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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.

13 December 2007 ~ 1 Comment

Threadless Loves Revolution

Usually when Threadless has a specifically themed contest, it’s being sponsored by a company, a film or a band. This time, though, the contest is purely sponsored by Threadless and the Threadless community. To that effect, the judging will be done by one blogger, one designer, and one Threadless staff member.

The prizes are also a little different than the typical competition- Threadless has supersized the prize, offering $3500 cash and a $500 gift certificate. And the community has stepped up in a big way, contributing original artwork, shirts and more (the growing list can be found here).

So what do you have to do to win all this? First, bear in mind that the theme is Revolution– Threadless is looking for stuff that breaks boundaries and tries new things (and remember that they’ve recently added a collection of new printing techniques…). There’s also a pretty lengthy list of what they don’t want to see: food with faces, 80’s pop culture jokes, iPod silhouettes, pirates and/or/vs. ninjas, anything vs. anything, emo crooners, cute for cute’s sake, and trees for tree’s sake… and specifically that ONE tree.

And… they’ve got a point, you have to admit. I’m excited to see what people come up with for this one. The deadline for submitting is January 31st, 2008- so if you want to start a revolution, you’d best begin planning quickly.

12 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Artevist Seeks Cycling and Extinction Designs


Artevist, your source for well-designed shirts with an activist message, has introduced two new contests to the site. The Cycling Rocks competition’s goal is to promote bikes as an ecological necessity. Meanwhile, animal lovers will be inspired by the Picture Extinction contest, which aims to educate viewers about a species that faces extinction. Both very worthy causes, and with a lot of visual potential.

All winners of Artevist contests will receive $700 and 7% of the sale price for each shirt with their design that is sold. You have until March 31st, 2008 to submit for the Cycling Rocks challenge, and until June 30th, 2008 for the Picture Extinction contest. If those themes don’t get your creative juices flowing, consider trying Tee in Beijing (exploring any issue related to that Olympics) or in the Monthly General Selection category, where anything goes.

11 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Good Loves Threadless

Good Magazine Loves Threadless! They also love Big Ideas, which is the theme for the eighth issue of their magazine and also the theme for this contest. The winner will be racking up an impressive array of prizes in addition to the standard $2000 cash and $500 Threadless gift certificate, including a Paul Frank Cruiser bicycle, a Meraki Mini wireless router, aromatherapy products from 4Mula, luxury organic goods from Under The Canopy, Baggu reusable shopping bags and a GOOD Magazine t-shirt (what, no magazine subscription?).

Enter before January 15th, 2007 for your chance to win.

11 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Uneetee’s $12 Sale

Uneetee is in the midst of a $12 sale right now and running until December 14th, with hoodies marked down to only $29. Uneetee has built up a fairly extensive collection of shirts, so you’re bound to find something you like.

Two of my favorites are Dream of the Flying Geisha by Edno Jr. and So This Is Hello by Simon Walker.

While you’re there, vote on the submissions in the current month’s t-shirt design competition or submit your own entry. The first place winner will receive $1500 and other prizes are available.

10 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

$10 Sale Continues, More New Shirts at Threadless

Okay, clearly Threadless has too much time on their hands. Somehow- in the midst of opening an offline store, running a $10 sale, adding new print options and starting to print on the new Threadless brand of shirts- they’ve found the time to create a completely new article of clothing. They’ve invented a hooded onesie, which they have dubbed the Hoodsie, and this week five Threadless designs are available on it.

Number 7 by Tim Biskup is this week’s Select, and it’s a doozy. The shirt itself is a replica of the cover of the seventh issue of Faesthetic, and a copy of the book comes free with each purchase of the shirt (the book is sold for $25 if bought separately). The first 50 people to buy will be especially lucky- they’ll walk away with crayons and a print by artist Mike Dey. What’s more, Threadless has partnered with Faesthetic to become their official producer and distributor, so there’s more of this type of promotion to come. Anyway, the design on this shirt is really tight- the edges are clean and sharp, contrasting nicely with the circles and drippings.

Beasts Of England by Simon Walker (mikemills) is based on Animal Farm, a book that I have somehow never read. But, from the shirt I can gather that the pigs rule the roost at the farm, controlling other animals who try to escape their grasp. And if my interpretation, as someone who isn’t familiar with the book, is correct then that just proves that the design is a success from an informational perspective. I like the way the other animals have one foot in the barn even as they try to escape, but the pigs are completely free to attack the others with all their might. The intertwining of the figures and the length of their escape is very attractive.

A Is For Arrow, B Is For Bomb by MAKI (matthijs) uses the arrows to create a really nice shape on the tee. It’s overwhelming, and the bomb is a bit of a sympathetic character- the lines and colors give the impression that his technology might be outdated enough to make this a fair fight.

