Interview with DBH 10K Winner Christian San Jose

Fresh off his big $10,000 Design By Humans win, Christian San Jose (aka csj89) sat down to talk with me about his winning design Mecha-Labaw, the stress of competition and the power of social networking and good old hustle.

Mecha-Labaw by Christian San Jose aka csj89

1. Congratulations on winning the Design By Humans $10,000 contest!It’s been about a 2 month wait since the start of the contest – what has your anxiety level been like during the last couple of weeks?

Thanks Coty! It was really a roller-coaster experience, from the joy I got because of all the support by friends and people that liked the design, to all the stress that came from thinking of new ways of promoting it, even the anxiety that each new round (and the consequent vote reset) brings. I barely slept in August, because if you stopped promoting, there’s a big chance somebody will get ahead.

2. What was your reaction when you found out you won?

My initial reaction was a huge sigh of relief that it was all over. But that didn’t take long, I jumped around and screamed a lot too. I was at my day job with all my officemates awaiting the countdown, and everybody cheered loudly when it was finally announced. I think I high-fived about 30 people, even the CEO who didn’t know what was happening.

3. What was your inspiration for Mecha-Labaw? What did you try and accomplish with this design?

I came up with Mecha-Labaw because I wanted to do an illustration that had something to do with my country. I came across a large water buffalo photo, and I always wanted to draw something intricate and robotic or mechanical which I haven’t done before. So it all came together with the artwork. It became an artwork in honor of a national symbol in the Philippines.

4. The final two in the DBH 10K came down to you and AJ Dimarucot aka collisiontheory, the reigning 10K champion. Did you feel like you had a good chance at upsetting AJ and winning it all?

Honestly when the contest was nearing its end, I already had my mind set that there’s no chance I’d win over AJ. Since the votes were hidden, I based my thought on the comment count and at the time, I had over 400 comments, and AJ’s sub was close to around 700. During the most part though, I never stopped asking for votes despite the little chance. AJ and I are good friends and colleagues outside of DBH, we’re even neighbors, and I closely followed his win last year – how he continuously promoted his design and got votes from everywhere. I followed his plans from last year (newspaper and web ads, giving away design resources), and added schemes of my own. Last August, I did 4 seminars discussing graphic design and t-shirt culture in schools and organizations, and after each talk, I had a chance to promote Mecha-Labaw and ask for help. I also included Mecha-Labaw in two group exhibits I was apart of during the voting process. I also work full-time as a web designer in an Internet Marketing company, so that experience helped me in brainstorming and coming up with the landing page for voters – www.mechalabaw.com, and the placement of promotional blog entries in high traffic websites.

5. You really pushed hard at promoting Mecha-Labaw. At what point in the contest did you think, “geee, wouldn’t be great if I actually set up a website just to promote Mecha-Labaw?” Was the website something you knew you wanted to do from the start?

It was a plan since the very start of the contest, the site was done right after I submitted Mecha-Labaw to DBH, and it was made public just after the announcement of the Top 20. I planned and scheduled all my promotions days ahead of the submission, and at first it was supposed to be hosted at www.csj89.com/10k/ so I could easily spread the link around, but that link was already hard to remember. The direct DBH link was also long and hard to remember, and previous DBH experience dictates that some new DBH visitors get lost when presented with the direct vote link. They didn’t know if they had to register first, where the vote button was and whatnot. I made a landing page with a memorable domain name to make the vote process as easy and smooth as possible. I also included a shirt give-away raffle promo for anyone who re-blogs, for incentive. The site was hosted on the same server as my portfolio (www.csj89.com), and the new domain name was just $9. Not a bad price considering all the help it provided. I wish I could show you the old piece of paper I drafted all my initial promotional ideas on but I can’t seem to find it now.

6. Are you satisfied with final colorway that Design By Humans decided to go with for the Mecha-Labaw print?

Very satisfied on my part, I love the colorway they chose. Some of the buyers want lighter choices though, it’s all up to DBH if they decide to print it again.

Mecha-Labaw Original Mock Up

Mcha-Labaw Final Print

7. Finally, I think most people are interested to know how you’re going to spend/use the cash prize?

I’ll give $1000 to charity, buy a Macbook, and keep the rest of the money in the bank for future savings.

