I love the sweetness of the image, and the drawing style just amplifies it. I think this is the front-runner in the competition, and I’d be more than happy to see a win for this one.

intimidation - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Katiecampbell’s Intimidation is great for totally different reasons. I love the way two styles combine in this design- it reminds me of how animals arch their backs and raise their fur to threaten predators. Except, you know, hilarious. I think the sign of how great this concept works is that I can perfectly image what those football players actually look like- even though they’re barely visible.

The Visiting Team - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

I’m pretty fond of Edword’s The Visiting Team, as well. Perhaps, given the current climate in the sporting world, the next generation of athletes really will be robots and lizards the size of buildings (steroids have side effects, right?). There are some other cool elements at play, too, such as the strong diagonal of the image (very visually pleasing) and the fact that the monsters play on even in the face of a destroyed city. Quitters never win, and these dudes are winners.

While I think the top tier of the Comebacks Love Threadless contest are pretty solid, overall this wasn’t a great competition. I think the combination of a terrible theme (Keep Your Eye On the Ball) and the sports focus didn’t do much to inspire the designers this time. So, while I have high hopes for a cool winner on this one, at the same time I never want to see another eyeball playing sports, ever.

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22 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless


My favorite shirt at Threadless this week is unquestionably New World Order by Tony Aguero. The robot conquering the city collage is really fresh and the color palette is on point. The design works at several distances, which makes it a great fit for the shirt medium (I like the text that’s visible in closeup, and the overall form looks wicked from far away as well). It’s overcoming the handicap of a cream colored shirt quite well, and I’d consider a buy on this one.


The Gmail Loves Threadless winner was also announced this week: Hello, Dave by Robert Gould. I’ll be honest, this was not a favorite of mine. Since Google is such a computery thing, I would have preferred a winner that went in a less technological direction with the “Connect” theme. Still, the illustration is well done, the color scheme is nice, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-looking shirt with a giant old school computer on it. So if that’s your thing, have at it.


The Future Is Feeling by Neil Doshi is the Select for this week. There’s a lot to like: the front and back of the head are on the front and back of the shirt (awesome!), there are neat textures in the hair (whee!), and it even comes with a free headband (hooray!). But as with some of the other recent Selects, I wish there was more to set it apart from other Threadless shirts. I wish they’d experiment more with printing techniques, stepping up to the new standard set by Design by Humans.

Where the Watermelons Grow by Brian Walline is based on the song Down By the Bay (lyrics are also printed on the shirt). In the interest of full disclosure, I have always hated that song. Perhaps because of that fact, this shirt is not a favorite of mine. The bright, cartoony style of the drawing echoes the theme nicely, though, and people who are fans of that song (everyone in the world except me, apparently) have a cute shirt to call their own.


Good Guys Don’t Glow at Midnight by Ivan Leonardo Vera Pineros uses glow in the dark ink on a group of bad guys, and regular ink on the lone good guy, a fairy. If that sounds like a good concept to you, you are a fan of this shirt. I’m… kind of in the other camp on this one. I don’t really get why only bad guys would glow- to me, a fairy is more prone to glowing than any of the other beings featured. And while I typically enjoy icons, the ones in this design don’t speak to me. Horror fans probably feel differently.

Fall_ing by Christopher Garcia depicts leaves with grasping hands at the ends of their stems, letting go of the branch to fall to the ground. While I didn’t dig this one in voting, seeing it on a shirt improved it for me. I think it works well as a nature shirt with a subtle twist- the hands are only visible up close, so most viewers aren’t privy to the secret.


The first reprint of the week is Foxy by Lixin Wang, and I think it’s a worthy reprint. My usual complaint on reprints is that the color scheme should at least change a bit, but since this design wouldn’t work on any other color it escapes that criticism.

Ditto for Star Men in Moon’s Milk by Christopher Buchholz. A fun concept that’s not quite like any other shirt out there. Clever and gorgeous.