Work In Progress by Karim Zaouai (chubzy) is a cool graphic- it shows an ordinary dude becoming a sign graphic. But while I think this is a neat idea, I don’t think it’s a good fit for the t-shirt medium. Most of the graphic elements are too small to appreciate for most viewers, and you’d have to stand still and have someone stare for a bit before they understood what the point of the shirt was. The fact that the final sign is so prominent helps with this somewhat, but not enough.

Bone Idol by Stuart Colebrook (Bramish) is a simple concept done perfectly. The shirt becomes the skull, setting it instantly apart from most other skull shirts. The unevenness of the features adds to the style of this, not that the concept needed any help.

On My Honor by Jesse Lefkowitz (Leftist Jesuit) calls to mind the classic style of designers like Saul Bass and Milton Glaser. It was a simpler time, when bold, colorful illustration ruled the day and people were always true to their word… unless they hid crossed fingers behind their back. More than any other shirt this week, this design made me think about how far the artwork on a shirt could extend to do new things.

Ways Of Making You Talk by Aaron Hogg (hogboy) was pretty much dead to me from the start because of the subject matter. The idea of wearing implements of torture is, to me, completely creepy. Some people see the inclusion of the feather as adding a light-hearted element, but to be honest I just don’t see it- sometimes torture involves making the subject uncomfortable, not just causing them pain, so to me it still fits with thee rest. Plus, I’ve got to say that I’m not so much feeling this type of shirt- like Rayguns, Radios, Keys, and Grills (this list is off the top of my head, which is just frightening) before it, I’m a little confused on why people like wearing a giant rectangle of stuff. Can we at least use some different shapes?

Beelzebub by Rob Gould (Robsoul) is a cool take on what the rest of that neighborhood watch guy might look like. The artist’s sharp, textural lines give a gritty feel to the grasping claws (one of which aims to cut down the warning sign, in a particularly nice touch) and the oozing tentacles. I also got a laugh out of the beast’s hand position, as he almost seems to be indicating, “Who, me?” Or maybe he’s just clutching at his coat, which is lucky for the viewer- I’d hate to see what’s hiding in there!

What If They Fought? by Jonathan Stone (jinosan) is a cool concept (every monster and archetype you can think of, in the midst of an epic battle) with nice linework. So it’s a real shame that it is so utterly destroyed by the coloring. There’s not nearly enough contrast to make out much of the battle, and it all kind of blend together like mud. The girls color scheme on silver is a bit better, but still suffers from legibility issues. Maybe in the future they’ll give this a reprint and fix the colors, because I think otherwise it has merit.

Watch Your Back by Chow Hon Lam (Feishu) is a great use of both the front and back of the tee. On the front, a heavily patterned character poses with his bow. On the back, a single arrow is embedded in the shirt. The shade of yellow pops on the shirt, especially when paired with the white of the arrow on back. It’s an amazing shirt, one of my favorites this week.

Let’s Go Parasoling by Whitney Amelia Frederick (BACONnEGGS) is also a shirt being sold this week. I’m trying not to be too negative, but man… I just really dislike this one. The concept is a retread on several levels- Threadless has a shirt with a bunch of Poppinses drifting on umbrellas already, and beyond that dandelion shirts have been done many times before both on and off Threadless, and they’re usually more attractive than this one. The line quality isn’t particularly good, the colors are uninspired… I have no idea how this got printed. It is genuinely shocking to me. Most vexing: the fact that the umbrellas are all copied and pasted, and all lop-sided. Nobody thought to clean that up before it printed? Really? I can only assume the whole staff was busy inventing the Hoodsie and this is one of the details that ended up being overlooked.

The Internet Was Closed… by Evan Ferstenfeld (FRICKINAWESOME) is this week’s Type Tee, and as slogans go it’s pretty decent. The problem with this is entirely in the execution- it looks like three white bars. Even in the product pictures that Threadless provides, the text is illegible. Also, what an ugly font. It looks like it came from a computer in the seventies, not the kind of thing anyone would associate with a computer that has existed in the last decade.

In A Comic by Ross Zietz (arzie13) is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s a great implementation of a simple concept. The subtle halftones and the shadow of the speech bubble raise the level of the shirt. My only quibble is with the Hoodsie edition- the speech bubble doesn’t even get close to pointing at the mouth.

Breaking The Sound of Music by Samuel Lara is a Select reprint, which explains all the colors. It shows a broken piano, from which colorful lines spring to form other instruments. To me, it represents the crushed dreams of all the poor kids who had to take piano lessons instead of learning the instruments they really wanted to. It could mean a lot of things, which is a strength of this design, and the colors look amazing from any distance.

