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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.

27 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

The Comebacks Loves Threadless: Top Three

Now that the Loves Threadless contest for The Comebacks has passed the submission deadline, it is time to take a look at my top three picks for the winner:

I'll Pass - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Kolb’s I’ll Pass is easy to relate to, as I think even accomplished athletes have taken a minute here and there to just enjoy their surroundings. I love the sweetness of the image, and the drawing style just amplifies it. I think this is the front-runner in the competition, and I’d be more than happy to see a win for this one.

intimidation - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Katiecampbell’s Intimidation is great for totally different reasons. I love the way two styles combine in this design- it reminds me of how animals arch their backs and raise their fur to threaten predators. Except, you know, hilarious. I think the sign of how great this concept works is that I can perfectly image what those football players actually look like- even though they’re barely visible.

The Visiting Team - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

I’m pretty fond of Edword’s The Visiting Team, as well. Perhaps, given the current climate in the sporting world, the next generation of athletes really will be robots and lizards the size of buildings (steroids have side effects, right?). There are some other cool elements at play, too, such as the strong diagonal of the image (very visually pleasing) and the fact that the monsters play on even in the face of a destroyed city. Quitters never win, and these dudes are winners.

While I think the top tier of the Comebacks Love Threadless contest are pretty solid, overall this wasn’t a great competition. I think the combination of a terrible theme (Keep Your Eye On the Ball) and the sports focus didn’t do much to inspire the designers this time. So, while I have high hopes for a cool winner on this one, at the same time I never want to see another eyeball playing sports, ever.

25 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #14: Nutrition

The theme for this week’s Shirt.Woot Derby has been posted: Nutrition. There are a few restrictions this time, as Woot is specifically outlawing shirt designs that refer to beer, drugs or porn. Good call, Woot.

You can enter any time after Friday at noon, though early entries have a decided advantage in the voting process. The top three entries will be printed next weekend, and each winner will receive up to $500 for the first night of sales plus $2 per shirt sold after the first day. If this theme isn’t to your liking and you can set up a print-ready design file, you can bypass the Derby by submitting a design of any theme directly to Woot (you’ll get paid the same as Derby winners do).

The Derby fun never ends, thanks to Woot members who have set up websites for the Derby community. Best Losers is the place to go for interviews with winners, honorable mention awards, and links on where to buy past Derby designs directly from the artists. Meanwhile, dueling statistic sites ShirtDerbyStats (which features individual design comment forums) and Shirtstats (with personal stat tracking) provide up to date information on how all the entries are being scored.

24 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Family Circle Cup T-Shirt Competition


Any tennis fans in the house? Well, whether tennis is your sport or not, some lucky designer is going to walk away with $100 and tickets to the semi-finals and finals of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina.

They’re looking for a shirt that incorporates the fact that this is the Cup’s 35th anniversary. Other than that, anything goes. Submit your work before December 14th, 2007 for your chance to win.

24 October 2007 ~ 2 Comments

Water-Based Inks at A Better Tomorrow


A Better Tomorrow, Germany’s on-going streetwear design competition, has just announced that they will be offering water-based inks. This is in addition to the cleaner style of plastisol screenprinting that they already offer.

For more details, german-speakers can check out A Better Tomorrow’s blog. English-speakers, check out this translation for all the pertinent information:

“Until today we produced all shirtdesigns using the plastisol screenprint process only. From now on, we offer you a further technique with water-based (glazing) printing inks to give your creativity even more space. Thus you now have the possibility to get your style produced in a more “dirty way” – next to the very clean look from vector graphics mostly used.

Water-based printing inks are taken so that the print will feel more soft. The result is a design, that looks and feels as if it is almost part of the fibres of the shirts – very unlike the normal plastisol color printing which gives a thicker change to the surface. Glazing water-based colors are often used to transport a vintage look or to realise more canvas-like designs. The four primary CMYK colors can be printed above each other wet which will let the colors blend and will give you complete new possibilities regarding your T-shirt design.

For all you designers that means: marginal restrictions apply, only the one that your design must be in at least 150 dpi of actual size.

We are veeeery curious about your designs! Please find further infos in the blog or on the contest infopage.”

Sounds cool to me, I look forward to seeing artists take advantage of this technique.

23 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Ten Bills Seeks Artists


I’ve been a fan of Ten Bills for awhile now because they have great shirts at prices that I can actually afford. Two of my favorites are This Is a Blackberry and Once Upon a Time, which are both fun and stylish pieces.

If your style is a good fit for the Ten Bills aesthetic, you’re in luck: they’re currently looking for new artists to design t-shirts for them. Fill out the Artist Application form at Ten Bills for a shot at the gig.

