Archive | threadless

20 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Secret Handshake, Cranium: They Love Threadless

Two new Loves Threadless competitions were posted during the $10 sale madness yesterday, here’s a closer look at each:

The Secret Handshake are a band with a new song called Midnight Movie, which is the theme for this contest. There’s a whole pack of prizes on this one, including a Pure Digital Flip Video Ultra Series camcorder, a Sonic Impact Video55 iPod video player, a signed CD and poster, and (most excellently) a years supply of Orville Redenbacher popcorn and Nestle candy. All that is, of course, in addition to the traditional Threadless prize of $2000 cash and a $500 gift certificate. Entries should be submitted by December 19th, 2007 to qualify for the prize.

Cranium is releasing a new edition of their board game, titled Cranium Wow, and to celebrate they’re sponsoring a Threadless competition. The theme is “Wow! (as in wow the judges),” which is hilariously specific (and probably a move to avoid the piles of submissions using the word wow as literal text on the shirt, though I’m sure that will happen anyway). And of course, there are some pretty neat prizes at stake: a signed Cranium WOW game, a signed, limited run 6″ vinyl WOW mover sculpture (valued at $1,000- and I’d love to know how they came up with that number, seriously), a full set of designer movers, unspecified Cranium swag, and of course the standard $2000 cash and $500 gift certificate. Submit before December 19th, 2007 for a shot at the prize.

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19 November 2007 ~ 4 Comments

New Shirts, $10 Sale at Threadless

Threadless has begun another of their famed $10 sales, and to celebrate they’ve also printed and reprinted a total of 18 shirts! That is downright gluttonous. But awesome! And for all the holiday shoppers out there, they’ve set up a gift guide.

Confessions of a Jock: I Killed a Nerd by Thomas De Santis (Montro) is a deeply cool image- it instantly reminded me of that episode of the Twilight Zone where a dude is locked in a bank vault during a nuclear war (if you saw it, you know the one- but I won’t spoil it for people who somehow haven’t see it yet). There’s a sense of fragility any time you see a lone pair of glasses, because you know that the owner is at the very least crippled by their loss, unable to accurately perceive the visual world. I also enjoy the theme of nature reclaiming a symbol of knowledge. And, of course, the owl- is the owl tiny, or are the glasses huge? Either way, I am a fan.

I have mixed feelings about Splatter in D Minor by Jahoosawa. Black ink on a white shirt pretty much always looks boring. And I’ve never seen splatters with that kind of sharpness, which makes the composition look lazily done. Further, the design was submitted with the splatter beginning on the shoulder, which added to the motion in the piece (it is now centered, which is less interesting). There are things to like about this, though- the line of the notes and splatter is attractive, and there’s a very well done gradual transition between the splatter and the notes. But for me, it’s just not enough.

This week’s Type Tee is Movies: Ruining the Book Since 1920 by Jayson Dougherty (ZombieToArt). It’s a quality slogan, but to me the shirt could use some work. I feel like shirts should be good-looking even from far away, and this font isn’t doing it for me. Maybe because the catalog already includes Sound of Silents, they decided to go with a movie theater setting and a modern font… but to me, something with a more antique twenties-style vibe would have been a must-buy, while this shirt comes up a bit short.

Punk Rock Cock by Aled Lewis (fatheed) is ridiculously good. The illustration itself is on point, especially the safety pin and those little boots. It’s also a great merging of the rooster and punk concepts, from the mohawk to the colored feathers. Really great work.

To me, One Handprint of Nature by Jojo R. Dabucol III (BLXMAN77) is a missed opportunity. The idea itself isn’t bad (though its been done many times before), but the execution strikes me as pretty lacking. It all looks pasted together, with very little merging or transition between the nature and hand elements. It isn’t enough to use fingerprint to fill in a zebra, those lines should also join up with the lines of the hand. The trunks of the trees should bend into the hand, maybe even with roots that enter the handprint. Overall, this just doesn’t look finished to me.

Boy in the Weeds by Winson Lee Ying Hang (stor) is a real standout in this group of new shirts. It stands apart from the rest of the collection, as it is so geometric in nature. I love the color scheme, the strong vertical thrust of the piece, and the quiet asymmetry in the leaves. The design has the feel of being a nature pattern from the future.

