5 Ongoing T-Shirt Design Contests

Are you a budding t-shirt designer? If so then you are probably trying to find ways to promote your designs and ultimately have them printed. Traditionalist would probably argue that the best way to get your tee design printed is to, well, print it yourself. This can be a time consuming and expensive process. Lucky for us we are a part of the interactive age of Web 2.0 where things can get done faster and easier.

Here I talk about 5 popular and ongoing t-shirt design contests. This can be a great way for indie designers to get their feet wet in the tee business. And even if you submit a tee design to one of these communities and your design does not get selected for print, you will still probably get valuable community feedback on your design. On the other hand, if your designs do get selected then get ready for a nice pay day!

Each of these sites have different rules and guidelines so be sure to read them before you submit your designs. Some of these sites retain exclusive rights to submitted designs whereas other sites allow the artists to retain exclusive rights.

1. Threadless. How it Works: The competition here is tough and the voting and comments during the selection process is brutal, but, if your design is selected you’ll be part of an elite group of Threadless approved t-shirt designers! Shirts chosen for print will be produced in limited amounts, once the print has sold out, it will not be offered for sale unless is is chosen for reprint (not all designs are reprinted). Selection Process: Submitted designs are posted on Threadless and users vote for their favorite designs. Threadless staff then go through the top designs and select which are to be printed. Rights: If your design is submitted and chosen to be printed as a Threadless then Threadless assumes exclusives rights to the design. Pay Day: $2000 in cash and a $500 Threadless gift certificate for each design chosen to be printed. Plus, you get $500 each time your tee design is reprinted. And finally if you’re tee is chosen for print you have a chance at winning up to $10,000 in the yearly Threadless “Bestee” Awards. Official Rules.

2. TeeFury. How it Works: TeeFury members are able to submit designs directly to TeeFury for consideration. When submitting your design they also suggest that you submit a link to your portfolio or website or anything that provides examples of your work. Shirts that are chosen are showcased on TeeFury for just 24 hours. Selection Process: Designs are selected by the TeeFury staff. Rights: The artists retains all rights to their designs and can do what they want with their designs after the shirt spends its time (max of 24 hours) on TeeFury. Pay Day: Artists are paid $1 for each shirt sold within the 24 hour period. Official Rules. 

3. Shirt.Woot. How it Works: You can submit your designs to Shirt.Woot directly here or you can enter the weekly Shirt.Woot Derby. Every Thursday new Derby themes are announced and the following Friday submissions are accepted. Selection Process: The three most popular designs as voted by Shirt.Woot users get chosen to be printed and sold to the world! Designs submitted directly to Shirt.Woot are selected by the Shirt.Woot staff for print. Rights: Shirt.Woot retains 60 day exclusive (cannot submit to other contests or produce commercially) rights for all art design submissions. Shirt.Woot retains a 180 days exclusive rights for all Best of Derby Nominated shirts. If with thin the 60 or 180 time span the shirt is not chosen for print the then Shirt.Woot waives exclusive rights, meaning the artist can do what he likes with the design. Shirt.Woot has exclusive perpetual rights to your design if it is chosen to be produced. Pay Day: $1000 per winning design and $2 per shirt sold after the first day of sale. Official Rules. 

4. Uneetee. How it Works: Artists submit t-shirt designs and if selected the tees are offered at Uneetee on a limited run basis. Selection Process: Unetee users vote for their favorite designs. Design stays up for voting for a a max of 21 days. Designs with the highest scores have an increased chance of being selected by Uneetee staff as the shirt of the week. Rights: Uneetee get exclusive rights to the design if the shirt is chosen. The designer cannot reproduce the winning design for commercial purposes. Pay Day: $750 ($750 guaranteed cash and $750 guaranteed commissions). If you sell more than the guaranteed run of 375 shirts than you can earn more than $750 commission (royalties are $2 per shirt). Official Rules. 

5. Design by Humans. How it Works: Designers submit art, this can be traditional paintings, illustrations, sketches, vector art, photoshop art, or however you like to design). If submitting traditional art then you must digitize your design (snap a pic of it). Design should be formatted and submitted either as a GIF, JPG, or PNG. Once your design is ready you submit it here. Selection Process: Design by Humans users vote for their favorite designs and designs with the most votes are chosen for print. Five shirt of the day winners are chosen each week ($750). Of the five shirt of the day winners, one shirt is chosen as shirt of the week ($1000). Each month, one of the shirt of the week winners is chosen as short of the month ($1750). Plus, designers get paid based on how many shirts they sell (1000 shirts = $500 up to 10,000 shirts = $5000). Rights: After 60 days of submitting designs artists are then free to o what they like with their designs. If your design is selected for print then DBH retains exclusive rights.  Pay Day: Up to $3500 plus residuals. Rights. Official Rules.

Please Dress Me Review, Hit or Bust?

So Gary Vaynerchuk, head honcho, founding father and spokesman of the Wine Library enterprise (Wine Library TV and the Wine Library Store) has started a new venture with brother AJ Vaynerchuk and Digg architect Joe Stump. That new venture is a T-Shirt search engine. Yep, that’s right, a T-Shirt search engine, something totally unrelated to Vay-ner-chuks expertise in wine and inspirational speaking. 

