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!
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.
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.