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Do printed designers actually read these?!

So here's the thing, I'm just frustrated. I was hoping to get some advice from someone who has been printed, but will gladly except all the help I can get. I know these forums are riddled with pleas for help and will probably get overlooked. However, my most recent design didn't do so well and I feel like I am missing something. What Am I missing?! Please let me know, you wont hurt my feelings.
Is it just a stupid idea?
Too many elements?
Terrible execution of the idea?
The fact that it is Vector?
Bad color Choices?
I'm just not sure... I had one comment and somewhere close to 200 people voting. It received a 2.23 with 14 "5's" and 59 "1's".

Watch this

I agree it is a hilarious concept, but it's really hard to tell that those are toy snakes in her head. I also agree that making them more "active" would definitely help make them stand out more.

I can imagine a dozen toy snakes making crazy angular shapes all over her head.


When a design fails it usually does so for a number of reasons. I am a printed designer (on a different account) with hundreds of failures so I know a bit about it. There are broad and specific reasons for each failure, but each design is ultimately a distinct piece with its own unique needs. This one could benefit from better composition, like randyotter said. Color is another area that I think that many designs submitted could use improvements on (I failed with colors for a long time, and still have trouble).

Color choices are often best when they are both interesting, eye catching in some way, but also organic to the tee. What I mean by that is that while an infinite number of color schemes can work under the right circumstances, its best to look toward a scheme (when dealing specifically with tee design) that when applied makes the design feel more like a part of the shirt than an illustration slapped onto one. The design above uses some distressing and negative space, so you're on the right track as far as utilizing the tee, but also using a color scheme that would compliment the wearer (remember you want people to want to wear these designs not just like the illustration) would really push your designs to the "next level."

One final thought is that 2.23 is hardly a failure, so don't let me make you feel that way either. It's actually a great place to start at threadless. Breaking a 3 is something to strive for but not expect, and very few designs have ever broken 4.

Morkki profile pic Alumni

You are on the right track in analyzing why it wasn't successful. The idea, as has been said, is good. The problems are in the execution.

From a distance I couldn't tell they were toy snakes as hair, it looked like a woman with a potted plant on her head. As others said, arranging the snakes in a more dynamic way would help a lot. Also the round purple decorations on the snake sections create a camouflage that makes it harder to see individual snakes. However, the thing that bothers me most is the diamond shape with the striped background. It's a completely unnecessary element that only makes it harder to see the actual snakes. When making a design think what is the focal point and how can you draw the viewers eye to it.

One thing that I don't like (and this is completely subjective) is her face. It lacks personality and looks flat and plastic. With the plastic snakes it actually makes sense for her face to be plastic too, like a mannequin, but maybe you should go further with that idea and add some highlights. Oh and one more thing: when making a face by mirroring one half of a face don't mirror the reflections in the eye ;)


Personally, I would ditch the background. The stripes stifle the pop art colours and distract from the main piece. I would spread the snakes out to make it more dynamic - just think how cool it would look it the snakes were curling across the whole upper half of the tee! As a side thought, I would consider giving her a more dramatic expression. I imagine her either with her eyes closed with a slight smirk (as in the sketch above), or maybe a sultry, alluring expression, giving the suggestion of a more evil, Medusa-esque character. I would def stick to the colours you've chosen though: the green, purple and white work well together.

Bio-bot 9000
Bio-bot 9000 profile pic Alumni

Since it's supposed to be a funny scene, the art and composition should be a bit more cartoony (whimsical, light hearted). The serious tone and realism sort of dampens the effect.


some quality advice in here


Wow guys, I wasn't expecting such a great response! You have all given me plenty to think about and to improve upon. I am definitely going to ditch the diamond background and add more snakes. However, I’m not quite sure how to make them look more like toy snakes? That is exactly how they look. I was originally going to do a few colors, but didn't want the design looking too "rainbow". I’ll keep working on it and we’ll see what comes of it…

I really appreciate the feedback and ideas everyone! Thank you.

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