There are unspoken t-shirt competitions before the t-shirt competitions even begin. Designs must make it past a gatekeeper before your submission goes public. Many sites require that you meet some written AND unwritten standards before your design can be viewed or voted on by the public. So I have often wondered how companies deal with all of the bad submissions to t-shirt competitions. Some sites let every submission show while others have a heavy filtering system that involves handpicking designs that qualify to participate in the contest for community voting. Many sites try to maintain a certain look or style so some submissions just don’t fit the companies model. In other cases, people just aren’t any good at design or don’t know how to create designs that are created at the correct resolution or image type. We would like to think that everyone has a chance to have their design viewed by potential voters but its not that simple.
LaFraise posted in their boss blog a while back (sorry this post has been in my queue for a few months!) that they are getting frustrated at the lack of quality submissions and reviews some of the issues they have with submissions. LaFraise straight up stated in their blog “…it would be nice to get more quality submissions to the EU-competition. Lately I’ve been forced to reject loads of submitted designs even if I really don’t want to do that” Submissions are reviewed daily and LaFraise staff asks the following question when deciding whether or not to show a design on the site. “Does this design have a snowflake’s chance in hell to be printed on laFraise shirts?” Some of the issues LaFraise has encountered includes 1. auto-tracing bitmap images to vector 2. Using bad fonts. 3. Boring or unoriginal designs.
Well, the thing is, what LaFraise doesn’t mention is that they want a design that matches their style or vision of t-shirt design. How does a t-shirt competition site tell folks what that design style is or isn’t. There are subtle differences in designs (or designs that win) at Threadless compared to other t-shirt competition sites which is a topic I might address another day. Anyway, I think we should have a t-shirt competition for the worst submissions. I would love to see Threadless, Design by Humans, Uneetee, Allmighty’s and others send us the worst submissions so we can all appreciate the process and how good or bad some designs are.