I always have the hardest time deciphering the German contest site, A Better Tomorrow. But, words or no words, I have to say that the design on this tee speaks for itself. I love it! Before I was even remotely passionate about T-Shirts I was (and still am to a certain degree) madly obsessed with shoes. And this shirt combines two of my favorite things, shoes and shirts! You can pick up AirDEX vs. SuperSAT by AndreaABT from A Better Tomorrow for 22 â‚¬.
It was my pleasure to interview Dale Edwin Murray for this weeks Indie Tee Spotlight. He has definitely made a name for himself in the crazy world of T-Shirt design and has been very successful in submitting designs and winning at some of the top T-Shirt contest sites around, like, Threadless, A Better Tomorrow and Shirt.Woot. Dale shares a little bit about how he got his start, what you can do to improve your chances of submitting a winning design and why he doesn’t wear his own shirts!
Coty: How did you get started in the T-Shirt design business?
Dale: I help start an online t-shirt store about 5 years ago. I was initially involved in content management and marketing and somehow ended up designing all of their own brand tees. I went freelance about 3 years ago and have been doing t-shirt design ever since.
Coty: What was your first experience in submitting to a T-Shirt design contest? What did you learn from that initial experience?
Dale: My first experience of a t-shirt contest was subbing something to threadless. It was a long time ago and looking back on it the design was pretty awful. It scored pretty badly and got hardly any love from the crowd over there. I learned a number of things from that experience – firstly that t-shirt design is not as easy as it might first appear. There is definitely an art to it and just because you are a good designer doesn’t necessarily mean that you can do commercially appealing tees. It also became apparent just how much competition there is out there. Subbing to threadless was definitely a useful way to get unbiased feedback on those initial designs. It told me that I needed to go back to the drawing board and come up with something better and better each time.
Coty: You’ve submitted to and won at Threadless with the designs Squeeze Me and Music Business Remastered. With Threadless receiving over 2000 submissions a week, how difficult is it to get noticed and printed at Threadless? What tips do you have for those trying to get printed by Threadless?
Dale: There is a lot of competition at threadless. There are a plenty of very talented designers over there and they get a ton of submissions. So yeah it’s tough to get printed. I thought it was never going to happen! And I’m finding it just as tough to get printed for a third time! I guess the advice I would give would be to take your time with getting your design just right before you submit it. Try and get something perfect and resist the urge to get it subbed quickly. I think it is also important to try and get involved in the community over there, to participate in the blogs and critique/score/comment on other people’s designs. Try and get yourself known and as silly as it sounds, get a good, easily recognisable avatar.
Coty: Which of your designs is your favorite to date? Why?
Dale: I guess it would have to be Music Business Remastered. It is my highest scored design on threadless and went down pretty well there in terms of sales as well. I guess that’s what I’m always striving for, a design that looks great but also sells well. Funnily enough on my way to the gym the afternoon I actually saw a guy wearing the hoodie version – that made my work-out much easier!
Coty: Aside from submitting to contest sites I am sure that you do freelance work outside of T-Shirt design. What, if any, type of graphic design work do you do outside of designing awesome T-Shirt designs?
Dale: I’m lucky enough to have enough t-shirt design work to not have to diversify at the moment. I say luckily because I really love doing tee design. But in the future I would also love to move into other areas – editorial illustrations, album and book covers – that kind of stuff would be cool. But at the moment I am all about tees!
Coty: Digit Duel is the “sequel” to your first Threadless design, Squeeze Me. I’ve got to ask, what’s the story behind these squeeze characters? How’d you come up with the concept of colorful beans on oversized hands? And secondly, are those the hands of Dale Edwin Murray!
Dale: I have absolutely no idea how that idea popped into my mind! I was just doodling these little bean characters and wanted a way of making them look really small in relation to something else. I thought it would be cool if they were interacting with something rendered in a photo-realistic kind of way – a mixture of fantasy and reality if you like. So it sprang from there I guess. So I took a photo of my own hand squeezing a grape to get the perfect pose. Yep, those are my hands – complete with freckles!
