Archive | threadless

01 April 2008 ~ 4 Comments

9 New Threadless Prints and $5 Shirts, No Joke!

Threadless is celebrating April Fools Day in a big way- they’ve printed 9 brand new shirts (all low-scorers that the voters somehow overlooked) and have marked down all the shirts printed on old stock (Fruit of the Loom for men and American Apparel for women) down to a shockingly cheap $5. Insane! And very awesome!

Executioner Is A Nice Job by jzef was shockingly low scored for such a funny illustration, netting a score of just 1.67 out of 5. The artist’s vision of such a feared figure as a jolly neon muscleman is both attractive and appealing.

Ziggy Stardog by Alvaro Arteaga (alvarejo) is a really great drawing of an off-the-wall subject- a dog posing as Ziggy Stardust. The mixture of pattern, texture and bright color immediately grabs the eye. My only complaint is with the printing- I can’t fathom why anyone would print this so small and so low. To me, if you’re printing a character from the torso up on a shirt, you really need to go big or go home (I’d point to And Then I Just Got Tired as an example of this printed in a more interesting way).

Rockers’s Delight by Martin Krusche (MartinK.) was one of my favorites when it was being voted on, so I’m definitely glad to see it printing. The character work is amazing and really gives the rocker a distinct personality. The styling is dead-on as well, with lots of details to enjoy (including the worm in his hair). Ultimately, though, this is another shirt where the printing is not up to the level of the design- it’s just far too small and too low on the shirt for me to wear.

Egyptronic! by Elise Nishiyama (SayonaraGangster) is kind of a nu rave take on the symbols of ancient Egypt. People who can wear this kind of thing without looking stupid are few and far between, but they do exist. And I’ve definitely not seen another shirt quite like this, so it gets some props for that.

Tyger Tyger by Lizz Lunney is a cartoon, and for me it’s not a great fit for the shirt medium at all. Since my opinion on this hasn’t changed since it was in scoring, I’m just going to cut and paste my comment from then: “This is a cartoon. This is not a shirt. The fence makes things too boxy (why not trees instead?). Also, you are missing out on the coolest thing about kites- they fly away! Wouldn’t this be much more interesting if some of the kites were trying to escape being burnt? The fact that everything in this is so static is really killing the concept.” Still all true, making this the only decision this week I was really disappointed by.

SWAMP GUITAR by swampfactory is totally fun, portraying a Swamp Thing-type character as a rock hero. His twig guitar (providing a resting place for passing butterflies) is a cool addition, and somehow leaves this mess of mud and leaves looking like it is posing for the cover of Rolling Stone.

Popping Wheelies by Kenneth Lavallee (kennnnnnnnnn) makes gory gorgeous, using his trademark illustrative style to tell the story of an angry boy who crushes tiny creatures beneath his bike wheels. It looks great as a huge print, and I really like the way the splashes of red give the piece some motion.

Yawn by Dale Sattler (noponies) is a dreamy take on nocturnal forest life, with anthropomorphic owls embracing their sleeping animal friends. This image of owls as the sleepy watchmen of the forest definitely resonates with me, and the ribbon-y element cutting through the characters keeps the action from getting too complacent.

The Rare Pixelated Shark of the South-Pacific by Kristian Bauthus is probably the most unique shirt Threadless has printed lately, and for that alone it has my respect. It mixes pixel art with hand-drawn text and flourishes, and the shark proudly proclaims his own awesomeness. I think it works pretty well as a shirt, in kind of an off-kilter way, but I wish the shark popped from the shirt a bit more- he gets a bit lost on the silver shirt in the product pics I saw, and even though it is designed to do that it’s not an effect I particularly enjoy.

Overall, an awesome April Fools promotion. It’s telling that there are still so many more low-scorers that would have been great additions to this list.

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31 March 2008 ~ 1 Comment

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Epic Battle by Jeff Battocletti (Ellsswhere) is a very well-drawn shirt that depicts a raging fight between pirates and ninjas. It is easily the most attractive meme-based shirt the internet will ever see. And… now that it has been printed, can the pirate/ninja thing please die already?

This week’s Select is The Sea And The Sky by Daniel Zvereff. It’s a really nice design, heavy on bright colors and tight linework. The overall shape is interesting and full of motion, rewarding those who take a closer look with bunches of undersea and air creatures. It also stands out from other shirts Threadless offers, which makes it a great choice of a Select.

Freeloader on the Yak Express by Jan Avendano (hummertymez at ridgemont high) is another one that stands out in a sea of other shirts at Threadless, due both to its impressive print size (it’s a huge wraparound) and the fact that it so deftly uses the shirt color as a major design element. The strange creature hitching a ride and the yak’s concerned expression give it an edge of whimsy as well.

