06 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Lit and more new this week

Lit by Cody Weiler (csweiler) won Threadless’s Happy Hour design contest and is also my favorite print this week. I’m impressed with the way it uses type reminiscent of the Miller Lite logo to make the clear connection to drinking, while also hitting the neon light theme directly with the Lit wording. Smoothly curving lines ape the contours of real neon signage well, but there’s clearly a sophisticated hand at work in the specific way breaks in the light are chosen, for a look that is both effective and surprisingly artistic. Even the brightness of the color palette helps this piece to feel like real bar signage.

Grim Weeper by Ian Byers (ibyes) turns expectations on their head by portraying the Grim Reaper, usually seen as a stoic, menacing figure, as a needy, passive aggressive character with tear-filled kawaii eyes. That turnaround is instantly funny, and only made more so by the cloying pose and style. In a brilliant move, even the text itself drips subtly like tears welling over, and a solid bone jaw gets a single line that gives it the illusion of a protruding, wavering lower lip. Super solid.

Optimist by Tatak Waskitho (skitchism) centers on a cute concept, a horse whose mishap with an ice cream cone turns him into a unicorn. It’s definitely a sweet idea, but I’m not sure that the execution does it justice. The problem for me is that the joke is almost hidden- the text is so large it is read first, and then the horse/unicorn, so at best the horn itself is the third thing a viewer would notice. Even then, the choice to match both color and drippy style of the melting ice cream to the animal’s pink mane obscures the joke. It ends up relying on the viewer to notice the cone’s waffle texture- and even that might not do the trick because the sketchy style used throughout includes line textures drawn in other places.

The Sound of Meowsic by Cheok Siew Yen (BubuSam) might hinge on a goofy pun, but the sheer charm of its rotund feline protagonist raises its value considerably. Making the cat an absolute chonk is a smart choice, both because it contrasts with the original (which hinged on the Julie Andrews character being dwarfed by her picturesque surroundings) and because it makes the cat’s performance even more unlikely and thus impressive. You can feel the enthusiasm of this cat coming through the artwork, which invites you to imagine what sound the meowsic might have. I’m guessing a lot of pet owners will recognize their own animals in this moment, loudly begging for food or attention.

The Gold Scarf by Zachary Terrell (coyote_alert) has a really neat visual at its core, the idea of one long horizontal line crossing many vertical lines. It’s the kind of arrangement of elements that feels dynamic and full of motion. I like the way the artist heightens the effect by focusing so heavily on the white tree trunks, minimizing branches and letting the falling snow fill in the rest. But although I’m largely a fan of how the art is handled, the scarf itself is a weak area for me. I think making the gold tone so close to the fox’s orange is a mistake, as it makes both appear to be the same object at a distance (like a giraffe with its neck bending backward). The shape of it also seems a bit off to me, getting thick very fast at the far end instead of a more natural tapering, which harms its ability to read clearly. I think a little more finesse on this element might have improved the design from a good one to a great one.

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 to $7 per item sold.

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