Coty: With a growing collection of Dale Edwin Murray designed tees circling the Internet, I wonder, does Dale wear his own tees?
Dale: I have to admit that I don’t wear graphic tees at all – my own or anyone else’s. I only wear plain tees. I used to wear a ton and still have them all in my wardrobe but I don’t feel right wearing them anymore. That’s what happens when you hit 30!!!!
Thanks to Dale Edwin Murray for taking the time out from creating wonderful tees to chat with me! Be sure to stay up-to-date with Dale’s latest designs by visiting his online portfolio.
The community over at German T-Shirt contest site A Better Tomorrow have been pumping out some seriously cute tees the last couple of weeks. The newest tee is no exception. It’s called Wer hat die Kokosnuss (Who Has The Coconut) and was designed by Nikor. It’s an all around silly T-Shirt featuring what looks to be a chimp making funny faces. This is the perfect tee for anyone who likes to monkey around!
As with all A Better Tomorrow tees, Who Has The CoconutÂ is printed on an American Apparel blank and is available now for 18,00 â‚¬.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the A Better Tomorrow Meets Art Bastard contest. And now they’ve announced two winner of that contest! First place went to Recipe For A Cocktail by Nelloforesto and the second place finisher was A Bee Tee by MyArgie. Congratulation to the winners! These tees should be available soon for purchase at A Better Tomorrow.Â
What’s even better is that the next A Better Tomorrow collaboration has been announced. This time, they are teaming up with Nerdcore! This contest starts on June 8 and will run until July 6. There is no particular theme set in stone but if you watch Nerdcore then you know their vibe consists mainly of retro comics, music, zombies, and science fiction in general. The prize is 500 â‚¬ and a big feature on the Nerdcore blog, one of the largest German blogs.
Dale Edwin Murray has been taking the T-Shirt world by storm and these two tees from A Better Tomorrow are just some of his more recent designs. When Chameleons Go Wrong is the newest tee that is available at A Better Tomorrow and it’s an instant classic. The dialog between the two chameleons left me chuckling for quite some time. In fact, I’ve always, for some reason, had a fascination with chameleons. If I could have superhuman powers, I’d first of all wish to have the power of invisibility (I think I mentioned this before) and if that didn’t work out then I might choose to have chameleon like skin (or maybe super strength, lol).Â
Get Awesome is simply an awesome (what other word would I use?) tee. In fact, I might be the perfect person for this tee especially since I use the word awesome on such a regular basis. By the way, best use of the word awesome of recent memory isEwan McGregor in Angels & Demons. You don’t have to watch the movie to hear him say it, just check out the trailer. He says it with such power and conviction, so much so that I will start saying awesome that way from now on. By the way, both of these tees are available now at A Better Tomorrow for justÂ 18,00 â‚¬ (~$24 US).
Here’s a cool video that I stumbled upon on the blog of the German T-Shirt contest site, A Better Tomorrow. The two and half minute video was done by Leo Belik and shows T-Shirt preparation and printing using an automatic carousel machine. I never get tired of seeing T-Shirts go from start to finish.Â
Looking for a fun gift to give a friend? You might consider picking up a gift certificate from A Better Tomorrow. They come in 3 different flavors: 1 shirt, 2 shirts, or 3 shirts. When you order one of these you’ll receive a card that will contain a code that can be redeemed online at A Better Tomorrow for the corresponding amount of shirts. I am pretty sure that shipping is covered when redeeming these coupons. I’m not sure about you – but I’d be pretty stoked to get one of these because A Better Tomorrow has an excellent selection of tees!
And if you’re wondering about what tees to get, well, I’ve got three suggested A Better Tomorrow tee for you! I Want My Raider Back is highly recommended for anyone who loves the 80’s (that would be me)!