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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.

21 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Allmightys’s I Am Thinking Contest: Vote!

Allmightys‘s latest contest, built around the theme I Am Thinking, has passed the submission deadline. But that’s good news for internet blowhards like me, because that means it’s time to vote and attempt to control the contest’s outcome!

My picks for the win have got to be The Architect by a.mar.illo and Movies! by knickola. The Architect’s strong one-color construction and sweeping lines give the immediate impression that the protagonist is walking through a city of his own imagination, adding buildings and structures as he moves forward. Movies! is at the other end of the spectrum, combining doodles and bold type to create a design that evokes the essence of movies- a visual experience you just want to keep exploring.

19 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New at Uneetee: Foster Family and Insaneetees

Uneetee‘s newest winner is Foster Family by Kristoffer Neil Melicano. It’s a solid piece, with a sunny palette grounding the drawing of a child in a lion costume who naps among a pride of real lions. To me, the real strength of the design is in the background- the way that tree bends to the wind adds an air of suspense, like this comfortable scene might take a turn for the worse at any moment.

Submit your designs to Uneetee for your chance to be the next weekly $1500 winner.

And hey, this week brought another twist to the Uneetee formula- they now have an Insaneetee deal, where each day one shirt from the catalog is featured at the low price of $10. Check it daily or risk missing out on a deal. Today’s offering is Woolly Mammoth X-Ray by Danny Christopher (I’ve already got this one, but it’s great).

18 February 2008 ~ 3 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

The big story of the week at Threadlesshuge price changes! Bad news for guys, the base price for all shirts is now $17 (formerly, only female shirts cost that much). It’s not entirely negative, as some Select shirts had a price drop, but for most buyers, this is going to end up increasing the bill on their next purchase.

(Edit: According to a posted comment (and some further research) it looks like the base price for one-color designs on the Threadless brand shirts will be at the $15 price, not $17. So some shirts will still hit that same familiar low price.)

Topiary by Priscilla Wilson (valorandvellum) is my favorite shirt of the week- intricate linework, a natural palette and and an amusing concept combine to create a near-perfect shirt. The way the elephant holds the clippers with his trunk suggests that the bushes have carved themselves into these animal shapes, which is pretty charming. I’m also digging the interaction of the bushes with the birds- for all their supposed wisdom, it looks like the owls are unaware that these bushes are alive.

Pulp by Aaron Hogg (hogboy) is a 50s-style comic book cover peppered with phrases from the modern internet. The headline reads Zawezome, the astrogirl says WTF, and the spacely squid intones Pwnd. It’s a clever mix, and the illustration is very faithful to the source material. My hesitation on this design is the unavoidable rectangle it creates on the shirt- I find most designs set up that way to be visually dull, especially at a distance. Since there’s not really a better way to set up a comic book parody, though, I think I have to cut a little slack in this case.

Wizard Rock by Spencer Hibert (ZILLIPILLI) is the week’s Select print, and I do love the way it uses the purple of the shirt to support the design. I have to say, though, the drawing and its subject matter (a wizard, why?) really do nothing for me. It’s a little to eighties arcade cheesy for me.

Napoleon In War Paint by Jesse Lefkowitz (Leftist Jesuit) is a striking image, depicting Napoleon in the costuming of an Indian. Part of what amuses me about this is the way Napoleon’s double chin gives him the look of a spoiled toddler, literally playing at war. I’m not a big half-tone dot proponent, which is what keeps me from being fully positive on this- I tend to dislike the look of the dots when used this much. Regardless, it would be a great looking shirt for anyone without the same bias.

A Field With A Dream by Graye Smith (grayehound) is my second favorite shirt this week, a genuinely gorgeous illustration that shows a field coming to life as a beautiful young woman. A cool twist on the Mother Nature concept, the field forms the woman’s skirt and the clouds in the sky create a bodice. What really makes this such a success, for me, is the amazing set of colors- the yellows, browns and greens are earthly and evocative.

Secrets Of Mensa by Julian Glander (secretly robots) is a charming, oddball piece that gives the world clues on how to look smart. While most text-heavy designs tend to look a bit lazy, the hand-drawn type and nerdly colors fit the concept very well. The design’s protagonist is a pyramid (that symbol of ancient knowledge) who seems to be following a bit of his one advice by wearing unnecessary glasses (a monocle with earpieces).

How Many Licks? by Ian Leino is a very well-done illustration of a cut-out of the globe, showing what each layer of earth consists of. It hits the trademark look of a scientific drawing right on the head and tweaks it with some humor. But for me, it’s not a shirt. When worn, the design seems dull and colorless, requiring a close reading before any humor is apparent. For me, a truly great shirt needs to be attractive first and foremost, and if humor is the goal it should be noticeable without any strong effort on the part of the viewer.

Reprinting this week: Polar Gardening by Jean-sébastien Deheeger (nes-k) and Time Fades by Samuel Lara (label). These, at least, have remained at the $15 price point- I think this may just be a function of the shirt brand, though (these are still on Fruit of the Loom and American Apparel shirts, all others were printed on Threadless’s new shirts).

17 February 2008 ~ 1 Comment

New This Week at Design By Humans

There’s a great new batch of shirts at Design By Humans this week, so if you’re looking for a discount on your order, try coupon code DBH22.

Japanese Cranes by ryozilla is one of the most wearable pieces I’ve seen at DBH, the kind of shirt that virtually any type of person from any background could wear and look good in. I love the abstract, watery shape in the background- its subtle pattern has a sense of motion about it, and both the black and silver cranes leap from it.