Overall, I’m not too keen on this crop of shirts. While I wouldn’t call any of them poorly done, they’re simply not unique enough to stand out from the t-shirt offerings of other companies. And while that might be fine for those other businesses, I expect more from Threadless because they have access to some of the best t-shirt design talent in the world. Given that fact, they should be able to put out an innovative and high-quality selection of shirts every week. For me, this week was simply not up to par.

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17 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Matthew Dear Loves Threadless


There’s a new Loves Threadless competition underway, centered around the theme “Good to be Alive.” Matthew Dear, some sort of electronic musician person, is the sponsor of this one (I have never heard of that dude, but he has good taste in t-shirt stores I guess).

The prize package is sweet: in addition to the usual Threadless prize of $2000 cash and a $500 gift certificate, the winner will be getting a Traktor Scratch professional DJ system, a signed cd and a collection of Ghostly International cds.

Designs should be entered before November 16th, 2007.

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15 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Note to all potential Threadless hoody purchasers: Threadless is having a 24 hour sale on all hoodies tomorrow (Tuesday), so you’ll be able to get any hooded sweatshirt for just $25 (a much better deal than the typical $40 cost).

Now, on to the new shirts…

Justified and Amplified by Mike Harding centers around a great concept- a nun plugs in her acoustic guitar into a wall of amps. Hello, Vatican! The art is restrained, letting the nun take center stage, with bright orange cords to add interest. It’s a great piece.

November Was a Good Month by Mike Sayre (mildish) is graphically well-done. It looks like what it is supposed to. This is the most positive I can be about this shirt, because I think conceptually it’s pretty lame. I get that it’s a play on how both people and books can get checked out, but it’s just not very funny. Even worse, having a boring checkout card floating in the middle of a shirt is deeply unattractive. To me, this one is not even close to the Threadless standard.

The Greatest Connection by Melanie Hudson (melh696), on the other hand, is exactly what Threadless does best. It’s a unique (and amusing) concept, drawn up with tons of style and personality. I like that, while similar, the girls aren’t exactly identical. The intersecting of the hair also adds a lot to the design.

Playground Joust by Jillian Nickell is, to be frank, the kind of shirt that I wish Threadless would stop printing. While the illustration is very nicely done (and I’ve certainly appreciated other designs by this artist), the concept feels so played out to me that I can’t really support it. It feels more like an old magazine illustration than a current t-shirt, which is not helped by the fact that I haven’t seen one of those bouncy horses in over a decade.

Viking Bird by Graham Shepard (Tonteau) is totally sweet. I love the personality that the bird’s lines imbue him with, from the tilt on his little hat to the grim determination depicted in his sharply angled wing. The spears overhead and the choppy waters beneath set the scene, and the large print adds to the drama. It’s a slam dunk, easily my second favorite of the week.

My Rules by Christian Einshøj ( is a Rock, Paper, Scissors shirt. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said. The joke is okay, but you have to be really close to even read it. It’s just not a good fit for the t-shirt medium, in my opinion.

Royal Intrigued Series 1 by Chalermphol Harnchakkham (huebucket) is this week’s Select. While I enjoy the artistry and concept, I expect more from Selects- where are the specialty inks? the mixed media? the unique printing techniques? It’s a great drawing, but as I look at it all I can think is that at Design By Humans, there would have been actual pockets stitched in. Maybe Series 2 could go there instead?

Adultery by Jean-sébastien Deheeger (nes-k) was reprinted this week. It’s a neat, easy to grasp concept drawn in an interesting style. While I’m not big on reprints in general, this is a solid shirt.

If You Can Read This Make Me a Sandwich by Anthony Mihovich was the reprinted slogan this week, and I’m not a fan. The slogan itself is alright, but it’s been done better (I’m referring to Seibei’s Sandwich Dinosaur). Beyond that, I don’t understand the logic of reprinting slogans- the prize for a winning slogan is only $200, so to me it makes more sense to just print new slogans every time (given the high number of quality unprinted slogans).

Overall, I don’t think this was a great week for Threadless. I disliked about half of the new shirts, which might be some kind of a record. Still, there were a few gems. Hopefully next week will be better.

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