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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.

10 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

In addition to printing nine shirts this week, Threadless also presented their Bestee awards. My favorite pick of theirs was Fox and Hare by Julia Sonmi Heglund as Best Abstract Design- I picked that one up when it first printed and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

For me, Existential Clutter by Joel Cocks (Joelnz) is the best shirt printed this week. The style of it is awesome, showing the grids that form each item. The specific elements shown are pretty random, but the artistry is evident in the way the items are balanced and arranged (for instance, the heft of the basketball is negated by the earth on the opposite angle). I was concerned that the design would look a bit boxy when printed, but I’m glad that the photographs shown seem to prove me wrong- it looks great.

Blonde on Blonde by Joshua Kemble (polynothing) is based on the song by the same name (which, actually, I’ve never heard). It’s about the way rain takes hold of the imagination, with heavy rainfall taking on the characteristics of a legendary flood. Cats and dogs appear in the drops almost like constellations and one unfortunate umbrella-less pedestrian gets an imaginary deep-sea diver helmet. It’s a really cool idea, though I’m not crazy about how it looks on the shirt. For me, the corner building is too weighty, distracting attention from the coolness of the rain concept.

This week’s Select is Brat Party by Jon Knox Griffin (beingjon), and it’s a stand-out. The thick-lined style and use of repetitive visuals is unique to this week’s shirts, with the multitude of colors (I’m guessing that’s the reason for the high price tag, as well) popping from the shirt. Definitely a cool look.

Collateral Damage by Andy Gonsalves (andyg) reminds me of Roger Rabbit, with a gleeful cartoon scene about to be obliterated by the harshness of reality. The colors and styles are dead-on, with each element of the comic illustration fitted with a face and happy expression. The interesting shape of the design looks really interesting and fresh on the printed shirt as well.

Battle of E-5 by Dan Rule is a cool design exploiting the drama of simulated battle- in the background, a chess piece lays prone and all the horses have a diamond pattern that evokes a deck of cards. The colors are appropriately rugged, and the illustration’s movement makes for a unique-looking shirt. For a chess fan, I think this design is pretty must-have.

Konrad The Magician by BalletCats is well-drawn, with proportions that are a near-perfect fit for the t-shirt medium. Unfortunately, it’s also a drawing of a silly-looking magician. For that reason, no matter how nice the shirt is, it’s a hard sell for me. I mean… magic. It’s a staple of kids’ birthday parties, not a cool shirt subject. For someone without my magic hang-up though, this could be a nice design.

Make Love Not War by Paul Burgess fits the mold of most of Threadless’s classic shirts- it’s a play on nostalgia that also makes a powerful statement. The boldness of the design is appealing, with the primary colors demonstrating just how basic the message really is. That said, the price is kind of insane. At $20, it’s a full $5 more than customers were paying just a few weeks ago, and in this case there really isn’t any added value evident.

Reprinted this week: I Listen To Bands… by Evan Ferstenfeld (FRICKINAWESOME) and Stabby McKnife by Springfish.

Overall, a pretty nice week. If the Spring Sale happens soon, a few of these will probably find their way into my cart. The prices, though, mean I can’t imagine buying anything except the most irresistible shirts outside of the sale- it seems that the average shirt runs $20, and without any sort of specialty printing technique that’s a bit rich for my blood.

09 March 2008 ~ 3 Comments

New This Week at Design By Humans

If you buy anything at Design By Humans, save a few bucks with their coupon code: DBH22. That should get you a nice 15% discount on any order.

Made of Steel by a_mar_illo is an amazing illustration by one of my favorite artists, and easily the best shirt this week. I love the colors, the way it mixes elements of femininity and the masculinity of metal work… even the era it evokes (twenties and thirties style, sigh). It’s almost perfection. So why isn’t it already in my shopping cart? Because the print is too damn huge. I know this is kind of a DBH style thing, but the fact is I just don’t want more than one or two shirts with an all-over print.

Crustacean! by josh is a revolutionary claw. I love crustaceans madly, they’re my favorite thing to draw, and even I’m a tough sell on this shirt, though. It feels like an in-joke no one has bothered to explain, or maybe like leftover aft from the game Just Cause.

Sing a new song by fabiosimple is tough to explain. It’s a headless dude, a lady, and a bird. And some splotches of color and patterns. And the text, Sing a New Song. Truthfully, I’m not even sure what it’s getting at. A lot of the elements seem added for purely aesthetic reasons, but… they’re not attractive to me, or really interesting. Even the colors are weird, oddly drab for a design with pink and yellow.

