Monthly archives: June 2008

Gorgeous Hand Screen Printed T-Shirts and Hoodies from Umsteigen

Just found out about these guys, Umsteigen, from the ScreeningDemons blog (who I wish would update more often).




Umsteigen have a great selection of unique and dressy hoodies, shirts and dresses (for the girls mostly, sorry lads). All the stuff is hand screened and designed by Susanne Schubert, designed and manufactured in New York city.

Photo bio 2

Fail Whale – Twitter is over capacity T-shirts and Fan Club

If you have ever used Twitter, the latest obsession of the web 2.0 digerati, and famously unstable, then you are familiar with the “Fail Whale”, the page Twitter serves up when it is over capacity. Well the Fail Whale now has a fan club at and official merchandise from the illustrator Yiying Lu on Zazzle.

Along with some unofficial merchandise from the Mule Design courtesy of the Feedstore and funny man Mike_FTW with “The Fail Whale Ate My Balls”.

You can find me on Twitter here and when Twitter is down i’m on increasingly on Plurk

UPDATE: Fail Whale in 3D

New Type T-Shirt from Graphic Designer Lowman in the Netherlands

This is a new design and new designer out of the Netherlands, I love the treatment and the phrase has a nice ring to it as well.

Also I just implemented a new comment system called Disqus, please try it out and let me know what you think. First commenter gets a Threadless Gift Certificate, and the first commenter to answer this question get one as well (you can’t win both of them). The question is what is the name of the movie this shot is from:

Teh Internets T-Shirt from The Chop Shop with annotations

I don’t know how I missed this but I love the Internet Meme t-shirt from Chop Shop. Even better, when I did a quick search online I found out (via Laughingsquid) that Dave Shea has annotated the t-shirt with notes on flickr with links to all the memes.

Dave also did the same thing for the Robots shirt that the chop shop recently came out with.

Call For Entries – Typophile T-Shirt Competition, an amazing site for the Type obsessed is having their 2008 Typebattle T-shirt contest. More bragging rights than prize money (unless someone want’s to sponsor it), so if you love type and want to give it a go, check it out.

I’m Not A Number I’m A Free Man…. Ooooh, I’m Number 52

Anyone remember the Simpsons episode where Homer uttered the famous phrase from the Prisoner?


Well that was the first think I thought of when I heard about We Are which is a line of t-shirts, fashion subversion, performance art, and a happening all at the same time.

Nr 9

The project was started by Twan Verdonck, a dutch designer who lives in Antwerp, Belgium, he wears the number one and makes your tee. Each T-shirt is finished with a hand printing of your number so it’s a one of a kind, here’s some video of Twan at work (who if I ever go to Belgium I will be getting a beer with).

Obviously because these guys are in Europe they have already got some extremely hot women dressing up in their T-shirts, man I love the Dutch.

Number 12

Anyway, I ordered mine and i’m number 52, and of course you are expected to take a picture of yourself so it can be added to their web page and potentially to a book (for the first 1,000).

Limited Cargo Launches Today with limited edition Mashable T-Shirts


Limited Cargo is a new company that launched today that is essentially like W00t for brands, the way they put it is “Limited Edition Goods, Your Favorite Brands”. They launched today with a T-Shirt from the popular social networking news site Mashable and have printed 300 of them. Each product they sell is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity (just in case that kind of thing is important to you).


One very interesting feature of the Limited Cargo product page is that there is a grid which shows how much of a product is left, and when you purchase one of the products your own icon shows up with a link to your home page which I find a very interesting twist. Even more interesting the top 12 spots are bigger and come with an additional goodie. This is a wonderful bit of social engineering I think.

Limited Cargo

Look out for a limited edition Tcritic t-shirt coming soon :-)

New T-Shirts from

Ghetto hold a soft spot in my heart as they created one of my favorite t-shirts ever, the “your empire needs you” with the stormtrooper. They have come out with a new line of music inspired shirts that can all be found online at the

I particularly like the vintage treatment of the Space Invaders shirt and the nice use of red and green which is a challenging color combination for any designer :-)

and you can never go wrong with Jimi!

Johnny Cupcakes Spring 08 T-Shirts

Johnnycupcakessummer 2008

Johnny Cupcakes, that is all.

More coverage and photos of the madness at the Newbury St store at HYA

UPDATE: this is the spring 2008 line, the summer line up coming next week.

