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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.

24 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

I Tried To Hold Your Hand by Joshua Agerstrand (ladrones) resembles a doodle-tattooed Freddy Krueger. It has the effect of creating a mysterious, almost gentle creature, whose hot breath lingers in the air. A highly unique piece, this is definitely a worthy winner of the Ferraby Lionheart Loves Threadless contest- I just wish I could see a picture of the guitar based on this design (which is part of the winning prize package).

The Earie Mine of Crayon Canyon by Cameron McEwan (Ronin60) is the week’s Select. For me, the concept (of a mine shaped like an ear, with miners carrying out crayon bits) doesn’t quite work. The connection between ear wax and the wax that makes crayons is a bit labored- it took me a minute of puzzling though it to even figure that out (I briefly thought it might refer to some epidemic of kids putting crayons in their ears that had somehow escaped my notice). The art itself is nice, with the exception of the halftone edges. I wish the edges had been done as rough, crayoned lines instead to connect better to the concept, as the halftones don’t relate to the rest of the image for me.

Mr. Brown by Joshua Agerstrand (ladrones) is a great one-color piece. I love the characterization of Mr. Brown, who seems exceptionally harried and fearful (this is enhanced by the illustrative call-out of his intestines, which is a really neat touch). The thin lines are alternately vague and textural, adding to the sense of motion and ambiguity in the design.

Aristocrat by Chow Hon Lam (Feishu) depicts two fancy birds riding atop an owl. I love the idea that high-class birds no longer bother to do their own flying (what a chore!) and prefer instead to take in the view from an owl-mounted bench. It’s all very nicely rendered, but I think what really makes this such a great shirt are the decorative looping lines in the background- they establish an otherworldly environment for the scene, and also imply the movement of wind. Really nice work.

I Hate Packing by Adam Benjamin White reimagines the packing experience as a three dimensional game of Tetris. Socks, pants and shirts are transformed into the signature puzzle pieces, which looks so natural that I almost can’t believe it hasn’t been done before. Beyond the great idea of the design, the details are nice as well- there’s a nice lining on the suitcase and traveling ephemera are packed in the pockets. Very well thought out.

Sing To The Tune Of Nature by Shuyi Chong is the only print this week that I’m not crazy about. The concept, showing a sheet of music as being constructed out of nature, is a neat idea. However, I feel that the execution is far too busy- the notes seem to be splattered with color willy-nilly, and the notes are fat to evenly distributed. It has the effect of looking more like a bulky mish-mash of elements than the music sheets I’ve seen. But if you want to wear a large and vaguely floral rectangle, this is a great choice.

Dulces Vacaciones by Adrian Serralta Chorro (adriserralta) is one of this week’s reprints, and it’s not a terrible choice. The idea of vacationing bears is pretty cute, I’m just feeling burned out on cartoon panda shirts. Plus, I associate them really strongly with Pandaluna’s work at La Fraise, which is what I always think this one is at first. The shirt itself is fine, the market is just over-saturated.

Ballad Of The Birds by Daniel J Jacobs (DJakes979) is the other reprint, and similarly to another shirt printed this week it uses nature (this time birds) to show music. This one works better for me both because the bird/music connection is so clear and because the design is much less cluttered. My only gripe here is that the distressed grungy-ness is so dated-looking. I’d have preferred a more original visual take on this idea.

But overall, this is my favorite week of shirts at Threadless in quite some time. Too bad for me that the sale just ended!

24 December 2007 ~ 1 Comment

New This Week at Design By Humans

Design by Humans has some really fantastic additions to their collection this week, but instead of purchasing them immediately you should put them in your shopping cart and wait until Wednesday. That’s because Design By Humans is having a massive friends and family sale from December 25th to the 31st, taking a huge 35% off all orders with the code DBHFAM!

The shirt that most caught my eye this week is Little Bird’s in Heaven Now by Lupencia. It has a lot going for it: a savvy color palette, shirt placement that creates movement, and a concept that I’ve never seen done before. But what really won me over is the positioning of the characters. The human figure has two sets of arms, at once cradling the dead bird and standing idly by. The large bird figure moves its arms flamboyantly, both protecting the smaller bird and spinning him playfully. This is the kind of art that makes me eager to keep looking for new details.

Punkitecture by Supasilvio is a good-looking but funny shirt that stands out in a crowd. Punk rockers reimagined as columns, literal pillars in society. And the art, with its tight, textural lines, is more than a match for the freshness of the concept. It’s great to see something this original.

Evilism by MAKI is another one I quite like, pairing a charming cartooned drawing of a dinosaur with a cool printing technique: tight, thin circles course through the drawing, creating a hypnotic effect. The type surrounding the ravenous aliens is also fun, saying things like “Survival of the Meanest” and “Outer space does not exist fellas.” Good stuff.

