Check Out These hitRECord T-Shirts + The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

hitRECord.org is a mass collaborative production company led by its founder, and director, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known on hitRECord as RegularJOE. All the merchandise found at THE RECORD STORE was made collaboratively on hitRECord. And all profits made at THE RECORD STORE are shared with the contributing artists per The hitRECord Accord. Neat!

I first stumbled upon hitRECord when they released their Tiny Book of Tiny Stories. I thought, to myself, oh, “Joseph Gordon-Levitt is writing books now.” It turns out that he’s been doing much more than that. Gordon-Levitt has been “directing” this open collective production company of creative artists that have been churning out some really great stuff. The idea is that you can upload an idea or work in progress or “record” as they call it on hitRECord and other people can download and edit your “record.” If your record goes into production then all profits will be split by all of the collaborators. In their first year, hitRECord split $50,000 amongst its various collaborators. Awesome!

Want to joining hitRECord? Visit their site and join now.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

I am totally absorbed in this book. For a second, I thought about buying it from Amazon for use on the Kindle app for iPad. However, I realized that THAT would be wrong. So iBookstore it was. Don’t worry though, I am getting a hardcover version of the book just because. And that I will get from Amazon.

I hope to get a review of this book up soon. I’m still debating as to how I should go about doing that. Maybe I’ll highlight my favorite parts from each chapter across multiple posts. We will see. In the meantime, get your hands on this book.

Buy from Amazon or the iBookstore.

I miss you Steve.

T-Shirt Gift Guide for the Bookworm

Hey T-Shirt fanatics, welcome to my 2010 Holiday Gift Guide series! I feature some of my favorite T-shirt related items and even some things beyond T-shirts that I simply just love and would like to recommend to all of you. If there’s something that you think would fit in this list then please feel free to link to it in the comments! Enjoy and please feel free to share on Twitter using the Hashtag #GiftGuide.

I’m not a big book person, but there are times when I love to just sit back, relax and enjoy a good ol’ book. More recently, I’ve been spending more time reading books using my trusty iPad. Needless to say, if you’ve got a friend or family member that you know loves to read, then infuse some of your T-Shirt passion into their love for books by picking them up one of these amazing gifts.

1. Know someone who is a fan of classic literature? Well, your first stop should be Kafkacotton. They’ve got a bunch of tees that are inspired by the classics, or for some, those books that we were forced to read in middle school. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kafkacotton, Price: $24.00.

2. Chances are that if you’re buying a gift for a T-shirt fanatic, said T-shirt fanatic probably has some knowledge of Threadless. It’s even more likely that they have a closet full of multi-colored Threadless tees (maybe even duplicates of their favorites). And if they do, they’ll definitely love the recently released Threadless 10 Year Anniversary book by company founder Jake Nickell. Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World’s Most Inspiring Online Design Community by Jake Nickell, Price: $15.

3. Torso presents t-shirts whose motifs not only function as a means of personal communication, but also reflect and increasingly influence the complete spectrum of modern graphic design. As the first book to focus on t-shirts created by the most innovative and style-setting streetwear brands, it is the definitive guide to the t-shirt culture of streetwear. Torso: Streetwear T-Shirt Graphics Exposed by Daniel Eckler, Price: $34.00.

4. Out of Print Clothing celebrates the world’s great stories through fashion. Score a fashionable tee featuring the classic artwork from Catcher in The Rye (one of my personal all-time favorites) as well as a bunch of others. Catcher In The Rye by Out of Print Clothing, Price: $28.00.

5. Tee Library T-Shirts are hard to find online, but if you live in one of the cities that they are available in then you can score your favorite bookworm an amazing book inspired T-Shirt. Tee Library, Prices: Varies.

6. Threadless released a couple of Comics-on Tees T-Shirts. I believe there are three diferent issues that you can grab, with more expected in the future. Threadless Comics-on Tees Series [click T-Shirt below to go to product page], Prices: $10-15.