Che Guevara wearing a Bart Simpson T-shirt

Unfortunately the New Yorker requires me to have written permission to put a picture of the T-Shirt here, so I tried to buy the t-shirt so I could put a picture of it here but unfortunately their shopping cart code is totally borked, here’s a screenshot of their database error.

and just to satiate your appetite for something Simpson-like and amazing here’s an incredible video of a recreation of the Simpsons town of Springfield in the video game Quake 3 Arena:

Video via BoingBoing

Lipstick Prophets Naughty Hoody and T-Shirt

Lpmst 008 lg

Love these shirts and hoodies from Lipstick Prophets, I think I have to get one. Found it reading Hide Your Arms.

Lpps 008pk lg

Also HYA has put together an amazing list of 133 t-shirt blogs and related sites

All My Friends Are Dead – Ripped Off?

The Thick Plottens as they say. I read a post a week or so ago on Taddict’s blog about a suspected t-shirt rip off of Big Stone Heads t-shirt “all my friends are dead”. Even though it showed up in Hot Topic, it was a T-shirt company called Ripple Junction that created the design.

Hot Topic Bigstonehead

Now it certainly has all the elements, but it’s also a very different design. Should it be considered a rip off or a mashup? Stolen idea and original implementation?

What about 7 samurai and the magnificent 7?
Star Wars and Hidden Fortress?
Daft Hands vs Kanye Hands?

I know a lot of the knee jerk reactions to t-shirt rip offs comes from scenarios like smaller designers actually pitch ideas to a larger company and the larger company decides to just do their own design rather than license the original work, which in my mind is reprehensible and a bad business practice (ala Johnny Cupcakes vs Urban Outfitters).

Granted, the whole ‘dropping a bomb of x’ concept isn’t really new, but if Urban Outfitters solicited t-shirts from a designer, they shouldn’t be getting anywhere near the same concept if they choose not to license the artist’s work.

via the Consumerist
But I wonder if the t-shirt world would be better off with a more Creative Commons approach to design where we actively encourage people to “build” on our ideas and concepts with attribution?

Here’s a great video collection about creative commons.

Anyway, here’s the explanation from Ripple Junction about the similar designs.

Comment by Neil on June 20, 2008 @ 4:37 am

(cross posted at also)

This is Neil, one of the owners of Ripple Junction. I want to explain a few things about what happened in the creation of this design.

When I first saw this blog posting, I was pissed. Pissed at the designer that did this and I demanded an explanation. We don’t roll like that, and I want to point out to astra that this has not happened before; it was a Goodie Two Sleeves design that was posted previously.

When I questioned the artist, this is his exact response, I’ve included links to the images he’s referring to:

“Dude, I have never seen that.

I came across the attached ( image in a list of the top 50 funniest album covers. I jotted down the title cuz I thought it might work with a zombie design, or even something for Resident Evil. I later heard the verbiage again in a song by the band Turbonegro, so I realized it was pretty much a pop culture phrase. I even saw an art print a guy did using batteries that had this verbiage as the title. ( The idea I had sat in my notebook for while, though.

One day hot topic was asking for some quick dino tee ideas, and I thought it could work for that, too. And if you remember, after they saw the original design I made (which had a bloody t rex I think) they are the ones that suggested to change it to a stegasarus. How do we know he didn’t use the idea after he saw it at hot topic? The website is notorious for not having editors or fact checkers. Its an open blog.”

I went through my email’s (we originally showed this design to Hot Topic in Feb 08). We showed a cartoony t rex with the verbiage (image here, and hot topic wanted something a little less cartoony. We put in a stegosaurus.

We’ve been selling Hot Topic Dinosaur Shirts since the fall of 2005, you can see a picture of the first design that we shipped to them here ( .

The phrase is not original, and people make dinosaur t shirts. There are literally thousands upon thousands of people who design things every day. Ask yourself, is it possible that 2 people in different places used a pop culture phrase and paired it with a dinosaur?

I also want to point out the irony of the fact that the person who posted this, Taddict, has on his blog a bootleg Gremlins tshirt. We have a license with Warner Bros to produce Gremlins merchandise. We pay a lot of money to secure rights, is it ok to use WBros intellectual property without paying them? Apparently that doesn’t bother anyone.

We work hard to create original, creative artwork and have been doing so for over 15 years. We license artwork from major Studios and individual designers, and have a stellar reputation in our industry. I don’t know if this will change anyone’s mind, but I’m not going to sit back and watch our name get dragged through the mud.


Ask yourself, is it possible that 2 people in different places used a pop culture phrase and paired it with a dinosaur?

UPDATE Here’s the response from Avery who designed the Big Stone Head Shirt:

Hi there,
This is Avery from I designed our “All My Friends Are Dead” shirt, and I’d like to respond to Neil and the folks at Ripple Junction.

