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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.

29 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Life is Damn Good and more new this week

threadless life is damn good

Life is Damn Good by Fil Gouvea (filgouvea) is my favorite Threadless design this week. I love the mixture of the flowers, which often read as formal or traditional, with the playful, casual text. That disparity in style continues in through the way the text and plants are illustrated, contrasting crisp, realistic leaves and flowers with very sketchy, hand-crafted lettering. That style clash and the bright white color choice help the words to immediately stand out and impart their message, but they still feel incorporated into the foliage because the birds, flowers and leaves literally weave their way around and poke through the letterforms. Another choice that really pays off is the way the birds are close in color and tone to the leaves, making them the last element you see. By doing this, the artist ensures that the longer you look, the more rich and lush this nature scene feels. Smart!

threadless crescent moonthreadless blackhole of shame

Crescent Moon by CARBINE (digitalcarbine) won Threadless’s Optical Illusions contest, and it’s a great pick. While the idea of optical illusions brings to mind the old classics (impossible triangles, vases that look like faces, etc) this piece really took the theme and ran with it to create something both new and extremely interesting. Something I really like about the concept is the way it makes the astronaut seem sinister, like he’s something alien, in the way he’s interacting with the environment (and really, with their faces obscured by masks, it’s kind of amazing astronauts aren’t used in this way more often in shirt design- there really is something inherently mysterious and creepy about it). There’s this awesome sense that the astronaut is doing something amazing, bending space to his will and discovering things no one was meant to see or experience. I have a feeling this idea is one that will stick with me the next time I see a crescent moon…

Blackhole of Shame by lycocorax (micronisus) explains the Big Bang in a unique way, imagining that a big black dog scratching at his safety cone was the cause of the Big Bang, creating our universe. To me the best part of this gag is the way it uses the curved model of the universe as the cone of shame, a cool take on the similarity of both shapes. But of course it doesn’t stop there- the difference between the dumbness of the dog and the intelligence of astronomic theory is further highlighted by a bunch of mathematic notations and informative labels. While I think a few of those labels detract from the humor (Dark Ages and Throat feel kind of out of place), for the most part they’re effective in making the diagram feel real.

threadless avocardiothreadless fingerprint

AvoCardio by mogumogu (mogumogu) is exactly the kind of food-with-faces cuteness that Threadless excels at. And there’s a lot to like about this shirt, from the fresh color palette to the silly pun of the title. There’s a cool balance to the way the circle of the avocado pit (and missing pit) are positioned above the bicycle’s wheels. I also enjoy the way the two halves are extremely similar, but not quite identical- in addition to the pit, their sweat and the direction of the eyes help to make them individual characters. The half with the pit even has an extra energy to his smile, as if he’s still gloating over his little victory.

Fingerprint by Neil Dominic (…Dom) might be a late arrival to Threadless’s collection of X-Files tees, but in my opinion it’s also one of the best. Although very minimal, it encapsulates a lot of the series’s charm. Hiding an alien face in the fingerprint is reminiscent of the way Mulder always saw aliens in unexpected places. Fingerprints in general are a nice callback to the forensic investigations the agents undertook. And there’s even an X symbol tucked away where the alien’s nose would be, a nice detail that ensures people make the X-Files connection instead of seeing the design as about aliens more broadly.

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).

28 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Pattern Remix design contest

threadless pattern remix

Threadless is thinking back to the classics with their new Pattern Remix design contest. Here’s what they’re looking for:

Take tired old gingham, plaid, houndstooth or paisley and make it completely rad. Make a punk rock paisley or a cat-inspired camo. A flower pattern out of objects that aren’t flowers at all. Lumberjack plaid out of pipes and wire. Maybe you notice it from far away or not until you’re up close. Fresh or fun, we want to see classic patterns through new eyes.

Enter before February 17th, 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).

27 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #515: Navigational Tees

shirt.woot logo

There’s a new Shirt.Woot derby theme headed your way…

Starting Thursday at noon: Derby #515: Navigational Tees

Design a Tee about getting places.  It could be the instrumentation or the directions or a simple map (Mike’s fave).

