Always Follow Your Dreams by Michael Buxton (DinoMike) is an amazing piece, and definitely my favorite print this week. That said, it’s also a design that makes me nostalgic for the Threadless of old, the one that would be debuting pieces like this instead of printing ones that already had successful runs at other sites like TeeFury, TeePublic and Shirt.Woot (as this one did). Sites used to each have a unique flavor, a catalog that reflected their specialty, whereas now they all seem to collect the same bestsellers. None of that makes this any worse as a design- it’s absolutely a favorite of mine! I love the way it introduces nightmares as a way to follow dreams, and how it cute-ifies a famous horror villain. The playfulness of the twirly text sets just the right whimsical tone. It’s just slightly a bummer that when it finally arrived at Threadless, it had been on so many other sites that instead of thinking, “This is great! I’m buying it,” I was instead thinking, “This is great! I loved it at TeePublic.”
Archelon by Mellin Paulo Bernardo (temyongsky) has a great, flow-y look that is perfectly suited to its aquatic subject matter. I love the liquid ebb of the rolling hills that sit on the sea turtle’s shell, and the way they feel like a continuation of the curves in the turtle’s arms. There’s a real softness to the piece, achieved both through those smooth lines and some subtle gradients, that give the design a sense of gentleness, like this is a turtle who really cares about the world on his back. It’s a unique angle on a familiar concept, and all the details feel just right.
Act Natural by Nicholas Ginty (Gintron) is a fun, floral-inspired take on the phrase. I like the way it layers its painted nature art with the rigid, precise lines of typography because that clash between the organic and the technical feels current (which can sometimes be hard to do with something as timeless and traditional as flowers). It’s very attractive, but I have to confess that I found it a bit hard to read. For me, the way the white petal curves and overlaps with the C on top makes it read more like an S to me if I look quickly. Some of the nature in the image is similarly difficult to parse, like the curving white tube. It looks a bit furry, could it possibly be a paw? And what about the maroon shapes below it? I’m not sure if I’m looking at mushrooms, a snake wrapped around something, or what. That said, despite my quibbles, I think the whole of the design functions well together and should find plenty of fans.
Big Ride by Aneesh kumar.T.K (anivini) combines two very different things in a neat way, giving a Godzilla-like monster an old-fashioned bike. Part of the fun is that the style of bike used is usually seen in a much more gentlemanly context, ridden by guys with fancy facial hair and formal hats. So seeing it here, combined with the most barbaric style of monster imaginable, is really fun! It paints this creature as one who does really unexpected things, whether he’s riding the bike out of pure love for the object or in an attempt to be different than his genetic destiny. I love the fierce way he looks at the viewer, teeth bared like he’s daring you to make a joke about his chosen mode of transport. Plus, it’s funny to think of those massive, clawed feet trying to operate pedals made for humans.
C’est la Vie by Ross Bruggink (rhinosserossy) is another bit of humor based in upending expectations. In english, you’re more likely to find the emoticon paired with wording like “lol idk,” so the French used here feels like a surprisingly classy, even worldly, moment. Playful use of pastel colors helps maintain the carefree, silly feel of the image and unites the text with it. It’s a cute reminder that no matter how language or technology changes, some sentiments will always remain the same.