7. Tees is one of my favorite T-Shirt related books. It’s got an excellent collection of T-Shirts and brand profiles. It’s a must read for any T-Shirt fan. Still not convinced? Read my review hereTees Special edition: The Art of the T-Shirt by MAKI Design, Price: $36.00.

You might also want to consider:

I can’t get enough of my iPad. It’s always in my backpack. I bring to work. It’s the perfect lunchtime companion. It’s the best couch device ever. And for bookworms, not only will they have access to books in Apple iBookstore, but they will have access to every book available in the Kindle Bookstore. You’ve got the best of both worlds with the Apple iPad. I’m currently reading The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead and loving it (I must add that this is the perfect book for the zombie enthusiast). I use the 64 GB Wifi edition and I absolutely adore it. Apple iPad (64GB, Wifi), Price: Starting at $542 on Amazon.

Slaughterhouse Five: So It Goes

Remember out friends over at Kafkacotton? I interviewed the founder way back in Indie Tee Spotlight #27, he was the guy that travelled around the country in a life-sized cockroach costume named Gregor. It looks like Kafkacotton is back with another literary T-Shirt classic. This time, it’s the Kurt Vonnegut classic Slaughterhouse-Five that is being featured on the latest Kafkacotton tee.

I must admit that I am guilty of never reading Vonnegut’s classic. Then again, there’s a lot that I haven’t read. Maybe it’s available as a free download in the Apple Bookstore or on Amazon.

“When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is “so it goes.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five is available now from Kafkacotton for $24 and all order will receive free shipping until December 24th!

WTWTR = WTF Awesomeness!

It’s really awesome whenever I stumble across a great shirt and I have no clue what it’s about. Seriously, when I saw WTWTR by Evolved Athletic Brand, I thought to myself, “wow, funky design.” Then I noticed the name of the T-Shirt, which was WTWR. I had no clue what WTWTR stood for and so I investigated and checked out the product page for more details. Now usually in the product pages you’ll find a short description of the T-Shirt. There was nothing there. Nada. I was left with a funky design and I had no clue what it was about.

And so I checked out Google. And even the almighty Google had no clue what WTWTR stood for.

Needless to say, I present to you: WTWTR. I have no clue what WTWTR is or stands for but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a design that features what seems to be a jester wearing pajamas with seemingly nasty feet riding on top of what looks like a water bufallo sporting a pair of wayfarers all while riding an undersized bicycle. Enjoy.

WTWTR is available now from Evolved Athletic Brand for $18.

[UPDATE: I figure out what WTWTR stands for. I think. See below.]

So upon closer inspection of the Google search results, I saw the words Where The Wild Things Ride. I’m guessing that this is indeed what WTWTR stands for. Could it be in reference to Where The Wild Things Ride (see trailer belowO, an independent film by Colin Droster? What do you guys think?

Threadless: Ten Years of T-Shirts – Book Review + Giveaway

Many T-Shirt enthusiasts think that they know the story of Threadless. We’ve heard the story before and I’ve actually mentioned it on this blog once or twice (at least). Threadless was the brainchild of then art student Jake Nickell, who was part of an online  forum known as Dreamless. He won a T-Shirt contest on the forum and was inspired to start a T-Shirt contest that would be ongoing and would continually take in design submissions. And thus, Threadless was born and the rest is history.

But, is this the whole story? Not even close.

It’s been 10 years since Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart founded Threadless. A lot has gone on during that time. The Threadless book is a celebration of the last 10 years of T-Shirt design and business innovation.  The book discusses the growing pains that the company experienced during its early years and how it managed to invigorate the design community. Most importantly, Nickell (and a few others) describe how the Threadless community became an integral part of the business.

The book is sectioned by years, with the early years (2000-2004) clumped into one section. Each section of the book features an essay by the founder, Nickell, as well as “think pieces” by well-respected people within the social media and business communities. I found the featured designer portion of each section to be quite intriguing. It was interesting to read how Threadless has the power to significantly change the course of ones life. Glenn Jones, a favorite of mine and a popular Threadless designer form the early years discusses how Threadless has inspired him to develop his own line T-Shirts based on his Threadless popularity.

