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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.

16 July 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless Alumni Club

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Just launched today, the Threadless Alumni Club gives special features to designers whose work has been printed by Threadless. Some of this is material items, such as a membership card (good for discounts on Threadless merch), a medal of honor, a shirt, a mug and a mousepad.

In a more controversial move, the Alumni Club also has its own exclusive blog forum (unreadable to non-Alumni). A lot of long-term members of the site are up in arms about this development, and I have to say I understand where they’re coming from.

Here’s the thing: Threadless has amazing designers, no question about that. But the Threadless community is much more varied than that, including many non-artistic people who contribute to the flavor of the site in other ways. For instance, some people take great product pictures but can’t draw worth a lick. Others start contests in the forums, encouraging creativity that they themselves may not be capable of. Still more submit slogans and offer helpful opinions on designers’ works, able to appreciate great design but not to create it. These are all really valuable roles, and I can see why it hurts some people to see a site that they have dedicated so much time to suddenly appear to say that they’re not important.

The exclusive blog forum, in addition to causing some hurt feelings, is also a bit of a puzzling move to me. Designers create awesome designs, but what does that have to do with blogs? I guess I can see how it might be useful for collaborations, though I don’t see any benefit to keeping that invisible to other users.

I’m all in favor of rewarding talented designers. The blogs just don’t strike me as a particularly well-suited reward. What if, instead, designers were entered in a monthly prize drawing for art materials? What if, periodically, there was a contest just for alumni- perhaps focused on creating more experimental shirt designs?

At any rate, the hubbub over the Alumni Club might be overshadowing some great news- Threadless has increased their prize money! Winning designers will now receive $2,000 cash, a $500 gift certificate (which can be redeemed for another $200 cash) and exclusive membership to the Threadless Alumni Club. Perhaps more importantly, designers whose work is reprinted will now be getting $500 cash each time their work is reprinted. I think that’s an idea everyone can agree on!

Update: For anyone who is interested, you can check out a screen shot of the new alumni forum here.

16 July 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Uneetee’s July Top 20 Finalists

Uneetee has announced the top twenty finalists for July’s $1000 contest, and as usual it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Cast your vote to ensure that the best shirt is rewarded!

My favorites right now are She Plays Devil Music, Traffic Jam, and Hot Air Water Balloonist, all linked below:

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16 July 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Monday at Threadless: Super-Sized!

Mother Knows Best - Threadless, Best T-shirts EverPlay - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

This Monday at Threadless is even more hectic than usual: In addition to a great crop of new tees (my favorites, Mother Knows Best and Play, are pictured above) there are also two brand new Loves Threadless competitions!

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In the PaRappa the Rapper Loves Threadless competition, designers are encouraged to create shirts with the theme “I Gotta Believe!” In addition to the typical prizes for being printed, the winner will receive a PSP, games and PaRappa merchandise.

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The Gmail Loves Threadless competition is going to be insane, I can already tell. The theme is “Connect,” which is a pretty easy idea to brainstorm around. And the prizes are nuts! The winner gets an iPhone, a $400 JetBlue gift certificate, a bluetooth headset, and tons of Google merchandise.

15 July 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Keydon: Launching Soon, Submit Now

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Keydon, a new design competition site, is launching on August 1st. So if you’ve got a great shirt design, this is the perfect time to submit. Keydon is looking for shirts with a trendy/arty style that will appeal to their 15 to 30 year old customer base.

Being printed at Keydon is uniquely profitable- in addition to earning 15% of the total selling price from their shirt (priced at $15 or $18), designers whose work sells the most could earn some very nice prizes. The first shirt to net 500 sales will earn its designer a new laptop, and the first to sell 5000 gets a new car! After launch, those same prizes will become monthly and yearly incentives.

The site is working towards the goal of printing new shirts every week, so this could be a great opportunity to get some of your work printed. And maybe even earn a car!

14 July 2007 ~ 0 Comments

If You Threw a Competition and No One Won…

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What would happen if you threw a t-shirt design competition and no one won? That’s the situation right now at Inspire Brand.

Inspire has a unique contest format, in which designs battle against each other for supremacy. Submitters can either begin a challenge and wait for someone to accept or they can accept a pre-existing challenge. The goal of these competitions is to find new shirts that would be a good fit for the Inspire Brand store.

The trouble is, despite some 23 battles (and 46 shirts), not one of these has been printed by Inspire. The site, which has been live and accepting designs since October 2006, has stated that they still intend to print “the best ones [submitted], even if they don’t win a contest.”

Do you have a shirt that would be a good fit for Inspire? If the odds of winning haven’t scared you off, you could win $350 if they decide to print. For anyone considering this, I’d advise you to make sure you get everyone you know to vote for your shirt- my suspicion is that a cool shirt that brought new traffic to the site would be a very tempting winner.

14 July 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Black Wagon and Small Paul T-Shirt Design Contest

Children’s apparel site Black Wagon has teamed up with label Small Paul to create a t-shirt design competition. If you’ve been itching to create some children’s t-shirts with a great Paul Frank-esque style, this is the contest for you. You could be the winner of a $200 Small Paul shopping spree.

Interestingly, the contest bills itself as being open to all ages- according to the Black Wagon blog, “there will be runner-up awards to submissions from school age and pre school age groups.” I’m already excited to see those entries.

Entries are due on October 1st, 2007.

14 July 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Voters versus Pros: A T-Shirt Competition Showdown

A recent article about Threadless in the New York Times is raising all sorts of questions for loyal voters. According to the article, Threadless is considering a new method of choosing shirts (in addition to the current method)- “letting winning designers select a certain number of shirts to be printed every month, regardless of the voting results.”

While on the surface this may seem like a betrayal of the principles that made Threadless a household name, it may in fact be bringing the site closer to its roots. In the beginning Threadless was primarily well-known to design and art geeks, but as the site has grown there’s been a natural shift to include more and more types of voters. Strategies for scoring well have also evolved to capture that new audience, often leading to a never-ending parade of puns and adorable animals. These shirts aren’t terrible, but they’re awfully safe. By giving shirt creators a different (more design and arts oriented) audience to court, the variety of shirts submitted is sure to increase.

Still, a lot of people have concerns. After all, a winner could select nothing but their own friends, or even stoop to accepting bribes.

I’m optimistic about it (particularly since a lot of my favorite shirt submissions are eliminated on the first day of voting), but it’s definitely going to be interesting to see this new system evolve.