Tragedy Struck by Jack Moore (jacklmoore) is a common shirt topic revitalized with a fresh illustrative style. Nice touches abound, from the curves of the background to the dotted motion lines. The roller skates make it clear that this disaster will happen quickly, and the droplets behind the ice leave no question that it’s too late to put a stop to it.

The Raven’s Cry by Andrew John Mohacsy (Andreas Mohacsy) is a real smorgasbord of textures. It’s a gorgeous illustration, no doubt, and there’s so much going on my eyes don’t know quite where to land. I’m not a huge fan of this as a shirt, though- I find the overall shape of the piece to be awkward on a shirt, and I think this level of detail isn’t a great fit for the t-shirt medium. I’m a fan of this artist, but I wish some of his other work had been printed instead.

Now That’s Dope by Robert Gould (Robsoul) is kind of a hand-drawn approach to the type of cartoon that Married to the Sea does. Two generals discuss the dopeness of their phonograph tunes, hilarity ensues. The style of the drawing and the illustrated font add value to the piece. Unfortunately, it has been printed on bright yellow. It takes a very special shirt design to overcome a shirt color like that, and for me this just isn’t it.

Three Plus… One? by Giulia Cucija (jewel947) is the kind of cutesy shirt that I typically dislike- but I think that this one is pretty nice. The difference between this and a lot of other funny animal shirts is the strong design choices, such as the crooked, strangely windowed buildings and the bright colors. I also like the progressive realization of the birds as your eye travels from left to right.

Paper Cranes by Glenn Jones (Glennz) is the ideal execution of a joke shirt: the colors are bright and bold, the message is clear even from a distance, and the concept is easy to grasp. An origami figure does karate’s Crane stance (instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen The Karate Kid) in the direction of a couple of origami cranes, who seem more than a match for this dude’s awkward posing.

Hitchhiker by Henrique Lima (Gringz) has a great style. I like the short, squat rocket (which barely seems able to lift itself off the otherworldly surface) straining under the extra weight of the jovial cyclops. The details make the piece, from the well-realized background art to the series of buttons, switches and wires on the rocket exterior.

The first (and best) of this week’s modern reprints is Cowboys and Indians by Glenn Jones (Glennz). It’s a funny shirt, yes, but what makes it really shine is the amazing shading on the horse and elephant. The orange shirt is another great touch- it conveys the heat of the southwest, but the unnatural neon of the color also gives everything a touch of the bizarre. Interestingly, this is the first Select design I’m aware of that has gotten a reprint.

In Case of Fire by Bruno Acanfora (PINTA MI CERCA) is a light-hearted tee, with a marshmallow on a stick inside a Break Glass construct. It carries the message that in an emergency, you should still try to look on the bright side- plus, it’s a great camping shirt. I’ve got to say, though, I’m pretty tired of the whole “break glass” thing- I feel like I’ve seen a shirt with just about every object imaginable in one of those.

I really like the look of A Key For Everything by Richard Lee (lofty softy). The keys really pop on dark grey, and I like the way they’re cataloged and labeled like sketches in a naturalist’s notebook. The sticking point for me is that I find a few of the more abstract labels to be unbearably twee (key to your heart? key to success? Ugh). I’m probably on my own with that one, but I really think a little more realism would make this a lot more wearable for me.

In addition to the regular reprints listed above, Threadless dug deep into their vaults to reprint some shirts from the early days of Threadless, including I Luv You CPU by Greg Washington (jeedubnew). While it is my favorite of these older reprints, that isn’t saying much. Like a lot of early Threadless stuff, I think it relies too much on the conventions of print and ignores the possibilities of the t-shirt medium (for instance, much of the text is basically unreadable). Still, there are elements that I like, such as the angle of the computer image and the repurposing of the silhouette in the upper left.

Summer Wind by Joachim Baan is another design that fails to take advantage of the shirt. The line of flowers could easily have traveled further north, interacting with the collar. The focal point could have been lower on the shirt, with the flowers traversing more of the available print area. There’s no advantage that I can see to leaving it centered like this. It’s a good looking design, but it looks so much more at home as a wall graphic than it ever did as a shirt.