The book is 224 pages long and features a lot of Threadless artwork, 300 full-color illustrations to be exact. The spreads are beautiful and presented in a fun and whimsical way. Many uber Threadless fans will dig the in depth look at the first batch of Threadless T-Shirts. Also included are numerous photos of the Threadless staff (aren’t they a playful group of people) and the Threadless offices.

If you are a fan of art then you will appreciate the innovative T-Shirt designs and artists featured in this book. If you are a fan of business then you will want to read this book to find out how a couple of art school dropouts turned an idea into a multi-million dollar business that would later become a featured case study for Harvard business students. And finally, If you’re a fan of Threadless then this book is a must read. You’ll love it. Seriously, why don’t you own it already?

Featured designers include: Ross Zeitz, Glenn Jones, Olly Moss, Chow Hon Lam, Aled Lewis, Julia Heglund, and Enkel Dika.

Featured “think pieces” by: Seth Godin, Scott Belsky, Karim R. Lakhani, Jeff Howe, John Maeda, Karen Wong, and Blake Mycoskie.

Threadless
By Jake Nickell
Abrams Image
U.S. $22.50 / CAN. $26.95
224 Pages
300 full-color illustrations

GIVEAWAY!

Want to WIN a copy of the Threadless Book? Awesome! All you need to do is leave a comment in this blog post and tell me what your all-time favorite Threadless design is. One random person will win a copy of the massive and epic 200+ page 10-year anniversary Threadless Book! This contest will end on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:59 am Hawaii time. Go. By the way, I’ve already given away two copies of the book to my Facebook fans! If you’d like the inside scoop on exclusive giveaways then be sure to Like Co-Tee TV on Facebook!

Guy Kawasaki’s Design A Book Cover Contest: A Good or Bad Idea?

I should first note that I do not consider myself to be a graphic designer in any way. I wish I had the skills of the artists whom I profile on a daily basis, but alas, I do not. Having said that, I’d like to talk a little bit about the controversy surrounding the Design A Cover project set forth by Guy Kawasaki on the crowdsourcing site, CrowdSpring.

Two days ago, the former Apple Evangelist, social media guru and Alltop founder, posted a call for entries for people that were interested in designing a cover for an upcoming book project of his, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Kawasaki used the site CrowdSpring to open up the contest to those who were interested. CrowdSpring is a site that individuals can use to find professional designers to create things like logos, stationary, illustrations, and even clothing designs. Here’s an excerpt from the CrowdSpring About Us page:

By helping Buyers reach countless creatives across the globe, we’re changing the game for the little guy. Now small businesses, one-man shops and individuals anywhere can tap into a global pool of creatives for logo design, web design, company name, product name, packaging design, and many other graphic design, industrial design and writing projects. – CrowdSpring

Soon after Kawasaki posted the contest offering on CrowdSpring he of course let his Twitter followers know, all 258,000 plus. To the surprise of many, there was what seemed to be a backlash from a subset of Kawasaki’s Twitter followers. Designers revolted and accused Kawasaki of offering “spec work” that in effect ripped off the designers that entered and would have a negative effect on other designers within the industry. Here are a few of the Twitter comments:

“@frenden @GuyKawasaki add that up for all the people involved and that’s a LOT of free work for nothing” via @progressions.

“@GuyKawasaki If exploiting the hard work of others equals a pay off, I’ll pass.” via @frenden.

“@GuyKawasaki How about you just use your money to hire a legitimate illustrator rather than taking advantage of the inexperienced? #nospec” via @LandauArt.

Those are some strong words right there coming from experienced graphic designers (Frenden and LandauArt).

So, let’s back up a little but. Some of you might be wondering: What the heck is “Speck work?”

Spec work (short for speculative) is any job for which the client expects to see examples or a finished product before agreeing to pay a fee.

Basically, a client offers a job to any designer interested in the job. The client then, theoretically, receives multiple submissions from a variety of designers. He then picks the one that he likes the best and then pays that specific designer. The other designers who also submitted their work will receiving nothing for the work that was submitted and rejected.

