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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.

30 December 2007 ~ 1 Comment

35% off and New Shirts Added at Design By Humans

Design By Humans‘s friends and family sale continues through the end of the month, so use the code DBHFAM to get 35% off your order. And if you order after that, try the code 512FC6 for 15% off until January 5th. The code UK8AP4 will get you 15% off until December 10th. As always, let me know if you have a coupon code for DBH- I’ll list it at the top of my next DBH post.

Holy badass, Battlesnake! by Leon is awesome… It’s a very unique image, combining two threatening objects into one incredible composition. The snake writhes its way through a gleaming pair of brass knuckles, fangs bared and ready to strike. Action, texture and a rugged shirt color combine to make this my must-have of the week.

T Forest Guardian by BubuSam is a neat, textural piece that shows trees growing on the back of a turtle, with their roots forming a pattern similar to that on actual turtles. I’m not particularly into the half-toning though- heavy use of halftones for shading and textures is something that I find pretty distracting, as the bulk of it often takes my eyes away from the details of a design. The yellowness of the color palette doesn’t really inspire me, either. Still, I can say that while this shirt doesn’t suit me, it’s very well done. I’m passing on it, but I would still recommend it to others.

Medusa Monkey Version by cmarts is a solid image, using a nicely cartooned image of a monkey’s medusa-like hair (I found the style to be reminiscent of Jamie Hewlett‘s work). But for me, where this shirt really shines is in the printing techniques- DBH has embroidered a texture into the hair. And that’s the kind of subtle detailing that makes me such a fan of the company.

Bird and Blossoms by DrStein is a gorgeous, painterly design that captures the bird so realistically, I almost expect it to move. When people talk about t-shirts as art, this is the kind of shirt they’re talking about. That said, I have one reservation- there’s a huge yellow splotch behind the design (kind of looks like a lily pad) and for me, it’s a major distraction. It lacks the delicacy of the rest of the image, and is the sole reason I’m not buying a copy. Which is too bad, because otherwise it is pretty close to perfection.

To be frank, Controlled Chaos by jsheldon is a huge disappointment for me. It looks like a vector pack ad from the mid-nineties, not a modern, well-designed shirt. What I typically respond to at DBH is the unique, artistic shirt collection, so I’m sad that they’re now carrying something that looks so generic to me. It was a good decision to get rid of the ridiculous texture from the original submission (which was even more generic, believe it or not), but I don’t see anything in this worth printing at all.

Overall, it wasn’t a favorite week for me, but there was definitely some quality. Battlesnake alone makes me willing to overlook the other decisions that I found a bit questionable. It just sucks for me that I disliked several of the shirts offered during DBH’s biggest sale yet!

29 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Uneetee’s December Top Twenty

Uneetee has selected their top twenty for December, and it’s up to voters to decide which of these pieces will be printed next month. My favorites are Peaceful Ambiance by loy (having an elephant house instead of a tree house is a childhood dream that I never knew I had until now) and Underwater Love by yoshi (the use of color and halftoning creates a very effective sense of mood and mystery).

They are also currently accepting submissions for their January contest, with five big winners receiving as much as $1500.

28 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #23: The Big Do-Over

This week’s derby at Shirt.Woot is a little different than the rest- instead of soliciting new designs, they’ve collected the best also-rans from all the other derbies this year. Voters have the chance to pick the best of the unprinted, and there are a lot of gems to choose from.

My favorites, A Healthy Robot Diet and Good Friends, Bad Influences, are pictured above. Vote for your favorites, the top three will be printed next weekend.

28 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Art Opportunities: T-Shirts and Beyond

Ste7en, an artist at Threadless, has put together a great list of places where artists and illustrators can find freelance work.

It’s pretty thorough, with sites ranging from contest sites to job listings to portfolio sites, but if you know of more, let Ste7en know so that he can add them to the list.

26 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

35% off at Design By Humans

Starting today and ending December 31st, the code DBHFAM will get you a whopping 35% off any t-shirt order at Design By Humans.

Pictured above is one of my personal favorites, Mine Shaft 4 – Gold Found by bortwein. It uses gold and silver foil to tell the story of a collapsed mine and the greed that caused it.

24 December 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless

I Tried To Hold Your Hand by Joshua Agerstrand (ladrones) resembles a doodle-tattooed Freddy Krueger. It has the effect of creating a mysterious, almost gentle creature, whose hot breath lingers in the air. A highly unique piece, this is definitely a worthy winner of the Ferraby Lionheart Loves Threadless contest- I just wish I could see a picture of the guitar based on this design (which is part of the winning prize package).

The Earie Mine of Crayon Canyon by Cameron McEwan (Ronin60) is the week’s Select. For me, the concept (of a mine shaped like an ear, with miners carrying out crayon bits) doesn’t quite work. The connection between ear wax and the wax that makes crayons is a bit labored- it took me a minute of puzzling though it to even figure that out (I briefly thought it might refer to some epidemic of kids putting crayons in their ears that had somehow escaped my notice). The art itself is nice, with the exception of the halftone edges. I wish the edges had been done as rough, crayoned lines instead to connect better to the concept, as the halftones don’t relate to the rest of the image for me.