This derby begins Thursday at noon and continues through Monday at noon. The top three vote-getters will each earn $200 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.


Meanwhile, funny punchlines abound in the current Terrible Advice derby. The thumbnails don’t always do the jokes justice in text-heavy weeks like this, so I recommend clicking for larger views on as many entries as you can. There are some real gems in the mix, including these two current underdogs:

shirt.woot all eyes on youshirt.woot exercise your demons

All Eyes on You by ApeLad is a hilarious twist on a common piece of advice, and I like that the text treatment reflects the claustrophobia of the phrase.

Exercise Your Demons by Randyotter has the cutest devils I’ve ever seen. Just look at those round little bellies!

This derby continues through 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.

26 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s Out of the Darkness and Musical Animals collection

shirt.woot out of the darkness

Artists went in many creative directions with the Out of the Darkness plus sale theme, including a generous smattering of pop culture. Here’s what caught my eye:

Best of the Bunch: Escape the Dark‘s tale of a robot’s adventure is a refreshing concept, and also has a cool, almost minimal look printed on the tee.

Nicest Surprise: RC UFO delivers a fun X-Files gag, just in time for the new season.

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

shirt.woot musical animals

Meanwhile, the whole animal kingdom had something to sing about in the Musical Animals plus sale. Two designs were so good, they had me humming along:

Best of the Bunch: Morning Melodies keeps things simple, but putting the art to the side of the shirt helps it look sophisticated.

Nicest Surprise: I’ve Got a Fever! is appropriately silly for a shirt about cowbells.

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

25 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Camiseteria’s Guia do Náufrago

camiseteria guia do naufrago

Guia do Náufrago by Eder Minetto e Rogério Puhl bills itself as a guide for castaways, and delivers on that promise by meticulously breaking down every bit of this imaginative illustration with helpful captions. I don’t know Portuguese and so can’t vouch for exactly what’s going on in the text, but if the humor of the words mirrors the comedy displayed in the drawing, then I think it’s safe to say that this is some truly excellent work. Because it takes a lot for such a wordy design to still appeal to viewers who can’t read them, and I was immediately enchanted by the artwork of this one. I really like that it doesn’t just stop at the gag of having the island be a creature- it really expands on that world by showing a number of weird, wacky sea beasts to exist alongside it. There’s even a great comedy set-up in having one castaway’s fishing line snag the eye of the island creature- it sets up a great moment, where you’re very aware that this picture is about to change massively, but your imagination is free to fill in the blanks of how that conflict will end. My guess, though, is that those castaways are in for a nasty surprise!

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

24 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Pampling’s Lanterns of Hope

pampling lanterns of hope

Lanterns of Hope by ManuelDA is apparently referencing the movie Tangled, but what I love about it is that even if, like me, you’ve never seen the movie, the theme comes across so clearly and beautifully that the design is still just as appealing. The way the castle tower is surrounded by a trail of floating lanterns make it feel as though its not real, it’s part of a dream that the two boaters are creating together. That’s a very sweet sentiment, and its served well by the Starry Night inspired art style. The angle of those floating lanterns (and their reflection in the water below) helps to guide the eye from one element to the next, ensuring that you take in and enjoy every part of the scene.

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).

23 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #514: Terrible Advice

shirt.woot logo

Listen up, Shirt.Woot’s latest derby theme is…

Starting Monday at noon: Derby #514: Terrible Advice

Design a tee about some bad advice.

This derby starts Monday at noon and continues through 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.


But wake up! There’s also a derby currently underway, and the theme is Weird Dreams. As you’d expect, that theme leaves subject matter pretty wide open so there’s a lot of diversity in concept this week. Here are two current underdog entries that I’d like to see get more attention:

shirt.woot storytellershirt.woot wake up

Storyteller by marchi is gorgeously illustrated, packed with thinly lined detail, and has a concept that should appeal to cat owners and readers alike.

WAKE UP! by design2art puts some common nightmares into perspective by showing how they’d pale in comparison to the ultimate bad dream, Freddy Krueger.

This derby continues through Monday at noon. The top three vote-getters will each earn $200 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.