After People by chriswilliams (plastic flame press) is my favorite Threadless design this week. The gentle warmth of the autumn color palette is what caught my eye first, and the focal point of that large bear character quickly captured my imagination and got me excited about the illustration. I like that it’s not just size that makes the bear unique, he’s also depicted as friendly (with birds and an armadillo happily resting on his body). The broken stitches on his crown (revealing stuffing) and button down shirt also add personality and interest. From there, the dinosaurs take over the scene, and they seem just as quietly curious and huggable as the bear above. As these plant-eaters stare into the car windows at the human skeletons, it’s easy to imagine that they might make the planet a pretty cool place, at least in comparison to the human world of traffic jams that they’re investigating. Just through the use and placement of two cars, the artist manages to imply a lot- pollution, traffic accidents, and crowding- and everything we see of the animals is in direct contrast to it.
You Are Beautiful by fwmj (fwmj) is tailor-made for looking in the mirror, as the text is printed in reverse. It’s a brilliant move because it’s a strong point of difference for the design, which (being as it is a mix of typography and flowers) otherwise ran the risk of being on the old-fashioned side of traditional. The backwards flip is an immediate magnifier of interest, because having to take a moment to translate the art makes the viewer work a little harder than the average slogan shirt. Since that extra effort makes the viewer invest a bit in the design, finally seeing the message feels even more lovely, like it’s been earned.
So Quack by alwaysfurthur (alwaysfurthur) reminds me a lot of another great Threadless design, Firelight Cottage. But while both play with the idea of adding modern, surreal touches to classically painted landscapes, So Quack leans more towards light-hearted wackiness while Firelight Cottage feels more specifically about Thomas Kinkade’s strangely glowing scenes and destroying them with something exciting. So Quack is also different because it makes you want to be a part of the scene- it’s easy to imagine riding on or even bouncing on that huge inflatable duck as it floats past majestic landscapes.
Sail by upon (timoetting) is a smooth bit of minimalism. It’s smartly done because I think most viewers instantly understand this as a sailboat on water at sunset, despite the simplicity of shapes. Two rectangles, a triangle, and a circle are all it takes to establish a whole scene. The details, like the way the sail splits the sun in half, are what make the design not just basic, but sophisticated. And I’m very impressed with the color choices, particularly the almost purple shade used for the sky. It’s a beautiful contrast with the pure blue of the water, and the darker tones used in the landscape really let the pure white of the sail pop.
Neighborhood by badodds (badOdds) is definitely one of the week’s most interesting pieces, though it’s also one that doesn’t work perfectly in the t-shirt medium (with its strong rectangular shape and emphasis on smaller elements, it’d probably be a better fit for a poster print). But medium aside, it’s a really fun design. The color palette feels fresh and bright, more pastel than the average urban scene. A cool, relaxed visual rhythm emerges from the scattered way bricks shift in tone, shutters change position, and a drain pipe weaves its path. I like that while the objects and creatures in the windows are related (cats and birds feature heavily, as do flowers in all forms), each window tells a bit of a different story about who might live inside. Some people will look at the boombox or retro curtains and think “Ah, that’s the one for me” while others will seek out the friendliest-looking cat. But no matter what lens you’re reading the scene through, it’s the kind of design you start to image yourself in. Good stuff.