DesignedByHumans.com is a new t-shirt design competition which IMHO is one of the few services that has the potential to become legitimate competition to Threadless. Sure it’s a similar concept but these guys have focused on two key aspects of the business that are critical, first the prize money and second the printing technology.
The Prize Money
The way Threadless structures prize money is it’s Achilles heal, a one time payment of $1500 in cash, and $500 in store credit sounds OK but it really doesn’t add up for the very best designers whos designs get reprinted over and over.
Designed by Humans doesn’t solve the reprint issue, or provide any residual income but it does provide the ability to make $3500 cash for 1 design.
It seems that DBH has put a hell of a lot of work into the various printing technologies designers will be able to utilize. I think this is one area that DBH has leapfrogged Threadless’s screenprinting set up.
- 8-Color Designs / Gradients / Half-tones – 8 colors per design (not including the t-shirt) and may contain gradients and half-tones
- High Density Inks – used to give a design a dimensional appearance or texture
- Flock – a technique that gives the design a fuzzy feel
- Foil – used to give a design a shiny metallic look
- Suede – Ink that as the name indicates, has the look and feel of suede
- Metallic – used to give the design a metallic shimmer less intense than foil
- Gel – can be applied over a print to give it a glass-like look
- Water-based inks – used to give a design a soft-hand feel and almost no-hand feel after wash
- Burnout – process removes the cotton fibers from a shirt, leaving only the synthetic fibers
- Discharge – basically a bleaching agent that is used to take the color out of the shirt (they have to find a better name than that
- Applique´ – a piece of fabric that is cut out and sewn onto the shirt
Those are some very cool options IMHO
So what’s the downside? not sure yet, although i’m not very keen on their licensing terms, considering this is a competition with a one time prize I think they are asking a lot in these terms
I think the Threadless T&C’s are a little more… Human. In fact the ironic thing is that the whole of the Threadless site feels more human. If DesignedByHumans.com fails it won’t be a failure of technology it will be a failure to build and grow a culture online like threadless has.