15 June 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Are Your T-Shirt Submissions Costing You Money?

If you’ve checked out more than one of the on-going t-shirt design competition web sites, then you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of designers out there entering the same design in multiple competitions… often even at the same time.

Here’s the thing: in financial terms, this is a horrible decision to make. Each site has a different prize for being printed, with some sites offering much more than others (we’re talking about hundreds of dollars, if not more in some cases). Since not all sites are created equal, some sites are more potentially rewarding than others. A smart designer submits their work to the highest paying sites first, and only tries lower paying contests after being passed over. In this way, the designer maximizes their earning potential.

It’s also really important to read the rules, because most sites prohibit designers from posting their designs to simultaneous competitions. If the rules are in a language that you are uncomfortable with, or if you feel a site’s policy is unclear, it is a good idea to e-mail the website and ask employees directly. I’ve had really good luck with this method when investigating non-english competitions.

Because so many people submit designs without knowing the submission rules, I’m going to give a break down of the rules in terms of simultaneous competitions.

Threadless: The big kahuna of the industry, Threadless rules forbid designers from posting their work at other sites until 90 days after voting has ended. Smart designers abide by this, because until the 90 days are up, you have no way of knowing whether Threadless will print your design (score is not always a big factor in these decisions, so caution is advised).

La Fraise: Straight from a La Fraise employee, “Currently we don’t have a policy or rules on that issue, which basicly means that for the time being designers can update their design to other competitions at the same time with laFraise. This is something we will discuss again in the near future – it’s possible that we will come up with some rules about this…” So, no rule at the moment, but double check with the site’s rules before you post your work just to make sure.

StyleTax: According to site rules, designs submitted must be exclusive to the StyleTax competition. This would seem to prohibit designs that are rejected from other sites from being entered here.

Without Pockets: By submitting your design, you agree not to enter it in any competitions for 6 months.

Split the Atom: No current rule exists, as always you should double-check the site’s rules to make sure no change has occured.

Camiseteria: Camiseteria has no rule about a design being on multiple sites. They do intend to adhere to the rules of other sites, though- so you may have to wait a designated period before signing contracts if your design is also competing on other sites.

Teetonic: Designs can not have previously been submitted to any other competition. (I know of one design that broke this rule and was printed anyway, but it’s best to play it safe.)

Hopefully that will help clear things up a bit. You’ll note that it is possible to legally enter your design in competitions at La Fraise, Split the Atom and Camiseteria at the same time. While you can certainly do that legally, it is still a bad decision because of the financial differences in the prizes awarded. Your best bet as a designer is to submit to one high-paying site at a time and then work your way down (when rules allow this).

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