Metal Fan by Ole Ivar Rudi (OlliRudi) is a funny cartoon of two metal fans meeting. I say cartoon instead of shirt design mainly because this is the kind of imagery I don’t understand in terms of shirts. The main joke is in relatively small size, the design itself isn’t overly attractive (as it aims squarely for humor) and the shape seems plopped on a shirt instead of fitted to it. So for me, while I think it’s a great illustration it just isn’t something I see as a good fit for the t-shirt medium.

One Lump, Or Two? by Philip Tseng (pilihp) is as far as I know a totally unique sort of print for Threadless- two distinct version have been printed, one with coffee as the beverage and the other with tea. In both, a ghostly fellow oozes out of the spout of a beverage pot, tricked out with some accessories to give him some personality. Faded backdrops (unique to each beverage) give a sense of place to the scene. Definitely a cool experiment, it should be interesting to see which styles sell out most quickly.

Secrets Of Magic by Chow Hon Lam (Flying Mouse) is a very well-drawn joke shirt depicting how magicians create the levitation illusion- with demons! It’s a funny image, and a pretty nice fit to the shirt medium as well, because the spotlight and curtain ground the piece well on the fabric. Ultimately, though, like most joke shirts, it’s only worth a purchase if the humor really speaks to you.

I Always Liked Your Porridge Best by Danielle Kerese (DaniellesGarden) shows Goldilocks cavorting with one of the three bears whose home she invaded. Is she breaking up the happy marriage of Mama and Papa Bear, or corrupting Baby Bear? It’s a funny image, and the awkwardness of each character’s stance works well- you can see the tension, which had me wondering if Goldilocks was about to be (comically!) mauled. It also sits much better on the shirt than I had anticipated, filling the viewable area in a way that is conducive to some good visual motion. Very nice work.

Reprinted this week: You’ve Got Some Splaining To Do by A. Wilhite (Leroy_Hornblower) and Loch Ness Imposter by Ross Zietz (arzie13).

A new episode of Threadless TV also debuted today, titled Episode Two: Speed.

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24 March 2008 ~ 1 Comment

Spring Sale, More New Shirts at Threadless

Thanks to some server hiccups early last week, Threadless decided to extend their Spring Sale until Wednesday. There’s also a sweet coupon for the occasion: code spring08 will knock $5 off an order of $50 or more for the first 5000 people who use it.

Current by Dan Rule is a great take on infinity, using the easily recognizable symbol to form a river that flows into itself. The gorgeous hand-drawn style conveys the speed of the river well, and the inclusion of both human and natural elements mirrors the sense of interdependence that the symbol implies. The canoes are an especially nice touch, and they make me imagine riding that river for an afternoon of endless fun. While I love the design, though, the placement is incredibly awkward for ladies- a little smaller and a little higher up, and I doubt there would be so many complaints.

Staring Into Space by HORT is this week’s Select, using some puff ink and a custom shirt color. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan- while I like the idea of puff ink, the shapes over astronaut faces is more weird than attractive or interesting to me. I’d call it a cool visual experiment, but not one that I would personally want to wear.

King of Clubs by Ron Lewis recasts the king from a deck of playing cards as a boom box-toting hipster, complete with oversized sunglasses and a sweatband. I like the element of repetition and the use of halftones and patterning here, as they suit the subject matter very well. This is the kind of pun-based shirt I love to see Threadless run, because the art stands on its own even without the crutch of humor.

HOT DANG! by Andrew Bargeron (r.o.b.o.t.i.c.octopus) is like a movie poster adapted to a shirt, broadcasting the awesomeness of a little flick starring a motley crew of monstrous misfits. Heavy on neons, weaponry and fur, the shirt has several unique characters and part of the fun is imagining how they interact. The most appealing of the bunch is the one who gets center billing, a kind of blue bigfoot who dresses like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future.

My Broderie Tyrannosaurus by Cheok Siew Yen (BubuSam) is the token cute shirt of the week, but it’s a good one. The mixture of the cute and the terrifying is traditionally a pretty successful gambit, and it works- the use of so many different patterns is another nice element, and it kept my eyes moving around the scene. My only quibble here is with Threadless’s printing- I think that given the subject matter, some stitching (or even puff ink) effects would have boosted the design to an even higher level.

Let It Grow by Florence (florever) is the Discogs Love Threadless winner. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed in this choice because I’ve seen the guitar/tree thing done many times before (and there was a lot of originality in the entries for this contest overall). But independent of concept, the art itself is very nice. It’s a well-drawn illustration, and the use of a colored gradient does a lot to set it apart from other concepts like this in the marketplace.

