Astral Projection by Robson Borges (robsonborges) is my favorite Threadless print this week because it’s the kind of piece that immediately pulls you in. The strong circular shape (and the way the bright red is layered with clouds until it gets darker and darker) makes a bold statement from afar and is packed with interest up close. There’s a real painterly quality to the textures created within each mass of clouds, and to the slight roughness of the circle’s edges. It’s an environment with a lot of depth and also a lot of ambiguity- some bird silhouettes are scattered in the darkness, and that’s really the only element clearly marking the location as the sky. In this strange place that’s been created, things get even weirder with the addition of a falling human figure. A slight suggestion of a white circle around his head implies that he might be an astronaut, but we have no idea what he’s fallen from or what he’s falling towards. The overall sensation is one of beauty, but also helplessness and surrender. Interesting stuff.
Arigator by Steven Toang (StevenT) is classic Threadless with its simplified cartoon look and silly punning. Arigato is Japanese for “thank you,” and it’s definitely funny to think of as ferocious, wild, and deadly a creature as an alligator being so polite. The animal’s positioning is very intelligently done, curving the distinctive long tail back and above the body so that it simultaneously helps to balance out the speech bubble and to attract more attention towards it. The simplified, almost Sanrio-like, blushing cheek and scales give the creature some personality, and the choice to style it in a way similar to Japanese cartooning helps to make sense of the Japanese text.
Many Lands Under One Sun by Rick Crane (ThePaperCrane) shows the sun’s path through a number of different ecosystems, all displayed with the glorious minimalism is simple, thin lines. In some places those lines rise and fall to form sharp trees and smooth hills, while in others they cut across each other to become mountains or ocean waves. Each vista seems small and fragile in comparison to the solidness of the sun, and the shifting colors of each scene make it feel like the whole landscape in drenched in the sun’s warmth. It’s all very well done, to the point where the diagonal of the sun’s path makes it feel like you’re really seeing all these different landforms pass by, one after the next.
To Serve Man by thepoopooclub (poopooclub) intrigues me because it found a really novel solution to a couple of problems that a lot of election-related designs run into. One problem is that buyers are sometimes reluctant to buy a shirt that is only relevant for a short period of time. This design solves that by hanging its humor on a timeless concept that is funny in any election (or really, any time of the year)- that politicians are reptile aliens tricking the masses. Another problem is that even when a potential buyer hates a politician enough to want to spend money and broadcast that fact, they might really dislike the idea of wearing that hated person’s face and thus seeing it more often. So the mask conceit, and the way the resemblance is quite vague, allows wearers to make the statement they want to without having to overcome any disgust. Impressive!
Boop-Oop-A-Doop by Peter Kramar (badbasilisk) is a smart piece of design, using Betty Boop’s trademark phrase as a framework to display her flirty personality. Her eyes are so specific, drawn in a style that is never seen any more, that even though that is all you see of her face, it’s immediately clear who she is. The wink finishes off the phrase nicely, hitting the exact expression she’d strike when completing the catchphrase. The retro font isn’t the same style as was used in the cartoon, in fact it’s actually better- while the original could be a bit generic, this type is much more effective in establishing the era Betty originated from. Slight distressing also contributes to nailing that retro feel.
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).