Thank you very much Coty for this interview, and again I’d also like to thank everyone who supported Mecha-Labaw in the contest :)

DBH 10K: The Final Four

I’ve been tracking the Design By Humans 10K contest since it was first announced and I am excited that they released the final four designs that are up for voting! As some of you might know, I chose 5 designs that I thought could win the 10K contest and now just one of those has survived the final round. Twilight Rain by collisiontheory is the lone design left amongst the ones I had predicted to win. Also still left in the competition is Mecha-Labaw by csj89 whom we ran a special post about (written by Blake from YouDesignIt.com) discussing how he had taken a different approach to promote his DBH 10K entry.

So, here are the final four contestants. Be sure to get your vote in before August 23rd. Who do you think will win?

Mecha-Labaw by csj89

Twilight Rain by collisiontheory

SOS strawberry flavour by gloopz

Journey to the City of No Horizon by TangYauHoong

Win $10,000 from Design By Humans

It’s that time of the year again! Time for the big $10,000 Design By Humans contest. Remember last years winner, AJ Dimarucot (aka CollisionTheory)? Well, he took home the $10,000 cash prize for his design, Black Hole Sun, and started his own line of children clothes called googoo&gaga. What will you do with the cash if you win? 

Design By Humans just announced the newest 10K contest at Design By Humans, in celebration of the site’s 2nd birthday. The only requirement for entry is to be original! Over-sized prints, mixed media, and up to 14 ink colors are allowed so create something truly unique and you could take home the big prize. Get your submission in by July 26, 2009 and you could win one of these prizes:

Grand Prize: $10,000 USD
First Runner-Up: $1,000 USD
Second Runner-Up: $1,000 USD
Third Runner-Up: $1,000 USD
Fourth Runner-Up: $1,000 USD

Design By Humans

Design By Humans

Official Rules:

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Threadless Top 20 Designs of 2008 Announced

About two weeks ago I posted my predictions for the Threadless 2008 Bestees Awards. My pick for Design of the Year went to When Pandas Attack by Jimiyo vs. AJ Dimarucot. And guess what, my pick has made the Top 20! Awesome. Let’s see if they can go all the way and win the $20,000 prize.

Some of my other favorites from the Top 20 include Friday I’m In Love by Loy Valera, Foam Monster In Emotion Reunion With Severed Thumb by Aled Lewis, and The Food Chain by Olly Moss. I’d be pretty happy to see any of these guys win!

I’ve put together this image showing the Top 20 Threadless tees of 2008as voted by the Threadless community. Which is you favorite? Who do you thin will win Design of the Year?

Threadless Top 20 Designs of 2008

AJ Dimarucot Wins 2009 Uneetee Kick Off Design Contest

Congratulations to AJ Dimarucot, better know in the indie tee world as CollisionTheory for winning the 2009 Uneetee Kick Off Design Contest! He won $3,000 from this contest, to add to his growing list of contest winnings. You might remember that last September he won $10,000 in the Design By Humans contest. One has to ask, what’s next? Maybe a Threadless Bestee Award? 

The winning tee is named An Offer You Can’t Refuse and comes in two flavors, black and white. The tee is available now at Uneetee for a measly $12, so be sure to pick one up!

An Off You Can't Refuse

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googoo&gaga The Newest Venture From AJ Dimarucot

Popular tee designer, AJ Dimarucot aka in the tee design world as collisiontheory, has started a new venture with his wife, Audrey – producing “quirky clothes for kooky babies!” The new brand, googoo&gaga, specializes in onsies with “all over” prints. They currently have ten designs on their site and are only available “locally” at the moment. So unless you live in the Philippines, you won’t be able to get your hands on these, just yet. 

They use sublimation printing to achieve an “all over” look that is super soft for the baby to wear. No harsh ink rubbing against your baby’s skin which is a plus! 

If you do currently live in the Philippines and want to get your hands on these, check out the info below:

Come join us as we launch googoo&gaga at the Rockwell Urban Bazaar (Makati, Philippines), where the most discriminating customers converge to find the best and the latest in fashion and home items.

Experience love and madness with limited edition googoo&gaga onesies!
Our introductory price is P650 per piece,P600 if you buy at least 3 pieces.

December 12-14 11am-9pm | Rockwell Tent at the Powerplant Mall
You don’t have to pay to enter the tent. We’ll be outside beside the ticket booth. =)
Hope to see you there!

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Interview with DBH Winner AJ Dimarucot

Fresh off his big $10,000 Design By Humans win, AJ Dimarucot (aka CollisionTheory) sat down to talk with me about his winning design Black Hole Sun, the stress of competition and the power of networking and family. 

Coty: Congratulations on winning the Design By Humans $10,000 contest! You must be really excited. DBH stretched out announcing the winner for an entire week. Did that stress you out? How did you find out that you won and how did you respond?

