Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dogs Bark + Hoot

Design by Humans, as I'm sure is not remotely a shock to you guys (even as rarely as I update lately), is in the midst of its 10K contest. Top 8 was announced on Monday, and while I had the best of intentions to get you a Top 24 post last week, it's appropriate to discuss now anyway, because Monday's shirt was, to me, fully worthy of that $10,000. So we'll get to the contestants later. First, it's time to gush.

Sanguine Parliament by thunderpeel is the sort of tee that makes a cynic like me excited for graphic arts again at a site which is struggling with its identity as one of the last bastions of true design, creativity, and boldness. DBH doesn't want to fully enter that realm, and some weeks that shows more obviously than others, but there just aren't many places willing to take these sorts of risks. This just isn't "marketable," or "familiar," but it is amazing. It takes full advantage of what vector art does best, with slick, smooth design that doesn't feel cloying and cloned, but also an absolutely delicious palette. The white and pink and yellow on feels like some sort of futuristic Neapolitan ice cream, and this might sound odd, but with the drips and such up above, it even evokes cool and creamy. It looks like ice cream tastes. Put that in your weird description pipe and smoke it. The layout, too, is choice. I love how the owls morph into the wolf, giving their ominous glares more power, and making their chubby, cute bodies more vicious for the more powerful predator they are framed by. The echo of the wolf-head, the similar but distinct owls, the flow of the drips... all motifs that are incredibly pleasing to me and cohesive with this slightly odd idea. And who can forget use of blank? This is a big, bold print, but it is totally breathable with all that black being used. And most important, it is simply unlike anything else. People so regularly laud the familiar, and sometimes even use uncreative as a positive, or a quality which evokes no response. There are constantly examples of people pushing forward in all art. There's no excuse to recycle. And it's a boon when any site takes the bull by the horns and is willing to print something of that nature.

Sadly, even at 24 level there weren't any pieces AS exciting as Sanguine Parliament, but most of my favorites were, as ever, leveled. However, I would definitely suggest you vote for a few of the top 8, and help then get printed next week: I am a big fan of the execution and concept of buko's Unleashed Imagination and the stellar illustration put forth in alvarejo's The Perfect Murder, and I encourage you to give them your support. However, to me, $10,000 is about something totally worthy. Something skillfully created. Something dramatic and striking. Something unique and daring. Something that I've never seen before. There simply isn't a single design in the top-8 (nor were there really any in the top-24, despite having high-hopes for a few to go further) that embodies this more than Yonil's "We Did This To Ourselves." It's currently in distant third against some promotional giants. Votes allegedly count less this year, but let's not kid ourselves, we need to fight to prove it's the right choice. I simply cannot see another tee that would deserve the honor more. Any prize this large should truly favor innovation over certain other factors, or else why would anyone bother putting in their A-game for such a huge prize?

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