22 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless


My favorite shirt at Threadless this week is unquestionably New World Order by Tony Aguero. The robot conquering the city collage is really fresh and the color palette is on point. The design works at several distances, which makes it a great fit for the shirt medium (I like the text that’s visible in closeup, and the overall form looks wicked from far away as well). It’s overcoming the handicap of a cream colored shirt quite well, and I’d consider a buy on this one.


The Gmail Loves Threadless winner was also announced this week: Hello, Dave by Robert Gould. I’ll be honest, this was not a favorite of mine. Since Google is such a computery thing, I would have preferred a winner that went in a less technological direction with the “Connect” theme. Still, the illustration is well done, the color scheme is nice, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-looking shirt with a giant old school computer on it. So if that’s your thing, have at it.


The Future Is Feeling by Neil Doshi is the Select for this week. There’s a lot to like: the front and back of the head are on the front and back of the shirt (awesome!), there are neat textures in the hair (whee!), and it even comes with a free headband (hooray!). But as with some of the other recent Selects, I wish there was more to set it apart from other Threadless shirts. I wish they’d experiment more with printing techniques, stepping up to the new standard set by Design by Humans.

Where the Watermelons Grow by Brian Walline is based on the song Down By the Bay (lyrics are also printed on the shirt). In the interest of full disclosure, I have always hated that song. Perhaps because of that fact, this shirt is not a favorite of mine. The bright, cartoony style of the drawing echoes the theme nicely, though, and people who are fans of that song (everyone in the world except me, apparently) have a cute shirt to call their own.


Good Guys Don’t Glow at Midnight by Ivan Leonardo Vera Pineros uses glow in the dark ink on a group of bad guys, and regular ink on the lone good guy, a fairy. If that sounds like a good concept to you, you are a fan of this shirt. I’m… kind of in the other camp on this one. I don’t really get why only bad guys would glow- to me, a fairy is more prone to glowing than any of the other beings featured. And while I typically enjoy icons, the ones in this design don’t speak to me. Horror fans probably feel differently.

Fall_ing by Christopher Garcia depicts leaves with grasping hands at the ends of their stems, letting go of the branch to fall to the ground. While I didn’t dig this one in voting, seeing it on a shirt improved it for me. I think it works well as a nature shirt with a subtle twist- the hands are only visible up close, so most viewers aren’t privy to the secret.


The first reprint of the week is Foxy by Lixin Wang, and I think it’s a worthy reprint. My usual complaint on reprints is that the color scheme should at least change a bit, but since this design wouldn’t work on any other color it escapes that criticism.

Ditto for Star Men in Moon’s Milk by Christopher Buchholz. A fun concept that’s not quite like any other shirt out there. Clever and gorgeous.

Overall, I’m not too keen on this crop of shirts. While I wouldn’t call any of them poorly done, they’re simply not unique enough to stand out from the t-shirt offerings of other companies. And while that might be fine for those other businesses, I expect more from Threadless because they have access to some of the best t-shirt design talent in the world. Given that fact, they should be able to put out an innovative and high-quality selection of shirts every week. For me, this week was simply not up to par.

21 October 2007 ~ 3 Comments

New This Week at Design By Humans

Some people left comments on previous entries with coupon codes for Design By Humans, so I’ll pass those along: XV8E16 is good for 15% off until October 22nd, and HWC036 is good for 15% off until October 29th. Enjoy!


Squid Count by akoelle is easily one of the more interesting shirts I’ve seen lately. The juxtaposition of the squids with numbers is fun (and a natural fit, given the numerous limbs squids boast) and the artwork itself is expressive and beautiful. This one is seriously testing my “no white shirts” rule.


Bow Master by skulldaggery is kind of a weird one for me. I like the idea of it, and ribbons swirling around other elements is something I tend to find visually appealing. But somehow, this one just leaves me cold. It’s not a reflection on the artist at all- I liked his Rocket Scientist design, and would have preferred to see a print on that one.

statueMan by theunenthusiast stands out from the rest of the shirts offered by DBH, which is always neat. I like the intricacy of the patterns and the main character has a lot of personality. Since this artist’s Robit was my early favorite for the $5000 competition, I’m glad to see him get a print.


tomburns’s We Are All In This Alone was my other favorite this week. It looks great, and there’s some meaning to be had as well. The cards that the characters hold in front of their faces are blank, but reaching. Their blind fumbles come close to the others in the scene, but never quite hit them. They’d have to drop the cards to finally make contact.

Futureshock by hogboy features an excellent use of both the front and back of the shirt. The front carries an image of the futuristic device assembled, and the back has the exploded diagram. The color scheme also raises the level of this design- those shades of blue are really attractive, and have a certain blueprint-y subtext.

Overall, a really nice week. I’m glad to see such artistic work being printed.