Sorry, but I hate Everyone Poops by Chris Lee Jones (tophjones). It’s a boring, pedestrian idea that is more at home at CafePress than from a site that features some of the best shirt designers in the industry. I’ve never understood why people even bother to trot out the old “everyone poops” line. Everyone knows that, obviously- it’s a dismissive, simplistic attitude to have, particularly about something as important as the often wildly divergent nature of political parties.

Upso by Upso is a goofy CMYK masterpiece. I love the bold sense of fun, created out of the skull that typically represents fear and death. The styling is solid as well, the lines used as showing on the skull are a neat touch.

Monkey Attack by Gabriel Suchowolski (microbians) shows a monkey person throwing poo. If you are the type of person who finds this to be delightful, then we are probably very different sorts of people. I just find it kind of dull. I like the splash of color behind the throwing arm, but everything else is kinda lame.

Beautiful Land by Jemma Gura (lentil) is exactly the kind of early Threadless design that I don’t understand. It’s a map. It’s exploding from the center. It has a bunch of huge dots for some reason. Oh, and it has the artist’s logo on it. If it conveyed some kind of information, I’d be able to look past the fact that I don’t find it particularly attractive (not say it’s ugly, it just doesn’t evoke anything in me). But as near as I can tell, it doesn’t serve a purpose beyond looking good on a shirt, and it failed for me on that count.

Overall, I found this to be the weakest week of the sale. There were a few gems, but a lot of really questionable choices.

09 December 2007 ~ 3 Comments

New This Week at Design By Humans

Design By Humans had a great collection of new shirts this week, and I’ve got some new codes that will help you to buy them and save some cash. Try code ADXRJQ or SRXYTX for a 15% discount on your purchase. And I’m always looking for new codes, so if you’ve got one of your own, post it in the comments and I’ll list it at the top of my next Design By Humans post.

I’m a huge fan of Monsieur Pimpant, and Tell You Grand Ma is his best shirt yet. The concept is hilarious, showing cats as the speech bubbles of a group of old women. But the details are just as nice; each cat is paired with the perfect grandmother, often sharing facial similarities and expressions. The style is an asset here as well, giving additional shared qualities to the pairs. Very fun! I’d been collecting my favorite shirts in my shopping cart at DBH, but this is the one that made me finally send the order through.

Family Album by willypiva is another great idea- memorable family moments extrude from a camera. There’s a wedding, an athlete, an antique car, the family dog, a deep-sea diver and more, drawn with a bright gradient that stands out on the heather gray shirt. The strong angle of the image aids the eye in traveling around the scene, because there’s a lot to enjoy.

Cowgirl and Indian Princess by mezo turns the old cowboys and indians theme on its head, letting the girls have their moment in the sun. The illustrative style is top-notch, but the coloring is where this image really sings- there’s a real sense of warmth present, while it still remains true to the western-style children’s book drawings that probably inspired it. I think my favorite aspect is the steady gaze of the girls, conveying that they are more than up for the challenge presented by the gender switch in the composition.

Seek and Enjoy by kennybanzai is a colorful explosion on legs. There’s a face and hands hiding in there too, mixed among all the Pure Awesome. The creature is full of motion, but despite his legs he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere because of his shirt placement (large and centered on the shirt). While this might have been the artist’s intention, I think I would have preferred it a bit smaller and off to the right a bit- to me, that would have made a nicer contrast between the interior and exterior motions. It’s still a great piece, though, and I’d be interested in seeing the black shimmer ink used in person.

My second favorite of the week is F.A.C.E.S. by dhectwenty. Like his previous winner at DBH, it is a masterpiece of color. The thick, active lines really appeal to me, and it makes a great contrast with the rougher erased areas near the eyes. A really amazing piece.

Overall, a nice selection of shirts. My favorite thing is all the different styles used- DBH is putting together the most varied collection of shirts on the internet in that respect. That said, I’m kind of eager to get some more variation in shirt color from them. Everything seems black, grey or muted lately, and I’d like to see more stuff on bold reds, greens, and blues.

08 December 2007 ~ 2 Comments

Can U Believe It? A Christian T-Shirt Design Contest

Sites with on-going t-shirt design contests are wildly popular. They’re especially popular with teens, many of whom self-identify as Christian. So it’s no surprise that someone crunched the numbers and Can U Believe It?, the world’s first on-going Christian t-shirt design contest was born.

The contest feature represents an evolution for the site, which previously sold shirts designed by professionals. But they seem committed to the change, and specific sub-competitions to design shirts involving Christian music groups are planned.

As in all good contests, there’s a prize for winning- designers get $1000 if their work is printed. They also get the satisfaction of knowing that a portion of the profits that their shirt brings in will be donated to charity (the current charity is for San Diego fire recovery).