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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.

15 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: After People and more new this week

threadless after people

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.

threadless you are beautifulthreadless so quack

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.

threadless sailthreadless neighborhood

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.

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).

14 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot: Wanderlust voting highlights

Shirt.Woot’s Wanderlust derby definitely delivered a nice array of travel-themed tees, plus a smattering of Pokemon and cute animals. Of the bunch, here are two current underdog entries that I think could use some more attention:

shirt.woot natural wonder usashirt.woot origin

Natural Wonder USA by barmalisirtb is a subtle, sophisticated take on the vast landscapes of the country.

Origin by Randyotter won me over instantly because of the amazing expression on the face of the hamburger- pure delight and awe! It’s infectious.

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.

13 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s The Hands That Built collection

shirt.woot the hands that built

Shirt.Woot’s The Hands That Built plus sale was originally meant to be about labor, but in a lot of cases things took a more feline turn. Maybe not what was intended, but I doubt the cat-crazy Woot customers mind! Here’s what caught my eye…

Best of the Bunch: Running Latte! is a cute, classic cartoon sure the please the caffeinated.

Nicest Surprise: I like the way Carpe Snooze uses a font with a sophisticated feel to express its theme of procrastination.

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

12 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Camiseteria’s A Fronteira Final

camiseteria a fronteira final

Camiseteria launched several Star Trek-themed shirts to celebrate the new movie and the series’s 50 year legacy, but my favorite of the bunch is A Fronteira Final by Eliúde Valverde. It’s a design that intelligently combines Star Trek’s two most iconic images, the Starship Enterprise and Spock’s Live Long and Prosper hand gesture. Using the colorful trail to trace the Enterprise’s path draws the eye in immediately, and the vintage-inspired color palette suits the retro appeal of the show. I love the way the stars are also in those bright colors instead of just white, because it reflects Star Trek’s way of finding something amazing and exciting happening on every planet they visited. This is a universe that feels alive and interesting, not cold and far away. I do think the large red planet at the bottom of the design is a bit of a misstep because it distracts from the cooler visual things happening elsewhere, but it’s not a deal breaker.

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

11 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Glow-in-the-Dark design contest

threadless glow in the dark

Threadless might be feeling spooky in anticipation of Halloween for their latest themed competition, the Glow-in-the-Dark design contest. Here’s what they’re looking for:

Are you afraid of the dark?

Not to fear – you can avoid full darkness with some glow-in-the-dark apparel! We’re utilizing one of our specialty inks to give you the chance to show us how you can create a multi-layered design that transforms in the dark. We’re primarily looking for spooky designs for this upcoming fall season, but don’t be afraid to submit designs that cleverly utilize the ink! Use the fluorescence to highlight elements of your design or create imagery only visible in the dark – the choice is yours! We can’t wait to see it.

Enter before September 23rd, 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).

10 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #569: Pop Culture IRL

shirt.woot logo

Shirt.Woot‘s latest derby theme is shaping up to be a crowd-pleaser…

Starting Thursday at noon: Derby #569: Pop Culture IRL

Pop Culture in real life. Make sure that there is enough satire, parody or real-ness to keep it away from the rejectionator!. No cream tees.

This derby begins Thursday at noon and continues through next 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.

09 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Peace in the World and more new this week

threadless peace in the world

Peace in the World by Koivo (koivo) is my favorite Threadless design this week, and because of the universality of the theme and expert use of minimalism, I think it will also be a favorite with customers. Consistent line width works well in uniting the bird and globe, and the way the branch and wing break from the globe’s circle make the bird still read clearly and dominantly. I like that despite the simplicity, there are still some cool visual moments to enjoy, like the bird’s exaggerated fat belly and the smooth way a curve from the wing continues on to suggest a tail. Very strong work.

threadless cat among the pigeonsthreadless tree of knowledge

Cat Among the Pigeons by Michael Buxton (DinoMike) sets up a funny scenario and lets the viewer supply their own punchline. The wide-eyed expressions of all the animals is really important to creating the humor, because it gives the scene the feeling that these animals know what’s coming and kind of can’t believe they’re in this predicament. The cat looks especially blank, which lets you read what you want into his face. Is it the look of a cat trying (but failing) to overcome his natural instinct to attack, or is he doing his level best to imitate the look to the pigeons around him and escape their notice? That ambiguity, I think, is part of the fun.

The Tree of Knowledge by Rikki (RikkiLorie) takes a very old concept and translates it into a modern illustrative style. The circular background sets the scene well because its use of angled lines almost makes it feel like a dreamcatcher, and the stars scattered within it create drama and a sense of magnificence. The way the tree itself is put together is interesting because from far away it just reads as an ordinary apple tree- you have to get pretty close before it becomes clear that a pair of snakes have coiled their way around the trunk. To me this is actually a bit of a missed opportunity, because I think that if the snakes were clearer and stood out a bit more the design would have more immediate appeal. It’s a neat design, but I can’t shake the idea that it’d be even cooler after a couple more drafts.

threadless drowningthreadless little king of the jungle

Drowning by Leo Avero (artofaveiro) is one heck of an intriguing design, the kind that hints at a much deeper story. The woman’s hat and haunted eyes mark her as an out-of-the-ordinary character, and that impression is only enhanced by the accessories sharing the water with her. The old-timey mafia-style gun and large bottle hint at involvement in the moonshine trade, which makes this drowning appear to be a “sleep with the fishes” situation. I like the way three very different textures separate the elements, with the realistically liquid water reading as different from the red clay-like human figure and the almost ghostly white objects. But the one detail I can’t stop looking at is the empty square at the lower right. It’s a strange absence of water, edges marked out in a way that feels very purposeful and mechanical, but I can’t figure out what it’s meant to be. Everything else seems to be contributing to a fairly coherent narrative, so the fact that this is pure mystery feels like a bit of an odd choice.

Little King of the Jungle by haidishabrina (haidi shabrina) is a big blast of cuteness and color. I like the way it kind of reimagines the lion’s mane as a mosaic headdress, packed with tiny geometric shapes and alternating colors. The head is definitely the most well-done part of the design, especially the bashful pride in the animal’s expression and the way the mane integrates with the rest of the head when the beads at the peak dangle over his forehead. It’s very charming stuff, partly because the marker look of how colors bleed into each other at the edges (and the textures they create) makes it feel handcrafted. That said, I think even for the more primitive, child-friendly art style the design is chasing, the lion’s body is too simply done. It looks like it’s just two fat legs, and a little more care in giving the lion more shape would have made the piece reach an even wider audience.

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).