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Budi Satria Kwan is Threadless Designer of the year 2013!

  • by KyleGeib
  • posted Aug 29, 2013

Congrats to Budi Satria Kwan for being named designer of the year! Over his Threadless career, Budi has been printed a whopping 70 times, not including 13 designs that were sold in The Gap! His Threadless designs have been purchased in 141 different countries totalling 268,490 items sold. Budi travelled all the way from Indonesia to Chicago so we could meet him in person at the Threadless Family Reunion this year. Turns out, he's a super cool dude. Get to know Budi a little better.

The stenciling style is pretty evident in your earlier works - is this something you try to incorporate into your style nowadays?
Actually I do not specialize in doing stencil style. I like to try new approaches to illustration and stencil illustration like the ones used in street art. Street art is something that fascinates me. Stencil illustration is attached with certain value, so it brings the illustration to a new level.

What’s the art scene like in Indonesia? Have you ever seen someone wearing one of your designs?
Art and design are not something widely valued by people in Indonesia, in my opinion. I think the same applies to most developing countries. Art and design aren't always seen as something that can be engaging. In Indonesia, people have the tendency to think of really traditional works when they think of art. For example, paintings of paddy fields, local markets, and other themes that have been done for hundreds of years. However, engagement photography is big here. In fact, most of the graphic design graduates or non-graduates I know ended up as engagement photographers! It seems that people are obliged to have engagement photos before the real wedding and the money is there. There is one photograph that I will never forget: A couple in wedding attire in the middle of a paddy field with the guy playing violin. It is really out of place, cheesy, and from what I understand neither of the couple knew how to play violin (or had ever been to a paddy field I believe). Every time I remember it, it never fails to make me smile!

Back to the question: No, I never saw anyone wear my design here in Indonesia.

You started your own t-shirt line with your brother called Concrete Rocket. It started off with three designs and grew to over 25 designs and even jackets. What’s been the most difficult part of starting your own business?
The most difficult part, other than doubting myself in every step, is finding a reliable local printer. I started back when I lived in Singapore. After weeks, I still could not find a good and affordable printer in Singapore so I resorted to outsourcing from Indonesia. I got scammed twice before I finally managed to find the right one. It was disheartening to have so much trouble even before the business started. Other issues came up after, but I guess these issues are all part of the things that will happen when running a store.

Did you enjoy your trip to Chicago for the Family Reunion?
Of course! Everything was so different. I found that buildings were bigger, the roads were bigger, and, in general, things were bigger. The Chicago Art Institute was surprisingly big. However, what left the biggest impression on me was to see Threadless, the company which I only knew from online and to meet like minded people.

How did it feel to win Designer of the Year?
I feel embiggened.

Check out Budi's MADE shop to pick up some of his designs!

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PeculiarTiffany profile pic Alumni

Congrats, Budi! Did you guys take any video of his time at Threadless? :-)

Ryder profile pic Alumni

Congrats dude! Always been a fan


Congrats Budi! aaaaaaaaawesome works!

cshimala profile pic Staff

Good stuff Budi. Great to meet you. Hopefully we can hang out another time in a more chill atmosphere.

@TheInfamousBaka - We did record the talks. I hope to start getting them up soonish.

PeculiarTiffany profile pic Alumni
shimala said:

Good stuff Budi. Great to meet you. Hopefully we can hang out another time in a more chill atmosphere.

@TheInfamousBaka - We did record the talks. I hope to start getting them up soonish.

Yay! I'd love to see those. :-D

JacquesMaes profile pic Alumni

Awesome, congrats!

gebe profile pic Alumni

fantastic! Congratulations Budi!

Morkki profile pic Alumni
1 design submitted -

Designer of the year? Designer of the decade.

dudeowl profile pic Alumni

You are the man! Amazing!

chuckpcomics profile pic Alumni
2 designs submitted - Score now!

it concerns me how much I like this dude


Congrats Budi!


threadbudi! awesome!

blackhand_ profile pic Alumni

Congratulations, Budi! This award couldn't have gone to a more deserving person.

nickv47 profile pic Alumni


alexmdc profile pic Staff

such a cool dude, well deserved! congrats!

Musarter profile pic Alumni

Congrats! Budi's work is always top notch.

Designer of the Year, more like Budi is Threadless.

speedyjvw profile pic Alumni

way to go budi! Great to finally meet!

Evan_Luza profile pic Alumni
2 designs submitted - Score now!

Congrats fam, you deserve it. I own multiple shirts of yours!

FoodStampDavis profile pic Alumni

Well deserved. Extra points for saying "embiggened."

Akaka profile pic Alumni

big congrats, well deserved!

KyleGeib profile pic Staff

I had the pleasure of working the MADE Shop booth with Budi at the Family Reunion, and can't stress enough how nice and sincere of a guy he is.

Congrats, Budi, you're a fantastic designer!

nikoby profile pic Alumni

big congrats!

YaaH profile pic Alumni

Congrats ^_^

JIMDAHOUSECAT profile pic Alumni

congrats Budi, well deserved, you've got some fantastic work under your belt :D

jess4002 profile pic Alumni

yahoo! congrats! way to go budi! :D

Haasbroek profile pic Alumni
1 design submitted -

Well deserved.

Goto75 profile pic Alumni

Amazing skills! Congrats!

jeffreyg profile pic Staff

was way awesome to meet you! :D

goliath72 profile pic Alumni

Awesome congratulation well deserve love your work!!


awesome works! Congrats Budi!

ivanrodero profile pic Alumni

Sweet Budi, congrats and you rock! ;^)

Farnell profile pic Alumni
1 design submitted -

awesome, so well deserved

3 designs submitted - Score now!

keep doing what your doing guy, cause it works.

bykai profile pic Alumni

Cool and kind person.. Congrats Budi!

Underdawg profile pic Alumni

This guy is an absolute beast! Congrats to you sir.

...Now please stop making shirts so the rest of us can have a chance ha.

Monkey X
Monkey X profile pic Alumni

Threadless Legend!

ppmid profile pic Alumni
3 designs submitted - Score now!

superb! i am a big fan

Thomas Orrow
Thomas Orrow profile pic Alumni

Brilliant artwork! Love that cupid design & the photocopied cats one!

lunchboxbrain profile pic Alumni
1 design submitted -

Budiful work! CONGRATS!!


Congrats and rock on Budi!! :)


wooww...mantap budi! keren-keren desain lo :)

dandingeroz profile pic Alumni
1 design submitted -


halfgotten profile pic Alumni

well deserved budi! congrats!

melmike profile pic Alumni

It's so great to see Threadless celebrate Budi like this, he looks to be a graphic designer first and foremost, capable of adapting his style to whatever is appropriate the concept, and in that capacity, he's a huge inspiration to me. Congratulations! So well deserved!

xraysucks profile pic Alumni

Yayyy.. :D


you should come to jakarta Budi, Selamat!

Robo Rat
Robo Rat profile pic Alumni

Wow, the Banksy of the t-shirt world and the lochness of countless designs that was very elusive before is now unmasked and revealed. So the idea that he's just a Threadless-built art team or he's Skaw is now proven wrong. Also, he looks friendly and humble.

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