Reprinted this week: We Can Fix It by Budi Satria Kwan (letter) and Sublimi’mAwesomeinal, a Type Tee with a slogan by mcgowen007.

Also debuting this week is Threadless Tee-V, a weekly video that shows goings-on at Threadless headquarters. In the future, it may also include giveaways and promos. This week’s installment is Episode One: Spring Cleaning.

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17 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless Spring Cleaning Sale

Threadless’s Spring Cleaning Sale is underway, and shirts are all marked down by about $5- that means some pieces can be had for as little as $9!

Aesthetic Truculency by Kneil Melicano (roadkill3d) is the best shirt of a really amazing group. The visual humor is solid, but the value of the piece goes far beyond that- from the sharp flames on the candles to the velvety texture of the chair, the attention to detail and differing treatment of surfaces is awesome to behold. The use of the wallpaper fragment as a binding for the scene works well, and also firmly plants the surreal scene in the past. Amazing work.

Homage To The Hunter by Tony Elmore (empiricist) is a great use of the front and back of the shirt, displaying an idyllic scene of two deer in the woods on the front, and on the back showing the hunter poised to track down some dinner (complete with the family he supports, sitting just behind him). The design is in a line drawing style, with various textures inked in. A second color, blue, calls out the cold breath of both the humans and the animals involved. I really love this piece, as it does an expert job of showing what hunting is, and why it is, without devaluing any of the creatures involved.

Citrust Me by Thomas De Santis (Montro) takes a popular optical illusion and transplants it to a shirt. On the screen, the lemon shapes that form the leaves appear to blow in the breeze. In person, the illusion will likely not be as strong, as it is boosted considerably by the refresh rate of computer monitors. I have to say, even if it worked perfectly, I’d be a bit baffled as to why anyone would want to wear it- it’s not a particularly cool image.

Graphic Endeavors by Matt W. Moore is this week’s Select, a kind of visual experimentation of line, shape and color. It’s definitely full of motion and depth, and the odd choice to print a glowing outline on the back of the shirt is interesting, if a bit baffling. My only real objection to the shirt, though is the compact rectangular shape it inhabits- it kills the motion of the art on the shirt. Instead of checking out the cool ways the lines intersect, the eye is naturally drawn to the boring exterior edges.

Pinata by Priscilla Wilson (valorandvellum) is another example of the intricate linework its artist favors, and the textural quality of those lines really does a nice job of bringing the pinata to life. The subtle, explosive pattern in back adds a nice dose of action, and the creatures pulling the pinata rope on the back of the shirt are a humorous, whimsical touch. All in all, it’s a near-perfect shirt.

Clockwork Kit by Kerkko Ulmanen (gummi) is a type of design that I have nothing but disdain for- the kit. I don’t know why there are so many of these, as I’ve never actually seen one in real life. But some inspired designer, at least a year ago and probably more than that, realized that the kit is a pretty easy type of shirt to design. So that person did one, and then it blew the hell up and everyone else did as well. The only person I give any credit to is that first designer, because kits are just not witty. There’s no joke inherent in putting together a group of elements from a movie, pass time, or cultural event- and even worse, it’s an ugly, boxed in final product by definition. Super lame, especially since Threadless is already home to a much better Clockwork Orange inspired design.

Utility by Dan Rule explores the many uses of a utility pole. From locking bikes, to posting signs, to directing traffic and providing a perch for birds, the pole is used in just about every way imaginable. I like the idea of taking a look at the diversity of an urban environment, and the way a whole world grows around the pole. The strong vertical of the piece is attention getting and unique as well.

Happy Thoughts by Glenn Jones (Glennz) is a creepy look at optimism- a plane disaster, made a little more fun by the escape slide sporting a huge clown balloon. The calmness of the scene, even as a fire rages on the plane, is the same sort of odd lack of emotion that you see in airline emergency cards. Top that concept off with the artist’s signature clean lines and crisp style, and it’s easy to see why it was printed.

It’s Always Midnight Somewhere by Gregory James (farflung) is my second favorite shirt this week, and a really masterful take on classic movie poster illustration. I love the idea of two monsters from different worlds (werewolf and vampire) uniting to face an uncaring world. My one disappointment is the shirt color- I loved the mood created by the mint shirt color in the original submission, and to me the silver lacks some of that character. Still a great shirt, but not living up to its potential.

Overall, a pretty killer week- I ended up buying two shirts from this group, which is well above average. I’m glad the sale finally knocked some of these prices back down to a price I can actually afford!

