Hi! Welcome...

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.

14 November 2007 ~ 3 Comments

Monkey Business, New at Gorilla Tank

Gorilla Tank has a new shirt in their store, Monkey Business by NataS. I confess, I am… not so much a fan of this one. I just don’t get it. Okay, a monkey wants you to mind your own business. Is it funny because a monkey calls the viewer a monkey? And, how is the phrase mind your own business even raised? Is it now a weird invasion of privacy to read someone’s shirt? It feels like an in-joke that I’m not in on.

I’m not crazy about the art, either- the monkey is made of pixels (for no reason, it adds nothing), but the text is not (which is just annoyingly mis-matched). And the placement is weird- I like stuff in the lower corner of the shirt, but here it seems in direct opposition to the concept. The monkey should be centered on the chest, so that he aggressively enters into the conversation of the wearer, in my opinion.

While this design was a bust for me, I’ve liked some of Gorilla Tank’s shirts in the past. PB & Jelly Wrestling and Superfly are very nice shirts, buy those instead.

13 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Six New Winners at SplitReason

Split Reason has printed six new designs from their on-going design competition, let’s take a look…

The first design is called Beat Down, with small text that states “If you can read this, you’re about to get beat down.” At first it cracked me up, because what kind of idiot would get that close to something so obviously threatening (a raised fist)? Then I remembered my game of Call of Duty 4 yesterday, wherein I snuck up behind a dude and tried to stab him directly in the head for maximum humiliation- only to pause briefly, wondering what gun he was using, and getting stabbed in a very embarrassing manner myself. Anyway, the bold, iconic nature of this one works for me, especially the sharpness of the thumb.

Crop Circles is exactly what it sounds like, an overhead view of a field full of crop circles. The overly complicated nature of this set of circles and shapes makes it clear that something unearthly is responsible. I love this one, and it really got my imagination going- what if aliens were building patterns like argyle, or even a massive game of connect the dots? Would that really be any weirder than all those circles?

Mad Science has text promoting the Institute of Mad Science (inspiring death, destruction and world domination). And it makes sense, when you think about it- all those mad scientists are pretty much working out of the same play book, it figures that they all picked up those tricks from the same place. I’m picturing a class called Talking Endlessly About Your Plans, Which Allows the Hero To Escape 101.

Of all the shirts, the only one I don’t really care for is Major Ownage. But, given the name, it’s not really aimed at people like me- it’s aimed at the people who stab me when I try to sneak up on them in COD4. I do not own. At best, I rent. *sigh*

Ninja Victim is an idea I’ve seen a lot of people attempt, but this is the most successful implementation of the concept I’ve seen (and the only one I’ve seen printed). The thing that always cracks me up about it is this: Ninjas are stealthy. They will slice you in two without a sound. So why did it take so many weapons this time? Maybe there’s a whole team of ninjas, and you are just their unlucky practice target. Maybe you’re even quicker than all those damn ninjas, and those wounds are mere grazes. It is all very confusing.

My favorite concept of this bunch has got to be WWJDFTW?, which is just really inspired. I think he’d play a lot of Team Fortress, endlessly medgunning Heavys. The other highlight is the absence of a PS3 controller (presumably he’s waiting for Little Big World), as an Xbox controller, a Wii nunchuck and even a Nintendo zapper are pictured. He’ll forgive your sins, but there’s no forgiving a crappy game lineup, I guess.

If you’ve got your own shirt designs with a nerd or gamer twist, try your luck in SplitReason’s ongoing contest. If your work is chosen, you’ll get $250 and a free shirt.

12 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

Threadless‘s winner in the E for All Loves Threadless contest is a great choice: Hero Within by Mikko Walamies (Mikko Terva). The way the linework creates so much texture is neat, and the use of dotted lines is also very effective. Using a gold ink on this one adds a sense of importance to the composition, which is pretty funny for a video game shirt.

My favorite of the week, though, has got to be Fox and Hare by Julia Sonmi Heglund (sonmi). It’s really a masterpiece of line and color, with animals and shapes overlapping to form a new whole. It has the appearance to me of being this insane biological collage, like some crazed (but artistic) genius built this in his underground lab. It’s a ridiculously good shirt, is what I’m saying.

Big Cats by Lawrence Charles Mann (onemannbrand) is a great one-color print. The large image of the tiger is constructed with tons of cat silhouettes, which is a good idea. It pretty much needs the orange shirt to work, though, so I have no idea why it’s been printed on yellow for kids and babies. Kind of an odd choice there.

Get Back to Nature by Simon Massey di Vallazza (francobolli) is another favorite of mine this week. It’s like a coloring book filled in by an acid-addled hippie. Or a relic from some sort of newly primitive future. It’s hard to pin down, which is almost always a mark of greatness. I dig the colors and the raw enthusiasm of the character.

Muzak Homage by Tony Wood (johnny_quest) is a great image, though I feel it lends itself more to a poster or a magazine illustration than to a t-shirt. The focus of the shirt is people alternately bored and rocking out in elevators (which also resemble an equalizer, of course). A great concept, but because of the nature of the t-shirt medium I feel like most viewers will never notice most of this (and, what really kills it for me is that the overall shape of the design is just not very visually appealing at a distance).