Is Please Dress Me as good as Wine Library TV? Is Please Dress Me functional and useable, meaning, does it yield good search results? First of all, no, Please Dress Me is not as good as Vaynerchucks’ Wine Library venture. Yet. The reason why it’s not yet as good as Wine Library TV is because of something that it lacks. Don’t get me wrong, the Please Dress Me site looks gorgeous, but unlike Gary’s other venture, it lacks character. See, with Wine Library TV, you knew it was credible because of Vaynerchuks tenacity and love for the topic. If you’ve seen his Wine Library TV podcasts then you know how passionate he is about wine. In other words, Wine Library TV brings the thunder, whereas Please Dress Me does not. Do these guys really love T-Shirts or is this just a side hobby of sorts just because they have the cash to play with? Indie tee designers are a passionate bunch. Gary, AJ and Joe, are you guys passionate about tees?

The concept of a T-Shirt search engine is great. Imagine a tee specific search engine that you can use to search for all the Darth Vader tees that are available online and which will yield you a substantial number of search results (because we know there are a ton of Vader search in InternetLAND). Conceptually, this is a great idea. However, it seems like Please Dress Me (as expected) is going through growing pains because a search for Darth Vader shirts yielded me just a single tee, and it was a familiar Threadless tee to boot instead of something new. Conversely, a Darth Vader search yielded me more than 10 pages of results. Yes, thats a lot to shuffle through, but quickly switching to image views I can pick out the ones I like easily, and google even yielded the same green Threadless Darth Vader shirt that the Please Dress Me search yielded. For the site to be useable you need to yield more results, especially when searching for Darth Vader!

One feature that I do like is the ability to search by price point, this is a nice feature as you can search for tees specific to your budget. Those that like to use only particular colors, say eggplant green, can also search by color. 

One problem that I recognize is the inability for users to add tees to the site. No doubt that they have big time companies indexed, like Threadless, but what about the little guy. What about Indie tee designers? At the moment, users cannot add tees to the site themselves, they have to go through the tedious loop hole of emailing their tee info to the Please Dress Me staff. Adding an “Add Tee” feature would make your site that much more robust and more appealing to the little guy. 

Having said that, I think Please Dress Me has a lot of potential. The growing pains are present, but, with Vaynerchuks’ experience, and hopefully passion for tees, we’ll see a lot of growth and development.

Indie Tee Spotlight: Linty Fresh

I LOVE t-shirts, especially one-of-a-kind indie T-Shirts that are available online. A nice T-Shirt is like eye candy, it’ll make your eyes drool and mouth all wattery (ok, that hardly made any sense). So, in lieu of the Glorious Nonsensities podcast I thought that every week or so I would highlight a couple of indie tee designers whose work I admire and whose tees I wear!

For the inaugaral post I thought I would start off with a brand that I just learned about a month ago, and that brand is Linty Fresh. Linty Fresh was started by Eric Terry, who runs Linty Fresh out of his home in Marietta, Georgia. It all started for him when he began submitting tees into the never ending Threadless design competitions. His design, Once Upon A War, although was not selected to be printed, earned him positive reviews and more importantly, tee cred! And so Eric decided that he would do a limited print of Once Upon A War and offer it up for pre-sale. To his surprise, people were buying the shirt, and thus the Linty Fresh, or the beginnings of Linty Fresh, was born! 

 

Now if you notice Eric’s designs, many of them contain characters that look quite similar, with the mouth being the defining characteristic (in my opinion, Eric might disagree). Nonetheless his branding efforts are obvious and effective. I even think that his characters have the potential to go mainstream, they’ve got delicious-I-want-to-squeeze-you feel like those adorable Sanrio characters. 

The price points at Linty Fresh are in line with other indie tee brands. Tee’s are usually in the 20 buck range and hoodies in the 40 buck range. If those sound expensive don’t fret, I’ve bought Linty Fresh shirts for as little as 5 bucks, you just need to be on the look out for special discounts (In fact, he’s got a 5 bucks shirt on sale right now). The shirts themselves are made from American Apparel tees, so you know they are sweatshop free! And the actual product that you receive in the mail is quite professional. So if you like what you see here, be sure to check Linty Fresh out on the web! And let me know what you think of his designs and what companies you think I should check out for the next Indie Tee Spotlight.




JINX (J!NX) Clothing Company + Ridiculous Shipping

I love me a good T-Shirt. I love T-Shirts so much that I have a closet filled with T-Shirts. Plain T-Shirts, Bright T-Shirts, T-Shirts that scream ME, Odd T-Shirts and Old Skanky Stinky Filled with Holes T-Shirts (not so much). I even have a stack of unused virgin T-Shirts.

Needless to say, when I see a cool T-Shirt, I buy it. So it really irritates me when there’s a T-Shirt that I want and the price that I have to pay to get it is ridiculous, especially when it doesn’t need to be. First of all, I’m more than happy to pay $20-$25 for a custom designed indie T-Shirt. What I’m not happy to pay is $10.49 (or $17.49) for …. wait for it … shipping on a single T-Shirt that cost $14.95! 

The culprit here is JINX (J!NX) Clothing Company. They make and sell specialty geek inspired T-Shirts. A lot of awesome stuff indeed. They also make the official Diggnation and Totally Rad Show T-Shirts. I love Diggnation and am an active (addicted) Digg user. I love the Totally Rad Show and I watch on a weekly basis. I would love to have T-Shirts for these two shows but the damn shipping is ridiculous! I really don’t understand why, as a Hawaii resident, I need to pay over 10 bucks for shipping! Do they tack on an extra 5 bucks for “handling?” I’ve ordered tons of shirts online and they usually charge no more than 5 bucks for shipping and handling costs. 

Boo to you JINX! Boo to you.