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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.

25 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

La Fraise: New This Week

Three new shirts from the La Fraise competition were made available in the store this week. Here’s a look:

The t-shirts are Chimp!, Rockshard Test and Sauvez un Bambou. Of the three, I’d only wear Chimp (there’s something about the satisfied look on his face that appeals to me), but the other two are good as well. My quibble with Rockhard Test is that the guitar is too obvious- I wish it had been at an angle, and that the overall shape of the design had been more of a splatter (like an actual ink blot test) and not the Christmas tree shape it currently is. Sauvez un Bambou is certainly cute (the translated text reads “Save a bamboo, eat a panda”) but I wanted the image to have more to it. If the panda were standing in front of a field of bamboo, that would have improved this for me.

Overall, a nice crop of t-shirts. Well done, La Fraise!

25 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments


Here’s the thing: it’s basic logic that you can’t enter the same design in two different design competitions at the same time. Submitting a design requires the artist to agree to making the design exclusive to the contest, usually for at least three months (but sometimes for longer, read the agreements!).

I can see the benefits to taking a design that performed decently in one contest and reworking it to be resubmitted.

But, that is not what tends to happen. In the last week I have randomly discovered three designs that are entered in multiple competitions at the same time. And I wasn’t even looking for it!

Here are the three, with no further ado…

Geek - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Also appearing at Split the Atom.

Charlie - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Also appearing at La Fraise.

clown fish - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Also appearing at La Fraise.

It’s possible that this was done in ignorance of the rules (Seriously, read them! You could be signing a lot more away than you realize…). This whole business seems pretty dishonest to me. One race at a time, people.

22 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Teetonic’s Six Cities Competition Update

The last two shirts have been posted, and I am really enjoying them. It almost redeems the whole Six Cities program for me (ALMOST).

First up is the Zandra Rhodes shirt. It’s not my style, but I can still see that there’s a level of quality there. The illustration style is fun and distinctive (the kind of thing I would probably want if I were a fan of Rhodes). There appears to be some metallic ink used on the tee, which helps justify the price. It’s a nice product on the whole, and I can easily picture other people wearing shirts like this.

Then, the Stefan Sagmeister shirt. I really love this shirt. The main character has a ton of personality (he looks like a mean little sock monkey). There’s a cool message. Overall, this shirt is a winner. I feel like it could potentially be better (for instance if the back had other animal characters spouting incorrect opinions) but there’s something to be said for simplicity and there’s nothing wrong with this shirt as is.

It’s too bad some of the other shirts weren’t up to this level of quality, but two cool shirts (Sagmeister’s monkey and d8’s make it better) and two decent shirts (Rhodes’ illustration and Timorous Beasties’ collage) is a reasonable result.

22 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’ New Tees for Monday

Yep, it’s Monday and that means Threadless has a new batch of shirts. All the buzz seems to be surrounding Spoilt, which is admittedly a cool design. But it’s not to my taste, personally- I have a huge pet peeve about people reading my shirts, so I tend to avoid stuff with lots of tiny text. I feel it’s a better poster than a t-shirt.

My favorite is My Turn!, which combines several of my favorite things: Pies, strange creatures, a wrap-around image, the color green and hand-drawn textures. Excellent. Plus, it’s available in long sleeve.

One last comment: can the rhino thing be over now? They’re all over the place on Threadless lately, which bugs me because they’re not all that unique looking or attractive. I submit that hippos be substituted for rhinos in the future, because they are much, much funnier.

19 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Teetonic’s Signature Series

I’ve previously posted about Six Cities, and now there’s an update:

Teetonic has begun posting the Six Cities shirts done by professional, big name designers. And, to be frank, they’re a hot mess. Let’s take a look…

The pages for these shirts aren’t currently labeled, so there’s no telling which professional is responsible for which shirt. Not that it really matters- of the four shirts, I only find two to be at all wearable.

Make It Better, the Glasgow shirt, is pretty decent. I like the subtle change to the last E, the color choice is excellent, and I dig the message. What hinders the shirt, though, it the bizarre placement. I don’t particularly wish to have text coming out of my armpit. If that text were just a couple of inches lower, this would have been a truly great shirt.

The other semi-decent shirt is the green one (the Dundee shirt), with a colorful collage of… stuff. I think I see trees, a bike, some people talking, maybe a building. It’s not an original concept, and you can get shirts similar to this from any number of places. I wish there were some cool details to this collage (maybe some interesting size choices or new objects created out of several images… I’m just spitballing here, but there were options). It’s disappointing, but still wearable.

And now, the unwearable…

The tiny tie shirt, representing Inverness, is just odd to me. Why ties? Why tiny? Why safety orange? The world may never know. All I can say is that I have never seen ties that small in nature, and it weirds me out. I assume that there are six ties to represent the six cities, but beyond that I don’t understand anything about this.

And finally, Red Square of Stirling. Again, I have a lot of questions. Namely, who the eff is paying $34 for this weird shirt? There must be a story behind this, right? Maybe the square represents some kind of Scottish tradition I don’t understand. The sloppiness of this shirt is even represented in the product page, which list the shirt color as being orange (same as the tiny tie shirt) instead of red, as the picture clearly shows.

Two more shirts should be on the way, hopefully those are at a higher level than this mess (excepting Make It Better, which is acceptable).

And the real tragedy of all this is that I think Teetonic typically does some really nice work. Their regular design competition certainly has a higher level of quality than this Six Cities competition did. Here’s a sampling of some of their more typical shirts:

Much better, right? Teetonic is a really great site, and this Six Cities competition was definitely not up to par for them.

18 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Rumors and Innuendo

Rumors are currently floating that there will soon be a new competitor in the daily t-shirt market. The interested company is a major internet retailer with a huge geek following. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Current daily t-shirt sites include Shirt-A-Day and Uneetee.com.

Based solely on reputation, this new site could really dominate them both.

17 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Teetonic’s Six Cities Competition Results

I admit, my hopes for Teetonic‘s Six Cities competition may have been a bit high. But can you really blame me? The competition brief brags that the winner’s tee will be seen along side shirts by people like Stefan Sagmeister and Timourous Beasties (at least I think it did- that line of copy seems to have gone missing now that the competition is over). And the theme is ridiculously easy to work within, since it only requires that you show how design plays a part in your daily life.

Yet somehow, things went a bit… wrong. Even with this easy theme, most entrants seemed unable to conform to the brief (the announcement of the winner refers to this fact). Those that stayed within the theme mainly did so by… er, listing the six cities. Even the few designs that managed to use the theme appropriately failed to really capture anything interesting- it was all very familiar, with no freshness.

The eventual winner was a design called Omni Present. While I hated the corporate-looking treatment (Why the squiggles? This could have been marginally cool if the lines and dots had a more organic treatment, introducing some contrast into the piece…), I have to admit that compared to most of the other entries, this design is a revelation.


It’s not a bad shirt. It’s just not great. Sites like Threadless (and even newcomer Uneetee) are managing to release multiple shirts per week that are at a much higher level of creativity than this. Is the prize not up to par, leading talented designers to take their work elsewhere? Was the competition not properly advertised, shrinking its population of potential entrants? I’m genuinely curious.