Designers tend to prefer clients review the portfolios of various designers and then offer the job to a single designer that best fits their needs. The designer would then negotiate his/her rate with the client and would then design the project for that client.

Seasoned designers often hate the concept of “spec work” because:

  1. the designers commits time to a project, but is guaranteed nothing in return.
  2. the designers are forced to prove their worth when in fact the potential client can simply refer to the designers portfolio.
  3. some designers consider spec work to be a major ethical flaw.
  4. “unlike other industries is unique in that the intellectual property is put into your deliverable, and when the client asks for you everything you have to put into the project to think about purchasing.” via Andrew Hyde.

So now that you understand what “spec work” is and why many designers loathe it, let’s discuss why I think Guy Kawasaki’s Design A Cover Project is not so bad of an idea. In fact, I think it is an awesome idea.

First a few facts.

Guy Kawasaki is an established figure with a reputable background. He is respected within the tech industry and thought to be a forerunner in the social media movement.

Crowdsourcing*/spec work has become a major part of the social media movement. There are many examples in which large company’s provide an open call to designers to submit their work with no guarantee of payment. Threadless, for example, receives thousands of T-Shirt design submissions each week and only prints a handful of new T-Shirts each week. Needless to say, there are many people that submit to Threadless with no guarantee that they will receive payment for their work.

However, as Andrew Hyde has pointed out before:

“Bandwagon fallacies don’t work for a lot of things, including this. If you are talking about ThreadLess, they have done a very good job a) paying their designers fair market value b) involving a community in the beauty of design that traditionally would have been left out and c) making clear that the designs are done for the love of design, not for a 3rd party to profit off of.”

But I have seen other up-and-coming T-Shirt design contest sites use the same model and not pay nearly as much as Threadless. Some of these sites pay $500 or less. And let’s not forget that Threadless, when first starting out, did not pay market value like they do today. Hyde also notes in point c: “designs are done for the love of design, not for a 3rd party to profit off of.” But come on, at the end of the day Threadless loves design BUT they also love bringing in the money. They are a business, a multi-million dollar business that thrives on spec work.

UPDATE 1 (8/2/2010 at 10:45 am): Some people in fact do not consider what Threadless does to be “spec work.” Here’s one reason why according to Creative Pro:

Some designers believe that sites like threadless.com are a better alternative to cattle-call contests. Threadless produces t-shirts based on artwork submitted by designers. Winning artwork not only gets printed up but also bags the designer $2,000. Why is threadless different? Members of the site — designers themselves — vote on each design. It’s a collaborative community-based decision rather than the edict of a client who may not be well informed about the nuances of successful design.

However, if I am going by the definition of spec work provided earlier, “any job for which the client expects to see examples or a finished product before agreeing to pay a fee.” then I have to say that Threadless is in a fact a form or a type of spec work. It is true that the designers vote on submitted designs and the chosen designs that go to print are a combination of Threadless discretion and communities votes. But at the end of the day, though, there are still many, many people who submit to Threadless who spend countless hours on a project before they are selected as a winner and if they are not selected as a winner then they do not receive any payment. They do, however, retain all rights to the artwork and can resell or submit to other sites or even produce the product on their own. Does the community involvement not make what Threadless does spec work?

Back to Kawasaki’s Design A Cover project. Why would I do it?

  1. If you are an up-and-coming designer, with little to no real world experience then you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  2. It’s not just about the $1000, but it’s what could potentially arise from you making a connection with Guy Kawasaki.
  3. Kawasaki is a big time player in the social media world and tech industry. He tweets a lot, but more importantly, he engages with his community of loyal followers and friends through multiple mediums.
  4. In fact, he is already engaging with his community in regards to this project. Submissions are already being seen by thousands on Alltop and comments and feedback are plentiful.
  5. Even if your design is not selected, there is a good chance that it will be seen somehow. In fact, this is what Kawasaki did the last time he ran a similar cover contest in 2004: Design Eye For The Startup Guy Contest. There is even speculation that non-winning cover designers may make it to the back of the cover sleeve.
  6. Kawasaki’s rate of $1000 is reasonable and competitive. This site (Alpha Advertising) offers a professional package that is priced at $1000. This designer (Archer Graphics) specializes in book covers and charges $800-$900. And there are a few more here that charge the same or similar rate.
  7. If the design is not selected, it would make for a good portfolio piece.

