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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.

28 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New This Week at Design By Humans

Use code EKMKME before October 31st to get a 15% discount on your Design By Humans order. And if you have your own discount code, feel free to post it in the comments.

My favorite shirt this week was The Ultimate Shirt by Moss, but it was a difficult choice since there were so many cool designs. Just about every t-shirt cliche is featured (I’m especially partial to the smoking unicorn, but it’s all great). The style (reminiscent of the doodlings a high schooler might do in his notebook) kicks things up a notch. Totally solid.

Madre Tierra by Ninhol depicts a mother nature figure who is created from landscape patterns and homes. It has a great folk art feel to it, and the colors really pop on the brown shirt. The sheen accents (judging from the close up images, it looks like they’re used on the pink areas of the shirt) probably add a lot to this one in person, as well.

Goodbye Old Friend by Sonmi is the story of the sun mourning his friend, a snowman. The style is amazing, as there is a real sense of sorrow and weariness in the sun’s eyes. The color palette is another huge plus- it has an antique aura to it, which adds to the viewer’s understanding of the sun’s plight. He’s probably said goodbye to many more snowmen since the image was created. And, you know they were totally tight because they have such similar taste in hats! Poor sun.

Migrate South by cpdesign is one of the better penguin/flight shirts I’ve seen. The characterization of the penguin is interesting, as he’s full of grim determination (instead of hopeful, the direction most of these shirts seem to take). The attention paid to the background is also a selling point because I like the way simple bird outlines haunt the background and the angle of the clouds provides some additional visual interest.

Dead Pony by cbuchholz shows a Ford Mustang being ripped apart by vultures. It’s a cool visual even if (like me) you aren’t enough of a car person to get the car/horse pun. While some people in the comments are up in arms about the addition of splatters, I actually disagree- I think they add a grittier feel to the piece. It just looks like more of a finished product to me than it did previously. I’m considering purchasing this, and before it wasn’t even on my radar.

Overall, this was a fantastic week- some really top-tier artists were printed, and there was a nice variety in style and technique. Also, congratulations are in order for akoelle, whose Squid Count was named Shirt of the Week.

Remember, Design By Humans is an on-going t-shirt design competition. If you’ve got a great shirt concept, submit it for your chance at up to $3500 (plus residuals).

28 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Scribtee: ShirtCity’s Contest Has a Life of Its Own

Scribtee is the new t-shirt design competition on the block… though it’s not entirely new. Scribtee is an outgrowth of the contest that ShirtCity has been running, but now that they’ve got some great designs for sale, it’s ready for prime time.

And that incubation stage at ShirtCity means that Scribtee won’t have the same issues as a lot of other start ups. Their voting system is built to filter out people who score their own work highly and score everything else as low as possible. And experience has taught them to hide scores until after voting so that members won’t be unduly influenced.

The prevailing style at Scribtee so far is cartoons with clean lines, much like some of the punnier offerings at Threadless. At least twice a month new shirts will be selected from the designs submitted from Scribtee members, with the winner taking away $500 and a $50 Scribtee gift certificate. If a non-winner is chosen to be printed, that designer will get $300 and a $50 Scribtee gift certificate.

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.