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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.

25 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Naughty Brats and more new this week

threadless naughty brats

Naughty Brats by brian walline, aka the abominable crow man (thunderpeel) won Threadless’s Ugly Sweater Challenge, and it’s a brilliant choice. Krampus references have been increasingly popular, and this piece does a good job of depicting the character and hinting as his appeal. The great thing abut Krampus is that he feels like a throwback to the style of storytelling of the past, where fables rarely have happy endings and there’s less concern about comforting children than there is for frightening them into good behavior. That kind of darkness feels refreshing in a season that can be full of crass commercialism and faux cheer. He looks appropriately menacing here and the child looks bewildered, which is a great contrast with the upbeat look of the rest of the art, which has pleasant patterning and large, delicate snowflakes. The best detail is Krampus’s festive sweater, which is a nice link to the art style used and also a funny moment that makes this Krampus feel more like an individual than just an archetype. Good stuff!

threadless ugly jesus sweaterthreadless 1957 sputnik 1

Ugly Jesus Sweater by Rodrigo Leonardo Batista Ferreira (rodrigobhz) is another brilliant take on the ugly Christmas sweater, choosing to parody the ugliest Jesus of all time. Although the portrait being parodied is very poorly made, that’s exactly what makes it so charming. Instead of just another of thousands of depictions, it becomes an unintentional shrine to confidence and optimism, to trying your best even if you’re spectacularly unsuited to succeeding at your task. Even though this Jesus isn’t much of a looker, there’s a sense that he was created with a lot of love, and that makes him an appealing figure. I like that the haphazard placement of elements around him mirrors his unsophisticated look, and of course the text’s playful slogan is a fun way to make the holiday link loud and clear even for those who might not have recognized the portrait right away.

1957: Sputnik 1 by Santiago Sarquis (metalsan)  won Threadless’s Space Age challenge by giving Sputnik the movie poster treatment, taking some cues from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The stack of three orbs, crowned by the spherical shape of Sputnik itself, is an arresting image and has a strong, angular shape that draws the eye. It feels balanced, yet extremely dramatic- there’s a sense that we’re watching a sunrise on an epic scale, a kind of dawning of a new era. I think most space geeks, and more than a few folks who just like the retro look, will get a kick out of this one.

threadless thingsthreadless we want jetpacks

Things by Spencer Fruhling (spencer fruhling) is a fairly abstract spin on Stranger Things, taking a variety of small objects and arranging them to fill the facets of a 20-sided die. What I love about this technique is that it has multiple levels of appeal. There’s the simple joy of seeing things arranged neatly, but it also becomes a bit of a quiz or guessing game to try to recall each prop’s place in the narrative, what moment or character it refers to. Some elements, like the Christmas lights, demogorgon figure and Dustin’s hat, should be easy to recognize for even the most casual fan, while others take a bit more effort. And despite the plethora of images used, the design manages to stay very elegant by sticking to a minimal illustration style and a limited 3 ink color palette.

We Want Jetpacks! by Pawel Kania (pijaczaj) is an impassioned plea to scientists for jetpacks, a theme that might be familiar to some longtime Threadless fans. But while the previous piece focused on impactful graphic design and typography choices, this new design is all about raw, child-like enthusiasm. It’s a great fit for the theme because the idea of being able to fly through the air, totally free from gravity, brings out the kid in even the most hardened adult. Each of the three text styles is well chosen, with the Dear Scientists font feeling like a child’s letter to Santa, We Want Jetpacks packing bold, cartoon excitement and Everything Else Can Wait scrawled casually like an afterthought. Very well done.

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

24 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s How It’s Made collection

shirt.woot how it's made

Shirt.Woot’s How It’s Made plus sale has artists showing us the secrets behind animals, food, and more with a ton of visual humor. Here’s what made me laugh…

Best of the Bunch: Where Eggnog Comes From is very timely for the holiday season, and a pretty smart depiction of how eggnog tastes to people who don’t like it.

Nicest Surprise: I love the wrestling-style faces on the veggies in Guac, which has a unique spin on how all those ingredients come together.

Shirt I Am Most Biased About: My design Step Carefully imagines that Legos are so painful to step on because they are actually tiny hellscapes populated by miniature demons.