Sketchy Audience by tomburns is nearly identical to a shirt also sold at PaperRoot, as they are both based on the same stock photograph. The Burns version has the advantage of incorporating a sketched look, but they really do look really similar and to me the world barely needed one shirt like this. It’s just not a tremendously interesting look to me, disappointing from someone who I know has achieved some much better work in the past.

Calaberaskool by figueras is interesting mainly because of the technique used- the design is printed on the interior of the shirt, allowing the design to bleed through to the front. To me, this transformed the skull illustration (previously not really something I had any interest in) into a more subtle and experimental looking design. I’m considering a purchase on it just because I’ve never seen a shirt using this technique in person and I’m curious about it.

Overall, kind of a disappointing week. I feel like DBH may be a bit boxed in by their enjoyment of large prints- it seems like a lot of recent prints have used that method, and even more Shirt of the Week winners have relied on it. To me, that enjoyment is a bit out of step with the market- the feedback I’ve been getting consistently about DBH is that the skulls, trees, and big prints are too common. Personally, I’m mainly interested in the inks and techniques, not the size.

08 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Jake Nickell Interviewed at GearCrave

Jake Nickell from Threadless just did an interview at GearCrave and dropped some interesting tidbits. Here are the highlights:

• Threadless hopes to open a kids’ store in Chicago and a store in Boulder, CO by the end of 2008.

• Two “notable additions” to the product line announced in 2008

• Starting this spring, Naked & Angry will begin releasing a new product every month.

Very cool, I think the thing that keeps Threadless on top of their game is that they’re always working to evolve and better serve their audience.

(link via Custom T-Shirt Talk)

08 March 2008 ~ 1 Comment

Burnswell’s Big Deal Competition Ends

Bad news for Big Deal fans- Burnswell is discontinuing their Big Deal t-shirt design competition due to lack of interest. Although this past contest resulted in the highest sales figures yet, the staff decided that there just weren’t enough submissions to make the contest worthwhile.

It’s too bad that more submissions weren’t made, Burnswell did a great job of selecting and printing the winners. One of my favorites, Create, has quickly become one of my favorite shirts. The good news is that though the contest is over (for now, it’s always possible that Burnswell will bring it back if interest increases), several of the designs still live on in the Burnswell store.

06 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #33: Lyrics Illustrated

Another great theme this week for the Shirt.Woot Derby: Illustrated Lyrics. The only rules are that it has to be a song people will reasonably have heard of, there can’t be any text on the shirt, and the title of the entry must be “Inspired by (Insert Song Title).” This week should be great for creative entries.

The derby opens for entries Friday at noon, and stays open until Wednesday at noon. Voting is on-going from Friday until Thursday at noon. At the end of the week, the top three entries (as chosen by voters) will be printed. Each winning entry nets the printed designer up to $500 for the first night of sales and a possible $2 per sale after the first 24 hours.

Derby entrants should also check out Best Losers and Shirt Derby Stats for more (unofficial) Derby fun.

06 March 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Women’s Sale at Camiseteria

Camiseteria is in the midst of Semana das mulheres- or, for the English-speaking among us, Week of the Women. It’s a great opportunity for girls to buy at Camiseteria– all womens shirts are marked down from R$55 to $R30.

Pictured above are just two of the many cool shirts that girls have to choose from: Silencie by Matheus Lopes and Ice-Kremlin by Egon Zakuska.

Camisetria is Brazil’s most popular on-going t-shirt competition. Winning designers (who can be from anywhere around the world) earn R$600 cash and R$400 in Camiseteria products when their work is printed.

04 March 2008 ~ 2 Comments

City Built of Rock and Roll at Uneetee

Uneetee‘s newest winner is City Built of Rock and Roll by Aaron Burk. And as much as I truly dislike having to give negative reviews, this absolutely requires one. Stylistically, it’s not my thing- I think the type should form the outline of the skyline instead of being constrained by one. The outline is not even particularly accurate, as the angles are all uneven and the type often falls far short of their margins. The unevenness of the drawn text is another demerit, as only a few band titles have been attempted in their actual style (most are just generic bubble letters). This all makes it not my style, but if that was all that was wrong with the shirt I’d still be more or less neutral (after all, most people are not the sticklers for detail that I am).

What kills the shirt is that the very first name I attempted to read of the shirt is a spelling error. The tippy-top of the second tower from the left proudly proclaims BLACK SABATH. I assume a B was misplaced in the process of assembling this shirt, but it is frankly a bit shocking that such a glaring error made it past the voting stage, the staff, and all 80+ buyers so far. I mean, I don’t even listen to Black Sabbath!

Here’s hoping the error has time to be fixed before anything is printed.