Thursday, September 4, 2008

Disarmed By Hummingbirds

Design by Humans is really the second of the two big guns in the online shirt world. While Threadless often relies on strong concepts to back up their shirt art, DBH often eschews concept for bold and artistic. They revel in the shirt as a canvas, and many of their prints take full advantage of this, using unique placements, specialty inks, foils, even embroidery. If you want abstract, DBH is your place. If you want big, there is something for you for sure. Looking for some high-quality detail work? It is entirely likely there has been something you'd love designed by a human. It's a totally different market from Threadless more often than not, and it really helps add some diversity to the shirt game.

Needless to say, I was excited to find out that today's Design By Humans offering was a piece worth blogging about, just in time for my second entry. This particular one is called "The Defender," and it's designed by Artulo, who one must presume to be a human. It's a highly detailed drawing of a hummingbird in full and flashy knight regalia. Check out the detail in those tail feathers... that's DBH's bread and butter right there, bringing fine details to life. I especially love the smaller bird in the coat of arms on the larger one's chest and double-ended triton of doom... it's not an eyecatcher like other parts of the bird, but it's almost like an inside joke... proof that the designer put a little extra thought in when putting his piece together. Even in the less detail-rich areas, the linework is crisp and clear, and the color choice for that line art stand out well against the white backdrop without being too stark.

Even with the details, however, it's a piece that seems to run counter to my rundown of the general Design by Humans M.O. Sure, the ink is listed as "reflective gray," which gives the promise of this bad boy looking totally swank in the sun, but even that doesn't fully take advantage of their printing capabilities. Until you realize... this thing is freaking huge. Which takes me back to that comment about not being too stark: with a print this size, the more subdued gray ink is an even wiser choice, avoiding blaring black off your chest. But the size is just the beginning. You don't just get a very attractive hummingbird illustration. You don't just get it sized perfectly for hotties to see it from a distance and appreciate your impeccable taste (giving them time to scrawl out their number and surreptitiously slip it into your pocket as your paths cross). This, my friends, is an all-over print. Those wings will be peeking over your shoulder, wrapping around your side to your back. Wear it to the bank, the DMV, Disneyland... anywhere there's a line, you will capture the curiosity of those lucky enough to be directly behind you.

Tomorrow, I'll be bringing you the first installment of what I hope will be a weekly segment: the SingulariTee contest watch. More on that when it comes, obviously. Until then, I totally recommend clicking the pics in this post to get a full-sized view and see why this is much more than your run-of-the-mill bird shirt.


Jaden Kale said...

Awesome write up on Artulo's shirt, Adder. In first viewing the shirt on DBH, I hadn't even noticed it was to be 'reflective gray'. Great added detail to point out.

I can't wait to see what you have to say on the contest watch write ups.

Chris Risse said...

crap, i feel like an idiot. i had no idea you ran this place adder!

Adder said...

"Run" implies organization, Chris. I certainly am not organized. Just a mess of ink and cotton