Thursday, August 27, 2009

Contest Watch: Week of August 20

There are few considerations in tee design that can do so much for your design than color. This week, we'll examine a few instances where we see just that.

We start at Teextile, where we see the importance of contrast with MJ's "Electric Eel." The starkness of white on black is always a bold choice, and I like how the inkless body of the eel itself breaks that up. The gradient's colors add a lot, too. The choice of gradient helps illustrate the surge that gives the eel its name, but the colors used help convey the watery depths at which the creature would live, with the dark purples giving way to the light pockets of aqua. But overall, I like how iconic the image is... after all, some people would say you can never have enough lightning.

While white-on-black is always stark, the right colors will bring even more pop, as is the case with ArrowHead, by Atomicchild. The textures here are gritty like the subject matter, which carries the grit of war and violence as well as the dirt long burying these stone relics. It makes the distressing and grunging work well with the piece. I also enjoy how the argyle-esque backdrop interacts against the triangular tips and the flowing arrow-shafts. But the colors are what really ratchet up the wearability here. Outside of the heads themselves, outfitted in rock tones and blood red, the other colors are bold and pop off each other while complimenting each other as well. It's a tribal palette, burning like fire like the rage in which these tools were used, and an autumnal one, speaking to that decay of time burying the past. Above all, though, the colors draw you in as they interact and intermingle. The palette alone is enough to finally give this Threadless staple a well-deserved first print, and the upcoming season can only help the appropriateness of doing so.

There are, of course, times when color is used to completely alter the perceptions of a piece, much as Mitohapa does in her eerie "The Ghost Town Cactus Trio," up for votes at Tilteed. I do so wish Tilteed allowed zooms and the like, because this piece deserves a closer look. The focus of this piece is ostensibly the natural strength and grace and wild nature of the horse, but a simple color switch elevates this piece from a well-done study more at home with young girls enthralled by Black Beauty to an evocative and mysterious piece of art. The greens and smoky blues make us behold a pale (and otherworldly) horse. The leaps and poses become a bit ominous, and serve to highlight how we humans can never fully know the natural world. The cactus element is odd, but ties in an old west stampede feel. The darkness recalls any number of eerie stories, from Sleepy Hollow to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. For me, I think all that is what makes the piece so magical... with just a simple switch of colors, the piece goes from an homage to an animal to something that can capture the imagination and mean something different for each viewer. It's all in the power of a creative palette.

Back to Threadless, we see another piece that has drawn me in largely for the color scheme: that is inappropriate's "Ask Again Later..." It's a piece that makes excellent use of black outlines, implementing thick, bold strokes against colors that can both compliment and hold their own against the outline. In all honesty, there's a lot I don't get about the piece... specifically where the 8-ball and it's predictive references come in. Presumably the layers of drippings are representative of whatever cloud of "magic" allows the simple ball to inform us of our future decisions. But what I do know is that I love the flow here, and love the colors... the unsaturated, almost dull tones nevertheless pop within their thick outlines and against the plain blank. I've also been becoming more and more of a fan of the goopy, drippy style in play here... my eyes can't stop following those lines wherever they'll take me. And whatever the true inspiration, it is true that the ball anchors the piece well, while the triangles, proclaiming some of the ball's most famous standard advice, definitely do break up the curvature of the main piece with their straight lines and sharp angles. It's brilliantly wearable, to me, and it makes me seriously wonder why more places aren't taking chances on things like this. It could well be the next big thing.

Finally, there is much to be said for being reserved and having a gentle touch, knowing just what colors need to be used. This subtle piece, The Lost Gondolier, is up at Design By Humans, and is brought to us by timizy01. It's cast in such simple colors that the design can easily look perfect on any given shade, and the mock-up here certainly aims to prove that. The simplicity of the colors doesn't kill the boldness the site is known for, though. The flowing waves here fill up the shirt, giving it a great texture. The helpless gondolier seems all the more engulfed by the waves for their vast expanse of shirt canvas space, and also helps contrast his composition, of thick black lines and fills. The piece needs no more than the two basic colors used here to be so bold and powerful and artful.

That's about all for now, except to say that I will be out and about for the weekend, so we probably will not be seeing each other until Monday, the start of DBH10K week. Cross your fingers for a 5th place miracle.


craig said...

Is your parents basement moldy?

Adder said...

Not overly, but it could use some remodeling if you're offering. My mother thinks there's still asbestos down there, which means we hardly even use it for storage, so I think she's been wishing and waiting for maintenance disposable enough to risk high-scale exposure. You'd be a perfect fit for the job. Generally she wouldn't take unsolicited offers, but you do seem perfect for it.

eHalcyon said...

I do believe I specifically requested cactus horses, not just "green". :P I still think they looked better on white, but I'm probably in the minority on that. I'll take what I can get, anyway. I trust you'll announce it when they print it. I've been waiting for that one for a long time. :)