13 February 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Design By Humans: New this week

Sophronia by tesseract is my pick for the best of the week. It’s intricate, fun, and highly wearable, so there’s a lot to like. We’ve all seen cities on shirts before, but I like that this design took a unique approach to the genre. Instead of just buildings, we’re seeing two distinct types of spaces. One is the kind of staid community we expect, but the other is a carnival- packed full of roller coaster tracks and billowy tents. Their structures roughly mirror each other, but your eyes keep turning back to the carnival. After all, it’s the only side with color (wonderful red flags)! I like the implications this design makes about how there are a lot of ways to live, and that tall brick apartments might not be the only way to build a city.

Be Formless, Shapeless… by zerobriant is a tribute to Bruce Lee. Its strength is in the shape of the art, which has Lee’s high kick crossing from shoulder to shoulder- his head rests on one side, a foot on the other. This is a bold shape, and you can’t help but look and feel the action. With that said, I’m not entirely a fan of the splattering technique used. I think it works well in some areas, but lacks consistency. Only some of the splatter echoes Lee’s movement, other bits look haphazard and detract from the inertia. For me, this makes it look more like Lee is hanging frozen in space than actively kicking, and that’s kind of unfortunate. I’m feeling that some additional polishing might have helped keep that illusion of motion intact.

Nevermore! by queenmob might be my favorite Poe reference tee, largely because it broke free from referencing the author himself and focused on the feeling and impact of his words. This raven is no mere bird, he’s a shadow enveloping the scene . You can feel his presence slowly creeping over the entire canvas, growing ever more powerful. Fear itself. I low the oozing drips of the raven, landing somewhere between liquid and feather. With its limited palette and crisp, expressive lines, you’d be hard-pressed to find a literary tee with better art. This one just barely got edged out for shirt of the week.

KEYhole by AustinPardun has a really fun composition, playing with shapes and styles. There’s a lot going on, from intricate pattern to stylized imagery to classic drawing skills, but the red and black palette and flow of the shapes ensure that it all feels united. I like the third eye feel that comes from the eye in the triangle, giving a mystical feel to the nature of the keyhole. It leaves you wondering what could be accessed through it. But unfortunately, there’s one part of this design that really turns me off. Yes, I’m talking about the crotch keys. That circle of the keys draws a ton of attention to it, and it just kind of hangs there like a belt buckle (or worse, a chastity belt). That imagery would be fine on a poster, but when worn on a shirt it’s just kind of awkward. Thankfully, the girls version appears to have escaped with a smaller print and is still pretty wearable.

ISO 808 by bortwein is a cool bit of typography, floating the numerals over each other for a nice 3d effect. It’s a well-done effort, with realistic shadows and believable angles. The real question, though, is whether the artwork is appealing enough to actually get people to line up to buy it. I’m skeptical on that point, because although I like the design, it doesn’t capture my imagination or stand out strongly to me. I suspect it’s the sort of work that many people like, but few love. And like is not generally enough to get buyers, especially at premium prices.

Design By Humans is an on-going t-shirt design contest that prints new shirts every weekday. Prints are chosen from the shirts submitted by and voted on by DBH members. Shirt of the Day winners receive $500 cash and $250 DBH credit. Shirt of the Week winners get $1000 cash. Shirt of the Month gets $1500 cash and $250 credit. Winners also have an opportunity to earn residuals through the Rockstar Awards Program.

One Response to “Design By Humans: New this week”

  1. jimiyo 15 February 2011 at 10:05 pm Permalink

    glad they got the pretty boy model back. some of the recent models are so normie.

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