I don’t really have anything positive to say about Black Spot by John Slabyk (S20). The image itself is pretty dull, though I can see how it might have merit to someone who likes pirates or large, simple shirt designs. What kills it beyond repair, though, is the ridiculous tirade against brands that appears on the back of the shirt. It’s especially out of place at Threadless, which is so heavily branded (even including logo stickers with every order, so that fans can recruit others as customers). Plus, it is just crazy lame to tar all brands with the same brush- it just reeks of a fear of success.

Anyway, there was definitely a huge selection of shirts added today, something for every type of customer. My own purchases were from the shirts introduced on past weeks (Fox and Hare and Sink Yourself), but there were a few from this group that I considered.

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15 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless Display Art for Sale

Since early July, Threadless has hired artist Joe Suta to paint three canvases a week that are a mash up of all the shirts printed. The results vary wildly in style, but they’re all pretty interesting to look at.

These paintings are now offered for sale on Threadless for the price of $250 apiece. It’s kind of a high-end alternative to the wall art that Threadless teamed up with Blik to create.

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12 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Threadless‘s winner in the E for All Loves Threadless contest is a great choice: Hero Within by Mikko Walamies (Mikko Terva). The way the linework creates so much texture is neat, and the use of dotted lines is also very effective. Using a gold ink on this one adds a sense of importance to the composition, which is pretty funny for a video game shirt.

My favorite of the week, though, has got to be Fox and Hare by Julia Sonmi Heglund (sonmi). It’s really a masterpiece of line and color, with animals and shapes overlapping to form a new whole. It has the appearance to me of being this insane biological collage, like some crazed (but artistic) genius built this in his underground lab. It’s a ridiculously good shirt, is what I’m saying.

Big Cats by Lawrence Charles Mann (onemannbrand) is a great one-color print. The large image of the tiger is constructed with tons of cat silhouettes, which is a good idea. It pretty much needs the orange shirt to work, though, so I have no idea why it’s been printed on yellow for kids and babies. Kind of an odd choice there.

Get Back to Nature by Simon Massey di Vallazza (francobolli) is another favorite of mine this week. It’s like a coloring book filled in by an acid-addled hippie. Or a relic from some sort of newly primitive future. It’s hard to pin down, which is almost always a mark of greatness. I dig the colors and the raw enthusiasm of the character.

Muzak Homage by Tony Wood (johnny_quest) is a great image, though I feel it lends itself more to a poster or a magazine illustration than to a t-shirt. The focus of the shirt is people alternately bored and rocking out in elevators (which also resemble an equalizer, of course). A great concept, but because of the nature of the t-shirt medium I feel like most viewers will never notice most of this (and, what really kills it for me is that the overall shape of the design is just not very visually appealing at a distance).

Sensory Overload by Ed Pincombe (Edword) has the perfect shirt placement- it kind of cascades across the entire front of the tee. The little teal characters are fantastic, and I like the highlighting of the nervous system and their huge grasping hands. Definitely a cool, unique piece.

Now on to the reprints… Fathom Farewell by Ross Zietz (arzie13) is a shirt that I am hugely biased about, because it is one of the first Threadless shirts I ever owned. Highlights of the design are the strong vertical of the image and the way the water is shown as light blue waves on the boat.

Emotional Trip by Glenn Flanagan-Dutton (artictiger) is a shirt that I just don’t get. It’s really negative (only depression is on time, all happy emotions are either delayed or canceled), and even worse it’s not very interesting looking. The bulk of the shirt is a huge flight information board, and those are just boring and ugly by their basic nature. I’d also like to register some general disappointment at the fact that this was reprinted on the same color it had last time, which is lame. This would work on any color, so I see no benefit to leaving it on burgundy (surely blue would be more thematically appropriate?).

Looking at this week’s shirts as a whole, I’m pretty happy with the selection. I’m glad to see that there was more emphasis on art (Fox and Hare, Get Back to Nature and Sensory Overload) than on talking food and lame puns, which is for me a huge step in the right direction. Hopefully next week will be more like this, too. It’s also nice to see the gold foil in use on Hero Within, which makes me wonder when we’ll start seeing more shirts with special printing techniques in the store.

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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-s√©bastien 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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