Sensory Overload by Ed Pincombe (Edword) has the perfect shirt placement- it kind of cascades across the entire front of the tee. The little teal characters are fantastic, and I like the highlighting of the nervous system and their huge grasping hands. Definitely a cool, unique piece.

Now on to the reprints… Fathom Farewell by Ross Zietz (arzie13) is a shirt that I am hugely biased about, because it is one of the first Threadless shirts I ever owned. Highlights of the design are the strong vertical of the image and the way the water is shown as light blue waves on the boat.

Emotional Trip by Glenn Flanagan-Dutton (artictiger) is a shirt that I just don’t get. It’s really negative (only depression is on time, all happy emotions are either delayed or canceled), and even worse it’s not very interesting looking. The bulk of the shirt is a huge flight information board, and those are just boring and ugly by their basic nature. I’d also like to register some general disappointment at the fact that this was reprinted on the same color it had last time, which is lame. This would work on any color, so I see no benefit to leaving it on burgundy (surely blue would be more thematically appropriate?).

Looking at this week’s shirts as a whole, I’m pretty happy with the selection. I’m glad to see that there was more emphasis on art (Fox and Hare, Get Back to Nature and Sensory Overload) than on talking food and lame puns, which is for me a huge step in the right direction. Hopefully next week will be more like this, too. It’s also nice to see the gold foil in use on Hero Within, which makes me wonder when we’ll start seeing more shirts with special printing techniques in the store.

11 November 2007 ~ 2 Comments

New This Week at Design By Humans

There’s a great selection of new shirts this week at Design By Humans. I’ve also got some coupon codes: FP207N, which expires on November 21st, 2007 and DRHXSD, which expires on November 22nd, 2007. If you have a coupon of your own, post it in the comments and I’ll put it at the top of my next Design By Humans post.

Mine Shaft 4 – Gold Found by bortwein is my favorite of the week. It depicts a series of skeletons embedded in the number 4, which represents the mine shaft. The 4 is crossed out, which adds to the sense of this being a forbidden area. There’s also some really fantastic use of foil- the uncrossed-out area of the 4 is done in silver foil, while the one nugget of gold is gold foil. The small size of the nugget (in comparison to the huge skeletons and X mark) makes this really interesting. The X marks the spot, but there’s a high cost for this small treasure.

Destroy Coral by huebucket is a beautiful piece. It is kind of a visual rumination on a woman and the sea, with parts of each converging to form a new image. The figure’s hair takes on the appearance of seaweed, and her tears become bubbles exhaled by the fish. I love the strong vertical created by the anchor, and the splash of red in the anchor’s rope does a good job of adding interest and connecting the two halves of the image.

Viscera by valorandvellum grabbed my attention with its color palette. The concept behind it got my imagination running as well- the bear has an image of a gorgeous landscape within him, which he breathes out in colorful embroidery. The contrast of the embroidered trees with the drawn texture of the bear and the solidness of the interior landscape is really neat- it makes the landscape within the bear look like the most real part of the scene. Awesome!

Night Shepherd by shiroshock is a really fantastic drawing, and also a great fit for the t-shirt medium. There’s a lot of chaotic, expressive linework in the main character, which is a nice contrast with the bold, irregular stripes of the crown and stag. It stands out in the Design By Humans collection as being more roughly constructed than the rest, and I’d love to see more things like this been printed.

The Control Room by Bramish is I think the largest size print that I’ve seen at DBH- the print wraps around to cover almost all of the width of the shirt. It’s a great technique, made even better by the transformation that happens in the image as it turns around the shirt. On the front, you see the control panels. On the back, you get to see the wiring that makes those complicated controls function. With all the intricacy of line, its easy to forget that it was all done in just one color. Very cool.

Over all, a fantastic week- maybe even the best week yet. I’m considering a purchase on four of the five shirts this week, which is insane. I almost hope that next week sucks, just so that I can save some money!

11 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #16: Information Graphics

I forgot to mention the Shirt.Woot Derby when it opened to submissions this Friday (blame the release of Call of Duty 4, it ate most of my week). The theme is Information Graphics, and it has caused a lot of confusion and plagiarized concepts so far this week… as well as the occasional gem.

As always, the top three designs (as voted for by the Woot community) will be printed next weekend, with the printed designers earning up to $500 plus $2 for every shirt sold after the first day of sales.

09 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Teetonic’s Scotland Collection Winner

Teetonic has announced a winner in the Tennent’s Scotland Collection contest: Scotland’s 12th Man by tartansparkle. I think it’s a good choice, as this design is clear and iconic. I think the text is fairly unnecessary, though, and if it needed to be present it should have been treated differently. Still, even this text treatment is vastly superior to the text this design was subbed with, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.

08 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Tip: Show Your Shirt Designs on a Real Tee

It’s pretty much a proven fact that showing your shirt designs on an actual person will improve your scores in any contest where voting is involved. It makes it easier for voters (your potential customer base) to image themselves wearing your t-shirt. Plus, you can avoid the ugliness of most company-provided templates.

viralVISUAL, a Threadless member, has set up a guide on how you can quickly and easily switch the shirt color on an image- making it easy for designers to accurately represent what their shirt will look like when it is ultimately produced.