At the end of the day, I think Kawasaki’s Design A Cover project is an excellent idea and a wonderful way to network and build your portfolio. Professional designers may not think this and rightfully so. They have the experience, payroll, and contacts to allow them that right. They have the right to refuse work and offer their own rates. Up-and-coming designers may not have the same privilege and may jump at the opportunity to work with Kawasaki to get their work out there and rightfully so – they should not be persecuted or looked down upon for this decision.

As an outsider looking in (I’m not participating in this contest) and as a non-designer that is enthusiastic about social media, I must say that this battle between Kawasaki and a select subset of designers has intrigued me. Let’s not forget the old saying of you get what you pay for. Kawasaki may not get the most renown book cover artist to design his cover, but he is doing what he does best for many years now – engaging with his community in a positive and interactive way. He could easily pay someone $5000 to design a cover for him, heck he could pay much more than that. But that’s not what he does. He engages his community. This is him doing exactly that.

This Design A Cover project is not about ripping off professional artists, but rather, providing an opportunity to those who 1. are not as fortunate as those professional designers that are on a steady and current payroll, and 2. simply want to enter just for the heck of. If in fact Kawasaki did go the “review a bunch of portfolios” route, he would be ignoring almost all of the people that fall under type #2 (those that simply want to enter just for the heck of) – bad idea considering he would be ignoring a large portion of his rabid fans, a death move for a social media guru like Kawasaki. And of course, up-and-coming designers tend to have small network, which would theoretically reduce their chance of being reviewed by Kawasaki. By crowdsourcing the book cover design, Kawasaki is not only reaching out to all designer types, both seasoned veterans and fresh up-and-comers, but he is also extending the offer to his large fan base.

Guy Kawasaki is definitely using social media to his advantage. Is he abusing it? I don’t think. Is he making the experience interactive, fun and enticing? I think so.

What do you think? I know that I am probably opening myself up to a can of worms BUT I’d still love to hear what you have to say about the issue! Let your voice be heard and leave a comment below.

*I use the term crowdsourcing synonymously with spec work HERE because in fact, crowdsourcing as we know it is a form of spec work. It is an open call to large group of people to get a particular task done. Threadless considers themselves to be a company that thrives on crowdsourcing. However, I should note that in the case of Threadless, both the designer and Threadless retain all rights to the designs. At CrowSpring, the buyer (in this case Kawasaki) becomes the “sole and exclusive owner and copyright proprietor of all rights” pertaining to the design.

Here’s an excellent video from SXSW 2009 that looks at spec work from both perspectives:

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Co-Tee TV Episode 61: Johnny Cupcakes and The Suitcase Tour

In this episode of Co-Tee TV I wear Robocopper by Olly Moss and review a box of goodies sent to me from Johnny Cupcakes, a clothing brand started in 2001 by Massachusetts native, Johnny Earle. Earlier this month, Johnny Cupcakes embarked on a nationwide adventure that he dubbed The Suitcase Tour.

For Johnny, this is him going back to his roots. When he first started Johnny Cupcakes, he would sell goods stuffed in an old suitcase from the trunk of car. He would stuff that suitcase full with Johnny Cupcakes tees and he’d bring it along to whatever city his band was playing in at the time. That was how Johnny Cupcakes started and now with this tour, Johnny Cupcakes has come full circle.

You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod or iPhone by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.

Co-Tee TV Facebook Fan Page

Coty’s Thoughts:

I received a couple of products from Johnny Cupcakes, including his Make Cupcakes Not War sticker, Camo Print Pencil, Camo Print Notebook, and Crossbones Wallet. The stickers and the pencil were your standard branded items and are some of the cheaper products in the Johnny Cupcakes shop. On a budget? Buy a Johnny Cupcakes branded pencil, pin or sticker.