!!!! by graphicairlines has the kind of collaged, illustrative feel that I think people are starting to associate with the Design By Humans brand. I like the colors used, and the sharpness of the mostly triangular shapes. My one tiny complaint is that the piece seems more focused at the center than I typically like- the overall shape is a little rectangular for me, and I might have preferred the design to be more dynamic when viewed at a distance. Still, it’s undeniably high quality- just not necessarily my cup of tea.

Elephants Hunt In Pairs by fatheed is a really nice visual joke. But, as with a lot of visual jokes, I’m not sure that a t-shirt is the best place for it. The overall shape and placement isn’t the kind of thing I look for in a shirt. That said, I really do like the joke a lot- the idea of elephants turning the tables on some whalers is really funny, and I’d love to see the concept animated.

So overall, DBH has done a really nice job of expanding their collection this week. Three of the shirts are ones that I’m considering a buy on, and the other two have merits as well despite not being to my taste.

22 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

I Love Being a Shit Talker: WInner Announced

Oh man. I have to say, I am overjoyed with the choice of the winner for the Perez Hilton (internet gossip person) and Pete Wentz (“clothing line owner,” “musician”) I Love Being a Shit Talker Contest.

It’s completely hideous, of course. A perfect representation of what I was talking about in my prior shit talker entry: if you’re not willing to pay for good design, you won’t get it. And what they got is exactly what the prize (one signed t-shirt) is worth.

Let’s talk about what’s wrong with this shirt:

• Puke green circles that mean nothing and add nothing (and it really, really resembles puke, because of the placement)

• Art that goes outside the usual printing boundaries for a shirt, adding to production costs

• Text that is unclear at best- no one would ever read that as saying “I love being a shit talker” (which, if you recall, was the one required element that all shirts needed to have)

Basically, this is a winner in so, so many ways. It’s just perfectly wrong. To the point where I wonder if they’ll even bother to print more than one- what customer would ever buy it?

Moral of the story: If you’re having a contest, give an actual prize. If there’s no reward, no one is going to do any work for you. Better luck next time, Clandestine Industries!

22 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Burnswell’s Big Deal T-Shirt Design Contest

Burnswell is currently known as a great t-shirt store- their catalog spans a number of styles, from retro vintage to artistic to cartoony. They’ve even got a pretty big sale going right now, with all in-stock designs going for either $5 or $10.

But Burnswell wants to be more than just another t-shirt store. They’re looking to find some new t-shirt talents through their Big Deal t-shirt competition. Six winners a month (two contests with three winners each) will be printed and sold as totally limited edition shirts, on sale for only three days and then gone forever. And of course the winners will be rewarded, in the form of free shirts and prizes of $300, $200 and $100 (depending on ranking). And if your design is a big seller, you could be entitled to an even larger prize (check out the FAQ for details).

It’s a great new contest, and I’m excited to see what people will come up with.

21 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #22: Other Words of the Year

Shirt.Woot‘s newest Derby is currently in session, soliciting entries based on the words that were candidates for Merriam-Webster’s 2007 Word of the Year. Woot and facebook entries will be rejected, but the rest of the list is fair game. The twist? Your shirt can’t have any text on it. Sounds like a nice challenge!

As always, voting is on-going so submit your entry as early as you can. The top three entries, as determined by voters, will be printed next weekend. Winners get up to $500 for the first day of sales and $2 per shirt sold on each day afterwards.

If you’ve submitted work to older Derbies, you might have regained the rights to sell your work outside of Woot (if it has been over 60 days since your submission). If you do this (maybe through CafePress, Bountee, or Spreadshirt) make sure you get your store listed on the Woot fan site Best Losers: in addition to making it easier for customers to find your shirt, you could win an Olive Garden gift certificate if you are the 100th uploader!

Also take a look at ShirtDerbyStats for comments on individual entries and vote estimates for fogged entries. Half the fun of the Derby is interacting with the Woot community!

20 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Uneetee’s Mystery Gift Certificates

Uneetee has a really interesting promotion going on right now- for $5, you can buy a gift certificate that is worth at least $7. Some will be worth as much as $100!

It’s a good deal for fans of the site, and for fans of original t-shirt design. Some of my favorite shirts at Uneetee include What? and Lenin, but there’s something available in the collection to suit every taste.

While you’re at the site, consider submitting your work for Uneetee’s monthly design competition or voting on designs that are already in the contest. A first place winner will receive $1500.

19 December 2007 ~ 1 Comment

Discogs Loves Threadless

Discogs is database just for music-related data, so it makes sense that their Loves Threadless contest has the theme of Music: Past, Present, Future. They’ve also pumped up the Threadless prize package of $2000 cash and a $500 gift certificate to include a 16GB iPod Touch, Shure SE 210 sound isolating earphones and a pair of Alesis M1 Active mk2 Biamp Monitors.

The deadline for this competition is January 20th, 2008.