Wilde Pointe by shiroshok is a primal, roughly colored design that I can’t keep my eyes off of. The texture is magnificent, and the empty eyes of these creatures is a little frightening. I’m decidedly against white shirts in general, but this one is a great fit. Truthfully, this is probably my favorite shirt design in awhile just because it looks so different from most other shirts I’ve seen.

Imagine by casajordi is about halfway between the DBH aesthetic and the style I associate with Imaginary Foundation. I’m not actually a huge collage fan (the ones I like are almost always heavy on illustrative elements), but to my eye this one is well done, if not something that suits my taste. I do enjoy the splatter, though- I think it adds a nice element of magic to the proceedings.

THE EPIC BATTLE by EmbraceDesigns is a fight between the coolest animals that ever lived- a t-rex, giant squid, pterodactyl, whale and mammoth battle for superiority. While fight scenes are typically testosterone frenzies, this shirt takes the opposite tactic, dressing up the scene in pink and purple pastels. The huge print makes the design seem to explode from the shirt, awesome!

Rasta Princess by fabiland is a really gorgeous illustration of a young rasta girl. I have to say, I’m a bit torn on this one- while I love the drawing, I feel like the vector mishmash in the background is a bit haphazard, not really adding to the piece. The placement is equally disappointing, starting at the bottom of the shirt and unfortunately cupping the pecs a bit oddly when worn (even weirder, the female version appears to have been stretched to give the same boob-hugging action- is this something buyers are really looking for?).

Overall, though, a really fantastic week. Aside from my weekly wish for more variety in shirt colors, I think the selections are very top-notch. It’s all great work, and I hope next week continues this pattern of excellence.

16 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless Loves Revolution: Top Three

The Threadless Loves Revolution competition was different from most of the site’s other Loves contests because instead of using a corporate sponsor, Threadless was the sponsor. And the design brief was definitely alluring- they wanted designs that were in direct opposition to the cutesy pun shirts that Threadless is largely known for.

Underwater - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Underwater by Lupencia is a favorite of mine, both for its dreamy feel and its textural lines. The overlapping objects and swirling lines give the impression of a gentle drowning, a sense of letting go. The fact that the girl in the image is wearing a costume adds appeal, and a whole set of new interpretations of the art for the viewer. Her eyes are closed, but the animal’s eyes are wide open. Very nice.

REVOLUTION 7.7 - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Revolution 7.7 is the kind of tight collage that ALIADOTONY has had great success with at Design By Humans. This one takes the tactic of mashing together imagery from different eras, centering on the twenties girl with an Iggy Pop lightning bolt painted on her face. Like the artist’s other work, it’s a giant step above most other designs in this vein- instead of relying on the photography of others, the main focal points are hand-drawn elements and splashes of color. It’s an excellent piece, and I think it would really pop with some cool printing techniques.

Burden to Bear - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

I think Burden to Bear by slaterock would look absolutely fantastic on a shirt. The half-toned photographic elements (bears in the background) are a cool experiment and insert a modicum of reality into an otherwise imaginative scene. The shirt’s focus is a creature who is about 1/3 bear, 1/3 bone, 1/3 man and 100% awesome. Other creatures (a dark and skittish lot) cling to his strength, even as they seem to detest him for it. Not only would I wear the shirt, I’d also love to read a comic book about this fellow.

Overall, this is probably my favorite Loves competition of all time. By telling artists to do what they’ve always wanted to instead of what the audience demands, Threadless was really able to showcase the creativity and skill of their community. While these three designs are my personal favorites, there are many more that would be really fantastic winners.

16 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New at Scribtee


Scribtee is printing so many shirts lately, I can’t even keep up! These have been available for about a week now, but it’s good stuff so I still want to make sure I highlight it.

My favorite has got to be Submarine by Toni Garcia, which is a good take on a favorite topic of mine. I love the idea of fish uniting to take on their foes, the whole school transforming into a new sort of creature. This shirt also does a great of of giving the hapless submarine a jolt of personality, quite a feat. Impossible Love by Adrian Serralta and Fantasy Dreams by Anxo Vizcaíno also got well-deserved prints.

Scribtee is an on-going design contest (run by ShirtCity) with new winners announced twice a month. Successful designers receive $500 cash and a gift certificate for $50 when their work is printed.

Want to know more about Scribtee and how it works? Check out the interview with Robert Goldbach of Scribtee and Your Ingredient.

16 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #30: Leap Year

I’ll be honest, I don’t understand this Derby theme at all. So here it is, direct from the source:

“Once every four years, our calendar needs to get right with the cosmos, to toss an extra 24 hours in to realign itself with reality. 2008 happens to be one of those years. So we figured it was time for a t-shirt celebration. Maybe your shirt design shows us what you’d do if you had an extra day out of the calendar. Maybe you riff on the “every four years” idea, or the concept of “leaping”. Maybe you dazzle us with a startling treatment of the words “February 29”.Maybe you sloganeer: “People born on leap day do it one-quarter as often.” Maybe you do something else entirely. Don’t miss this rare opportunity for Leap Year design action, especially if you’re a mouse or a blue jay – you probably won’t live to see the next one.”

So, um, enjoy making a shirt that can be worn once every four years, I guess…

If you win, you get the fabulous prize of up to $500, plus an additional $2 per shirt sold after the first day. The top three designs, as voted on by site members, will be printed. If you want a shot at that, enter before Wednesday at noon. If you just want to control the outcome, make sure you vote before Thursday at noon.