Mr. Brown by Joshua Agerstrand (ladrones) is a great one-color piece. I love the characterization of Mr. Brown, who seems exceptionally harried and fearful (this is enhanced by the illustrative call-out of his intestines, which is a really neat touch). The thin lines are alternately vague and textural, adding to the sense of motion and ambiguity in the design.

Aristocrat by Chow Hon Lam (Feishu) depicts two fancy birds riding atop an owl. I love the idea that high-class birds no longer bother to do their own flying (what a chore!) and prefer instead to take in the view from an owl-mounted bench. It’s all very nicely rendered, but I think what really makes this such a great shirt are the decorative looping lines in the background- they establish an otherworldly environment for the scene, and also imply the movement of wind. Really nice work.

I Hate Packing by Adam Benjamin White reimagines the packing experience as a three dimensional game of Tetris. Socks, pants and shirts are transformed into the signature puzzle pieces, which looks so natural that I almost can’t believe it hasn’t been done before. Beyond the great idea of the design, the details are nice as well- there’s a nice lining on the suitcase and traveling ephemera are packed in the pockets. Very well thought out.

Sing To The Tune Of Nature by Shuyi Chong is the only print this week that I’m not crazy about. The concept, showing a sheet of music as being constructed out of nature, is a neat idea. However, I feel that the execution is far too busy- the notes seem to be splattered with color willy-nilly, and the notes are fat to evenly distributed. It has the effect of looking more like a bulky mish-mash of elements than the music sheets I’ve seen. But if you want to wear a large and vaguely floral rectangle, this is a great choice.

Dulces Vacaciones by Adrian Serralta Chorro (adriserralta) is one of this week’s reprints, and it’s not a terrible choice. The idea of vacationing bears is pretty cute, I’m just feeling burned out on cartoon panda shirts. Plus, I associate them really strongly with Pandaluna’s work at La Fraise, which is what I always think this one is at first. The shirt itself is fine, the market is just over-saturated.

Ballad Of The Birds by Daniel J Jacobs (DJakes979) is the other reprint, and similarly to another shirt printed this week it uses nature (this time birds) to show music. This one works better for me both because the bird/music connection is so clear and because the design is much less cluttered. My only gripe here is that the distressed grungy-ness is so dated-looking. I’d have preferred a more original visual take on this idea.

But overall, this is my favorite week of shirts at Threadless in quite some time. Too bad for me that the sale just ended!

24 December 2007 ~ 1 Comment

New This Week at Design By Humans

Design by Humans has some really fantastic additions to their collection this week, but instead of purchasing them immediately you should put them in your shopping cart and wait until Wednesday. That’s because Design By Humans is having a massive friends and family sale from December 25th to the 31st, taking a huge 35% off all orders with the code DBHFAM!

The shirt that most caught my eye this week is Little Bird’s in Heaven Now by Lupencia. It has a lot going for it: a savvy color palette, shirt placement that creates movement, and a concept that I’ve never seen done before. But what really won me over is the positioning of the characters. The human figure has two sets of arms, at once cradling the dead bird and standing idly by. The large bird figure moves its arms flamboyantly, both protecting the smaller bird and spinning him playfully. This is the kind of art that makes me eager to keep looking for new details.

Punkitecture by Supasilvio is a good-looking but funny shirt that stands out in a crowd. Punk rockers reimagined as columns, literal pillars in society. And the art, with its tight, textural lines, is more than a match for the freshness of the concept. It’s great to see something this original.

Evilism by MAKI is another one I quite like, pairing a charming cartooned drawing of a dinosaur with a cool printing technique: tight, thin circles course through the drawing, creating a hypnotic effect. The type surrounding the ravenous aliens is also fun, saying things like “Survival of the Meanest” and “Outer space does not exist fellas.” Good stuff.

!!!! by graphicairlines has the kind of collaged, illustrative feel that I think people are starting to associate with the Design By Humans brand. I like the colors used, and the sharpness of the mostly triangular shapes. My one tiny complaint is that the piece seems more focused at the center than I typically like- the overall shape is a little rectangular for me, and I might have preferred the design to be more dynamic when viewed at a distance. Still, it’s undeniably high quality- just not necessarily my cup of tea.

Elephants Hunt In Pairs by fatheed is a really nice visual joke. But, as with a lot of visual jokes, I’m not sure that a t-shirt is the best place for it. The overall shape and placement isn’t the kind of thing I look for in a shirt. That said, I really do like the joke a lot- the idea of elephants turning the tables on some whalers is really funny, and I’d love to see the concept animated.

So overall, DBH has done a really nice job of expanding their collection this week. Three of the shirts are ones that I’m considering a buy on, and the other two have merits as well despite not being to my taste.