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Welcome to Compete-tee-tion! This site tracks all the biggest news in the t-shirt design competition world, from reviews of new releases to information on new contest opportunities.

07 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Pampling’s Cats Live Here

Cats Live Here by Typhoonic is an earth-friendly design with a difference- it sees cats as the main thing worth saving! It’s a fun approach to a sometimes depressing topic, because the focus isn’t on an animal that’s already in grave danger (like an endangered or near-extinct species). Instead, we’re pretty much talking about humanity through the proxy of one of our most popular pets. In other words, if people aren’t willing to help themselves, maybe seeing the adorable face of a sweet, helpless kitten might change their tune. It’s additionally funny because of the cat’s pose, snuggled up on the North Pole as an homage to that very cat behavior of deciding to lay down in inconvenient places. Solid work, and very appealing to cat people.

Pampling has two options for winners of their contest. XPress winners earn 1 euro per shirt sold, with a minimum of 100 euros guaranteed. If the design sells well, designers may have the option of earning 500 euros to give Pampling the exclusive printing rights for one year. The second option is Classic winners, who earn 680 euros cash and 120 euros in t-shirts (or 720 euros cash) for the first 400 units and exclusive rights for 3 years. If the design is reprinted, the artist earns 850 euros cash and 150 euros in Pampling products (or 900 euros cash).

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.

05 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s Editor’s Choice: American Vintage collection

July 4th arrives a month early with Shirt.Woot’s Editor’s Choice: American Vintage plus sale. Red, white, and blue designs of all sorts are available from the serious to the silly, but here are the shirts that caught my eye this week…

Best of the Bunch: American Made by acraigl combines big, flowing typography with red and white stripes that seem full of motion to create a piece that feels authentically vintage, but also a lot of fun.

Nicest Surprise: Celebration by mekazoo was a favorite of mine in voting, and has a well-designed neon light style that I think will stand the test of time.

Shirt(s) I Am Most Biased About: My design United Space makes the NASA logo more patriotic while Boston Tea Emporium imagines selling some revolutionary blends and USA Vintage Stripes keeps things simple with minimal type.

This promotion will only last until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. So if there’s something you like, grab it fast!

04 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s Camp WootShirta derby voting highlights

Shirt.Woot got back to nature with their Camp WootShirta derby, with artists providing designs about pretend summer camps, the joys of camping, and even reasons to stay inside. Here’s a look at two current voting underdogs that I think could use some more attention…

I Survived by ApeLad turns Cthulhu into a charming forest ranger. Only you can prevent cosmic horror!

Run for Your Life by mekazoo uses a simplified signage look that makes becoming bear food seem almost commonplace, and thus more horrific.

This derby continues through Thursday at noon. The top three designs (determined by votes and editor input) will each earn $1000 cash and $2 per item sold. Additionally, other designs will be selected and sold for $2 per item each. Both top vote-getters and selected designs will be sold in a future Plus sale.

03 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Lowbrow 2 design contest

If you have a high interest in underground culture, Threadless‘s Lowbrow 2 design competition might be up your alley. Here’s what they’re looking for…

Lowbrow art (otherwise known as “pop surrealism”) describes an underground, edgy, visual art movement that arose in Los Angeles in the late ‘70s. Think underground comics, punk music, John Waters’ Pink Flamingos, Camille Rose Garcia’s gothic, creepy cartoon-style paintings, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s iconic “Rat Fink” – or that tattoo your dad got when he was in the Navy.

Defining characteristics of Lowbrow generally include influence from underground “street” culture, a semi-sick sense of humor, anti-heroes, elements of retro pop culture, comically grotesque caricatures; basically anything that’ll freak your parents out.

You can pull inspiration for your Lowbrow design from classic cartoons, hot-rods, pin-ups, pulp art, B-movies, pop culture combined with poor taste – the list goes on. Take a deep look inside the nastiest part of your noggin, draw on your pencil mustache and give us your filthiest, fun designs!

This contest opens to entries on June 7th and ends on June 21st, 2019. One winner will earn $1000 cash and a $500 Threadless gift code. Also, all designers printed will earn $1 to $7 per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

01 June 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #711: Toys Tory

Childhood nostalgia might send you in the right direction for Shirt.Woot‘s latest derby theme…

Starting Thursday at noon: Derby #711: Toys Tory

This week’s derby is all about toys! Real or pretend, mash-ups or parody, funny or creepy!

You could re-imagine your favorite movie, television series or book in toy form. Or illustrate retro toy labels. The possibilities are endless!

Cute is ok, but we’re not looking for something for the kids. Our customers are adults so make sure your designs appeal to the grown-up population.

This derby begins Thursday at noon and continues through next Thursday at noon. The top three designs (determined by votes and editor input) will each earn $1000 and $2 per item sold after the first day of sales. Those winners will be sold on Friday (1st), Saturday (2nd), and Sunday (3rd). Additionally, other designs may be selected for a Plus sale on the following Monday, with each selected design earning $2 per item sold.

31 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Design By Humans’s Grim Ripper

Grim Ripper by quilimo continues Design By Humans’s recent trend of limited edition shirts using unusual printing techniques, this time with ink that changes color in the sunlight. The illustration goes from a somewhat grim black and white image of death riding a giant wave on a coffin surfboard to a more colorful depiction. While I would have preferred that specialty ink be used to expand on the story in some way (like Olly Moss’s famous Threadless print Vampire, which used color changing ink to make its protagonist appear to burn in the sun), I’ve got to admit that just by adding the bright yellow and blue this surfing design does feel a lot more bright and summer-y. Death remains his grim black and white self, but his surroundings are more recognizably our world. Pretty cool!

This limited edition will be available for preorder until June 10th, 2019. The expected ship date is July 5th, 2019.