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13 March 2008 ~ 2 Comments

Human Giant Loves Threadless

Ok, before I summarize the contest, I need to get one thing out of the way: I love Human Giant. I think they’re hilarious, and after I watched this season’s premiere I IM’d half the internet trying to get them to watch. So, this pretty much rates as the best contest ever, in my mind.

The Human Giant Loves Threadless competition is looking for designs made with the theme Old-Fashioned Fun. They’re a sketch comedy group, so I assume anything with a good sense of humor has the edge to win.

Enter before April 15th, 2008 for your chance to nab the huge prize package: $2000 cash, a $500 Threadless gift certificate, a Sanyo Xacti Digital Camcorder, a costume from the first season, an autographed Human Giant poster, personalized character answering machine messages, a signed t-shirt gun, a headshot of Cody Austin from Shutterbugs, sweatbands from the T-Shirt Squad, and a deck of cards from the Illusionators. It’s like a fan’s dream come true, I swear.

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10 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

In addition to printing nine shirts this week, Threadless also presented their Bestee awards. My favorite pick of theirs was Fox and Hare by Julia Sonmi Heglund as Best Abstract Design- I picked that one up when it first printed and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

For me, Existential Clutter by Joel Cocks (Joelnz) is the best shirt printed this week. The style of it is awesome, showing the grids that form each item. The specific elements shown are pretty random, but the artistry is evident in the way the items are balanced and arranged (for instance, the heft of the basketball is negated by the earth on the opposite angle). I was concerned that the design would look a bit boxy when printed, but I’m glad that the photographs shown seem to prove me wrong- it looks great.

Blonde on Blonde by Joshua Kemble (polynothing) is based on the song by the same name (which, actually, I’ve never heard). It’s about the way rain takes hold of the imagination, with heavy rainfall taking on the characteristics of a legendary flood. Cats and dogs appear in the drops almost like constellations and one unfortunate umbrella-less pedestrian gets an imaginary deep-sea diver helmet. It’s a really cool idea, though I’m not crazy about how it looks on the shirt. For me, the corner building is too weighty, distracting attention from the coolness of the rain concept.

This week’s Select is Brat Party by Jon Knox Griffin (beingjon), and it’s a stand-out. The thick-lined style and use of repetitive visuals is unique to this week’s shirts, with the multitude of colors (I’m guessing that’s the reason for the high price tag, as well) popping from the shirt. Definitely a cool look.

Collateral Damage by Andy Gonsalves (andyg) reminds me of Roger Rabbit, with a gleeful cartoon scene about to be obliterated by the harshness of reality. The colors and styles are dead-on, with each element of the comic illustration fitted with a face and happy expression. The interesting shape of the design looks really interesting and fresh on the printed shirt as well.

Battle of E-5 by Dan Rule is a cool design exploiting the drama of simulated battle- in the background, a chess piece lays prone and all the horses have a diamond pattern that evokes a deck of cards. The colors are appropriately rugged, and the illustration’s movement makes for a unique-looking shirt. For a chess fan, I think this design is pretty must-have.

Konrad The Magician by BalletCats is well-drawn, with proportions that are a near-perfect fit for the t-shirt medium. Unfortunately, it’s also a drawing of a silly-looking magician. For that reason, no matter how nice the shirt is, it’s a hard sell for me. I mean… magic. It’s a staple of kids’ birthday parties, not a cool shirt subject. For someone without my magic hang-up though, this could be a nice design.

Make Love Not War by Paul Burgess fits the mold of most of Threadless’s classic shirts- it’s a play on nostalgia that also makes a powerful statement. The boldness of the design is appealing, with the primary colors demonstrating just how basic the message really is. That said, the price is kind of insane. At $20, it’s a full $5 more than customers were paying just a few weeks ago, and in this case there really isn’t any added value evident.

Reprinted this week: I Listen To Bands… by Evan Ferstenfeld (FRICKINAWESOME) and Stabby McKnife by Springfish.

Overall, a pretty nice week. If the Spring Sale happens soon, a few of these will probably find their way into my cart. The prices, though, mean I can’t imagine buying anything except the most irresistible shirts outside of the sale- it seems that the average shirt runs $20, and without any sort of specialty printing technique that’s a bit rich for my blood.

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08 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Jake Nickell Interviewed at GearCrave

Jake Nickell from Threadless just did an interview at GearCrave and dropped some interesting tidbits. Here are the highlights:

• Threadless hopes to open a kids’ store in Chicago and a store in Boulder, CO by the end of 2008.

• Two “notable additions” to the product line announced in 2008

• Starting this spring, Naked & Angry will begin releasing a new product every month.

Very cool, I think the thing that keeps Threadless on top of their game is that they’re always working to evolve and better serve their audience.

(link via Custom T-Shirt Talk)

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