29 July 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Design By Humans: New this week

Spirit of White Samurai by fourscore is an original and fun character piece, giving a polar bear the role of a samurai. It’s a canny combination (since both bears and samurai feature heavily in DBH’s catalog), but also one that feels right. The armor seems to grant him a certain nobility, and he reads very much as an animal who has seen some tough battles (as evidenced by the cuts on his head) but won’t let the damage stop him from marching on. There’s also some brilliantly understated background work, which suggests a wintery wonderland for the setting.

XIII by Moutchy is a faithful re-envisioning of the death tarot card, outfitting it with a more modern illustration style, dingy brown tones and weathering. Now, I don’t know enough about tarot to know what the card itself is all about, but I do think the imagery makes for a very effective shirt. The length and shape of the scythe lead the eye nicely from the reaper’s skull to the heads below. The skull almost seems to grin at the viewer- a stark contrast with the other heads’ misery. Since one head wears a crown, the message seems to be that no matter how powerful, death will come for you. Perhaps not the cheeriest imagery, but I think the historical connection to tarot helps it to seem refined despite all the beheading.

SYDRS by greentaylorsimms is my favorite this week, a fun mix of three dimensional geometric shapes on a blended tee. It’s like looking at a crazy Escher-inspired maze, with Tetris blocks overlapping in a huge circle. This shape is capped on the top with a smooth pyramid, and anchored on the bottom with a stepped pyramid. This creates a great balance, and also presents the possibility that objects that enter the circular mass one way might be transformed as they exit. Heavy halftone textures are used throughout to reveal dimension, which also gives the art kind of a gritty feel. Instead of feeling like shadows, they’re more like different concentrations of TV static. There’s also a bit of an Easter egg to be found- the shirt’s title actually appears in the art, upside-down and partially camouflaged by neighboring textures. Overall, very wearable and unique!

Monkey Business by micropie makes a man of a monkey, gifting him a suitcase overflowing with bananas and some decidedly human clothes. He’s even sporting a bit of a moustache! People always love when animals do people things. That said, there’s some wonkiness on the proportions and placement that doesn’t quite work for me- the legs just don’t seem right. Still, the line art has a quirky, comic quality that almost forgives it.

Winners at Design By Humans earn $1000 and six shirts of their victorious design.

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