Ripple Junction said, “Ask yourself, is it possible that 2 people in different places used a pop culture phrase and paired it with a dinosaur?”

Yes, sure, it’s possible. But that’s not the point. The point is, if you google search “all my friends are dead,” you get three links to our shirt on the first results page. If you google “all my friends are dead shirt” you get 9 links to our shirt. I’m a designer, and every time I have an idea that I think is worth making I check as carefully as I can to make sure it wasn’t done before. And my company is relatively small. The folks at Ripple Junction, when selling to
national-chain-mega-store Hot Topic, have the RESPONSIBILITY to really make sure they’re not making something that’s already been made. Spiderman said: with great shirt power comes great shirt responsibility.

Never mind the fact that the shirts are clearly the same idea. Never mind the same text. Never mind the same dinosaur. They say it was a coincidence, fine. What isn’t fine is that they apparently didn’t do a single search to see if it was already on the market.

On Ripple Junction’s website, under Terms and Conditions for submitting shirt ideas, they say they’ll “compensate the individual who submitted the Design, provided that the Design or a substantially similar Design is not already in Ripple Junction’s possession or being worked on by Ripple Junction.” It seems
they’re very thorough when it comes to checking to see if a new design is “substantially similar” to something they already own. It’s unfortunate that that they don’t apply the same standards when checking if other people have been selling a shirt since 2002. Ask yourself: is their shirt “substantially similar”
to ours?

If it’s truly the case that the shirts’ similarities are pure coincidence,
Ripple Junction is irresponsible for not checking, and it’s a bad situation for me, the little guy, who, within a few weeks of the shirt being mass-produced for Hot Topic with Ripple Junction’s tag, will no longer be recognized as the creator of this idea.


Great point from Avery about some basic research on a concept, as it turns out my post on the t-shirt and album covers is the first result on google for “all my friends are dead”, I think designers should make an effort to see if a concept has already been done.

Here’s the top results on an image search on google:

Viva Ortegacy – very limited edition hand screened t-shirts out of brooklyn

Index Winter

Viva Ortegacy is a great collection of beautifully designed and screened, very limited edition tshirts. The design above is called WINTER WAS HARD. Check out his shop on Etsy for more of his stuff.

Werewolf Tee
Werewolf Tee

pixel robot tee
Pixel Robot Tee

ThreadLess Team Up With Timbuk2 Creating Amazing Messenger Bags

Threadless and Timbuk 2 msp
(thanks to Gearcrave for letting me know about this story)

The Threadless saga continues and all things they touch continue to turn to gold, like these limited edition Timbuktu bags. All the bags are silkscreened with beautiful designs and limited to 200 pieces, very unique and striking and even better with a matching t-shirt.

True Love Gluekit msp

The New England design geniuses at Gluekit put this design together for this Timbuktu bag and matching T-Shirt from Threadless (Apart from the awesome bag and shirt I highly recommend you check out their site as well for some great graphics and “best use of audio in web navigation” IMHO).

Julia Sonmi Heglund Believe it msp

The design from Julia Sonmi Heglund is also a graphic treat as well titled Believe It, check out the bag here and the T-Shirt from Threadless here. Totally worth exploring her site for more graphic goodness as well, fabulous stuff, she has had several previous winners on Threadless.

Gossamer Robert Hardgrave msp

Robert Hardgrave’s design is called Gossamer, check out the bag here and the T-Shirt here. Check out Roberts blog at for more of his amazing artwork.

Zero Punctuation T-Shirts From SplitReason and other video game chat

zero punctuation t-shirt

Finally, official Zero Punctuation merchandise from SplitReason, you’ve been holding your breath waiting for this, right?

If you have never heard of Zero Punctuation then you are missing out on a whole world of off color comedy and commentary on the world of video games. Now, you don’t have to be a gaming nerd to actually appreciate these videos either, as they are generally very funny even if you have no idea what “Yahtzee” is actually talking about. It’s especially satisfying if you’re British as he also throws some nice “in jokes” for the Brits and Ex-pats. Zero Punctuation lives on the great web magazine focused on gaming called The Escapist which is much more a thinking mans place for video game related commentary and editorial.

His recent video on the console wars is brilliant:

zero punctuation t-shirt

zero punctuation t-shirt

Another great blog on gaming is the Wonderland Blog which is refreshingly written by a female of the species called Alice. Also if you are into video games and you are not a pre-pubescent fucktard you should check out a community of gamers “over 30″ (although not a requirement) called

Oh and free $25 Threadless gift certificate to anyone that can name Yahtzee’s least favorite game genre :-)