AJ: I was stressed out during the whole competition from the Final 10 to the announcement of the winner! I found out I won through my Mom and Dad who called me up 4:30am Saturday my time. It was cool and sort of expected, only because the daily votes indicated that I was on the top spot for the whole finals week. My first response was to check out the site on my crappy cellphone.

Coty: What was your inspiration for Black Hole Sun? What did you try and accomplish with this design?

AJ: I’ve recently been inspired by space/galaxy imagery and I’ve always wanted to do a design based on the solar eclipse. I like simple designs that overpower the shirt, also thought it was cool to use negative space – the shirt color being the “hole”, indicating the moon blocking the sun. DBH mentioned they can print anything with up to 14 colors so I really pushed the original design without thinking about color restrictions. I really think that the colors made the design.

Coty: DBH changed the colorways for the printed version of the shirt. How do you feel about this? Do you prefer your original colors over the DBH assigned colors?

AJ: I was really hoping they printed the original colors because it really made the design come alive on the shirt. In fact, I was expecting to see that when I checked my phone after I found out I won. When I saw the yellow and red on black I just thought my phone was acting up and the colors were off. I only realized it was the colorway they chose when I finally checked the site on my laptop.

They did print the correct colors on the white and grey tees though which was cool. Just thought the design itself got printed bigger, either that or the model was wearing an extra small shirt. To be honest, I was a bit sad at first but I guess DBH has their technical reasons and can do whatever they want with the design since it’s now theirs. I just hope people who voted for the original colorway still buy the shirt.

Coty: To win you had to get a ton of votes. Jimiyo went all out with promoting his top 5 tee. Did you do anything special or extra to publicize Black Hole Sun?

AJ: Funny you mentioned Jimiyo because every time he came out with something to promote his design, I tried to come with something on my own because it pressured me to get more votes!!!

Here’s some of the things that probably helped me win:

a) I gave away a couple of vectors at vecteezy.com after I saw Jimiyo give away animal vectors on gomediazine.com. I asked for votes in return.

b) Also placed some banner ads on targeted websites during the semi-finals week. I figured I could spend up to $1,000 to win the $10,000. I ended up spending around $300 worth of banner ads.

c) My parents became my best campaign managers after they email blasted the plea for votes to everyone they knew. They have a huge network and it just created a ripple effect.

d) I emailed a local newspaper about being a finalist and they featured me,my t-shirt designs, and my plea for votes.

e) I was an invited speaker at a local design conference called Graphika Manila, which included Tokidoki, Pixar, and other Filipino artists. So I ended up pimping my design to around 1,000 people.

Coty: Finally, I think most people are interested to know how you’re going to spend/use the cash prize?

AJ: Well I’m a family man so this goes partly to investing for the future. But before that, I’m bringing the family to Hong Kong for some R&R, maybe upgrade my laptop (Mac?). Also planning to give some money to our supportive parents. Lastly, I’m putting up a baby clothing business with my wife – we want to do onesies. So I guess I’m also going to be the designer for that. Do watch out for it. =)

Black Hole Sun is now available in the Design By Humans online store in three different shirt colorways. AJ, a Manila native, who calligraphy and bold patterns. He enjoys freelance and collaborative work. You can find out more about him and his work at his site, Collision Theory.

CollisionTheory Wins Design By Humans Contest!

Congratulations to CollisionTheory for winning the huge $10,000 Design By Humans T-shirt design contest! CollisionTheory’s Black Hole Sun edged out BRCollective’s Altitude Sickness tee to win the coveted prize. 

“Inspired by solar eclipses and my continuous fascination with all things cosmic. Credit goes to Chris Cornell for the shirt title. =) This will go well with my Electric Sky shirt. Hope you like it.” – CollisionTheory

CollisionTheory did leave a post on the Emptees boards after someone posted a congratulatory thread. Here’s what he said:

 

“Wow! This is the best thing to wake up to. It’s a little disappointing that they didn’t print the original colorway I designed though.

Anyway, I’m honored to have competed against the best. It reaffirms my belief that my less drawn, abstract style can go well against the top illustrators in the game .After all, art should be diverse and dynamic so I’m bringing my own style and vision to the table no matter what other people say.

To Jimiyo, even in competition, you have been supportive and pushed me to promote the design the best way I could. I owe you a beer my friend.

And lastly, to emptees, had it not been for this site, I would not have matured into the artist I am today. And winning in any tshirt competition would have been farthest from my mind. So I hope this serves as an inspiration to every guy and gal starting out.

So there just had to say that. Now go buy my shirt you foolz!” – CollisionTheory