Nacho Business by Mathiole (mathiole) is the design I like best this week, a silly concept that nails the execution. While the art looks rushed, this is part of its genius. Sometimes with comedy, particularly with puns, the more effort that appears to have been put into it, the less of a laugh it will get. That’s because it’s a form of humor that is reliant on seeming off-the-cuff, catching you by surprise. So this style supports the joke well, and despite seeming doodle-y there are actually a lot of smart details. For instance, having the nacho’s blood spill as cheese and break through the panel frame, and the way only a single cactus is needed to give the impression of an entire desert environment.
The Ghost of the Mountains by aparaat (aparaat) has a quiet sense of wonder about it that I find really appealing. Despite the low color count, most of the artwork feels very realistic- almost to the point where you expect to see the clouds drift across the scene, casting new shadows on the mountains below. And in the face of that photo-real feel, the art’s two more surreal elements (the ghost framing and the perfectly round hot air balloon) stand out all the more. An especially nice detail is that the passenger of the hot air balloon is peering through a telescope. I love that moment because it makes that character kind of a personification of the viewer, something that doesn’t belong in the scene (it’s a different style) but that enjoys and explores that environment. Neat!
As Night Falls by Grant Stephen Shepley (Gamma-Ray) is a new twist on the hourglass idea, showing night literally trickling from the top to the bottom like grains of sand. What makes this work for me is the spooky ambiance maintained throughout- there’s a gothic sensibility to the architecture, and the suggestion of a graveyard. The finishing touch that brings it all together is the specific way that night enters the daytime sky- not as grains of sand, but as a massive infestation of bats. Super creepy, and exactly the kind of art choice that ignites the imagination.
Visit Mordor by Mathiole (mathiole) feels slightly weird to me as being the winner of the Landscapes contest, because while it certainly does show a landscape, it’s really the word Mordor and the association with Lord of the Rings that makes this design popular. In that sense, it makes more sense to me as a winner of a pop culture contest than as one about capturing an outdoor environment on a tee. After all, a pop culture shirt (or several!) prints at Threadless every week, but something truly glorifying landscapes is more rare. That said, there’s no doubt in my mind that this one will sell really well because it does a good job of subtly referencing the fandom while making attractive art that suits the vintage style of the poster style it mimics.
DEAL WITH IT by John Tibbott (quick-brown-fox) isn’t a design that appealed to me initially, largely because it felt like a pretty outdated reference. But what’s won me over a bit is how well constructed and thoughtful it is. For instance, there’s a slight fade above the sunglasses, giving the impression of the falling motion from the meme. And that’s not all, there’s also a pixel texture coloring all the white in the artwork (a smart choice because it gives a pixel effect without requiring strict adherence to the shape in the art’s letterforms and curves) and even a subtle swirl in the black areas that adds interest. Very polished.
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn 20% royalties based on net profit (paid monthly) and a $250 Threadless Gift Certificate.