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

23 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot: Retro Gaming derby voting highlights

Shirt.Woot‘s Retro Gaming derby is basically a buffet of pixel art and classic gaming references, the kind of stuff that should strike a chord with anyone who has spent some time with a controller or joystick in hand. Here’s a look at two current underdog entries that I think could use some more attention…

shirt.woot dug outshirt.woot west quest

Dug Out by scorneau is a smart, silly reference to the landfill full of ET games, and should get a genuine chuckle out of most gamers who know the history.

West Quest by ste7enl captures a lot of elements that make Westworld so much fun, from the iconic train, to the black hat vs white hat dilemma, to the gorgeous Western landscape.

This derby continues through Thursday at noon. The top three vote-getters 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.

22 November 2016 ~ 1 Comment

Threadless’s Circus design contest

threadless circus

Send in the clowns, because Threadless‘s latest themed design contest is all about the Circus! Here’s what they’re looking for…

Lions, and tigers, and … sword swallowers?! That’s just the surface of extraordinary that you can find at the circus. We want you to celebrate all things unique to the circus. Create the next freak show poster, put your twist on lion tamers, or just illustrate some of your favorite things to see at the circus. Circuses are full of energy, color, and surprises – so make sure to include that in your designs. We’re excited to find the next showstopper!

Enter before December 5th, 2016 for your chance to win. One winner will earn $1000 cash and a $500 Threadless gift code. Additionally, all designers printed will earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

21 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Pampling’s Schrödinger’s Night

pampling schrodinger's night

Schrödinger’s Night by BlancaVidal is a really solid take on the Schrödinger’s cat glow in the dark shirt concept. Although a lot has been done in this vein, this is a strong enough piece that you kind of forget about most of the others. The main thing I like about this design is the way the cat remains a strong, funny character in both modes. While alive, he looks like a smart, sweet kitten who likes hanging out in a box (typical cat stuff). I like that the torn paper segment for the Alive text makes sense of the necessary background and gives the design an element of studiousness. The dead version kicks things up a notch by making the cat a (very cute, cartoon) skeleton, but he’s still very animated in his personality because he’s speaking to tell you his alive/dead status, and his posture is still very alert and playful. That said, there are a couple of elements that I think have room for improvement. One is that in the glow version, the box isn’t visible- I think a quick, thin outline on that in glow ink might have helped it read more clearly in the dark. Another issue for me is the use of the yellow highlight on the cat. Since it’s not a typical fur color, I think it reads oddly and isn’t really necessary. The box is colored without highlights or shading, so why can’t the cat be treated the same way?

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).

20 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Camiseteria’s Unicórnio Be Happy

camiseteria unicornio be happy

Unicórnio Be Happy by Jeff Rodrix is delightfully silly. I think it’s the pure absurdity that draws me to this one, the idea of seeing a four-legged animal rolling around on a pair of skates. With arms raised and eyes closed, it’s clear that the character doesn’t care much for what others might think and is content to go his own way, having the best time possible. The simple slogan reinforces the art’s theme without detracting from the illustration below. The color choices of pink and purple are of course very unicorn, but I think my favorite artistic choice is the way he’s sporting a bit of a belly. It’s not quite the level of majesty we’re used to seeing from this kind of mythical creature, who looks more like a guy who goes for thirds at the buffet line than a fantasy icon. But that lack of self-consciousness really works, and makes this character very charming.

Camiseteria winners earn R$800 cash and R$500 in Camiseteria products.

19 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #579: Inspired by Classic Movies

shirt.woot logo

Hope you’ve got some popcorn handy, because Shirt.Woot‘s latest derby theme is…

Starting Thursday at noon: Derby $579: Inspired by Classic Movies

Make some designs that are inspired by classic movies! This can be pretty much anything mashed-up with a movie from the 1960’s or earlier. It could be inspired by a movie title, characters, poster design… you get the idea.  No creme tees. I will be really picky about any Star Wars designs that look like you just put a black-and-white filter over a design you already made and called it a day.  You’ve been warned!

This derby begins Thursday at noon and continues through next Thursday at noon. The top three vote-getters 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.