09 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: It’s What’s Inside That Counts and more new this week

It’s What’s Inside That Counts by John Tibbott (quick-brown-fox) is my favorite design this week. It has that kind of bold simplicity that is tailor-made for the t-shirt medium, immediately grabbing the eye with bold shapes and yet also providing enough small detail to stay exciting close up and for repeated viewing. There’s a really fun contrast between the stark white of the skull and the explosion of color within the break, all freeform and oozing compared to the slick skull geometry. Definitely a good-looking, highly wearable shirt.

The Devil Made Me Do It by Perry Beane (BeanePod) came from Threadless’s Mixed Media challenge, and is a fun, unexpected bit of collaging. By combining the cloying innocence of its vintage illustrations with some darker additions (the mask, bolts, mouth and devil woodcuts lurking in the background), the design seems to poke fun both at the faux sweetness of the retro art (as though this darkness was always just below the surface) and at the play acting so some of metal’s more performative aspects. The one wrench in the works, in my opinion, is the overall shape of the art- I think that very rectangular mass of flowers leaves the design feeling smaller on the shirt than it might have if the shape was more curved or organic.

Don’t You Know Your Queen by Michael J. Hildebrand (mjhildebrand) uses a layered style that I absolutely love, using a mix of halftones and solid shapes to create a composition of bright, varied colors that becomes much more complex and textured as the viewer takes a closer look. The overlaps give a sense of 3 dimensionality and even motion in the way the colors react with each other, and that helps the character to feel alive. The choice to use horizontal slices of color is a really interesting one, and because of the way they cut off it creates the impression that this portrait could actually be an amalgamation of several people, with each layer showing a different individual. Neat!

Queen of Hearts by Minna Mäkipää (hinku) turns a playing card queen into a fashionable bearded fellow, reminiscent of the Eurovision drag queen Conchita Wurst. A big part of the fun of this design to me is the way it contrasts so much with the dour, heavily dressed queen we usually see on cards. The character as typically depicted is swimming in a sea of overly-patterned fabric, mouth held in a tight line as she stares impassively ahead. This queen, though, seems to be having a great time, with light, flowing folds in his bright costume and a slight tilt to his head that reminds me of the Mona Lisa smile. Plus, I love the cleverness of using the character’s corset to create another set of heart shapes in the composition.

Hate is Learned by Katie Campbell (campkatie) is a strong slogan tee that hits all the right notes. The smooth, friendly style has that cute, cartoon look that everyone remembers from childhood, so matching it with a slightly vintage color palette ought to create a piece that feels nostalgic for most viewers. While deceptively simple, I’m impressed by the way each card works to reinforce the tee’s message- the smiling face stands in for the innocence of a child, the apple reminds us of the adults’ role as teachers, the tie to imply that these children will grow up, and the eye to point out that they see everything. And of course, the handwriting practice lines that carry the Is Learned text is yet another reminder of the way children copy what they see. Very clever work!

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

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