Design Submission Declined - Could use some feedback on how to improve! :)

I recently submitted this design for the 'Original Monsters' challenge but was declined.

I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out what is good and what needs improving!

Specific examples would be lovely~ Is the coloring good? Does the design work well on a T-Shirt? Is it easy to see and understand? Is it likeable? Does it lean on the side of a professional design or an amateur one?

Thanks so much in advance for any and all comments! :D

P.S. I'm clueless when it comes to what to put in the 'printing notes' section of the submission form. Can someone help? Please and thank you!

Watch this
soloyo profile pic Alumni

link doesn't work. No permission to view page.


Is there still a 8 color limit? I thought that stipulation had been removed.

Perhaps the design is too similar to something that is already up for voting?

TheInfamousBaka profile pic Alumni

The 8 color limit isn't an issue anymore thanks to simulated process printing. :-) A few things that you could do to improve is clean up your line art, work on your composition a bit (it's an odd shape for a shirt) and perhaps make the coffee look less like a big brown blob. Take a look at what prints to get an idea of the areas that need improving.


Thanks for the replies!


I notice that the pictures I uploaded are a bit pixelated. I'm not sure how that happened because the original pictures I have don't seem to be that way. (Is the fuzziness and pixelation what you meant by needing to clean up my line work)?

What are good shapes for shirts? I've seen this suggestion on other users threads but I'm not sure what is or isn't. By my own research it seems the best shapes seem to be as square as possible or circle. Is the problem the 'lopsidedness' of the doughnut next to the cup?

I'm thinking that the only way to fix the coffee is to use a watercolor brush/effect. Perhaps no black outline there?

TheInfamousBaka profile pic Alumni

Yeah, it's the lopsided shape that's throwing me off. Usually shirt designs fit nicely on the chest area, the whole front of the shirt, or they are a large print/belt print that covers the entire thing. As for your line work, make sure that you're working at a super high resolution (300 dpi at least), because your lines shouldn't degrade that much when you save them for the web. Here are two shining examples of "cute " styles that do well here on Threadless... Ilovedoodle and Andyg.


I think I know how to fix the lopsided shape!

And I thought I was working at 300 dpi. Weird! I'll have to check that out. Does it matter what file type you save to? I'm working on GIMP and I exported to a GIF file. I wonder if that has anything to do with it...

Tim Widden

hmmm.. some more detail would be good, like some water texture on the splash. good luck!


I found the donut a bit dim and shady. Its not clear. Try to fix it :)

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