The composition book was not as sturdy as those classic composition books from grade school with the thick front and back covers. Instead, this one was a bit more flexible due to the covers not being as thick. The inside back cover of the book comes with the standard “things you should know” facts like you’d find in any composition book. The inside of the front cover has a cute outline of the Johnny Cupcakes logo that you encouraged to sketch inside of.

The most exciting part of the package was the purple leather crossbones wallet. The wallet comes packaged in a little brown sack, with black lettering and a red drawstring. The wallet is very thin and is made up of a total of four pockets. The main center pocket is perfect for a few bills. On one side of the wallet there are two pockets for your plastic cards and on the opposite side you’ll find a pocket with a clear window, presumably for identification.

Pricing: Purple Crossbones Wallet ($24.99), Camo Print Notebook ($5.99), Make Cupcakes Not War Sticker ($2.99), Camo Print Pencil (0.99¢).

Johnny Cupcakes Box

Johnny Cupcakes Composition Book

Johnny Cupcakes Goodies

Johnny Cupcakes Stickers

Johnny Cupcakes Pencil

Johnny Cupcakes Leather Wallet

Johnny Cupcakes Leather Wallet

Johnny Cupcakes

Johnny Cupcakes Suitcase Tour 2010

Also mentioned in this episode:

Robocopper by Olly Moss

Apple iPad

Johnny Cupcakes Back To Basics Tour

If you want to send me a product to review, please feel free to do so. You can find my information in the contact menu above. Thanks!


Cute microbes on sale

Threadless Tee Turned Comic

Joe Carr is no stranger to the Threadless community. In fact, he has been printed multiple times and is a regular contributing member at Threadless. You might recognize him by his Threadless screen name, Isaboa. Alongside the release of his newest Threadless tee, Carr decided to do something not seen within the community before. He created a comic Book based on his Full Throttle Threadless Select Design and has made it available for free download at his site, Antiquated Press. You can download the comic book inspired by the Full Throttle design here.

“The story is of an alien fighter, going about his daily routine. Interacting and working like we all do. The reader is given little bits of the alien’s life, the whole scenario begins to develop when the alarm sets off sending the whole dramatic sequence into action. I do have the rest of the play in my head and maybe I will draw it out, but I just wanted to leave it at the scene of the alien defenders heading into battle with an unbelievable foe… I felt like we pretty much have enough information about the shirt’s character at that point. He is a defender, a father and husband, a good man who puts his life on the line for his planet along with his fellows… his pals.”

If you wanna make the physical version, then print this file first. Next, flip the pages you printed back into the paper feeder and print this file. Staple along the spine, fold, and you’ve got Joe’s “Full Throttle” comic book!

Full Throttle by Joe Carr

Full Throttle by Joe Carr

Typoshirt: Submit Your Type Tee for Book

Hey T-Shirt designers! I recently received an email from the people at Slanted Magazine and MAGMA Brand Design in Karlsruhe, Germany. Together with font designer, Lars Harmsen, they are working on a new book related to the topic “typographic T-shirts.” They are currently having a call for entries so if you’ve designed a Typography Tee then why not take a chance and submit your design. There’s is no cost to submit and everyone that is chosen for inclusion in the book will receive a copy.

Typoshirts

TypoShirt One is about typography on T-shirts. It is definitely not the first publication that deals with the topic of “T-shirts”, but it’s the first one that focuses exclusively on the typography phenomenon in T-shirt culture. Only shirt motifs created explicitly with typographic means shall be presented in this publication. There are no fees, it’s totally cost free!

We would like to invite everybody to contribute to the book TypoShirt One, the typography T-shirt compendium. The book will be published at Index Books in 2010.

We invite everybody to submit their own projects for this publication, bringing together typographic designs of T-shirts from all over the world, showing quotes, sentences, words, letters and numbers or any other typographic pieces of work.

Participation or having work selected for TypoShirt One is totally cost free on your part. Also, if your work is selected, you’ll get a free copy of the book.

Deadline to enter your submissions is 19th of March 2010.

Please check our website where you’ll find all participation requirements.

We hope, you’ll be on board!