Friday, June 3, 2011

Boo to Threadless!!!

So for several weeks I've been working on my designs for submitting to Threadless. I've tweaked and niggled at them, I've posted them on the critique section and spread the links far and wide. I've had tips from people on Facebook, Twitter and through the Threadless Critique itself.

The two designs I chose to submit - Mrrf? and Coo - got a lot of 'Submit This!' votes and a lot of positive feedback. I made some minor changes here and there based on the advice of designers on Twitter and through my facebook page. I also spent ages going through current Threadless designs up for the vote at the moment. I paid close attention to how they were laid out and what needed doing.

I tweaked and niggled some more. I adjusted, re-layered, changed colours and got them to a point where I felt that they were ready for submitting. Which I did this afternoon, as anyone who follows me knows.

And what happens?

I get this from a 'No Reply' Robot:

Hello Kaitlyn ,

Regarding: 'Mrrf?'

Unfortunately, your submission was declined.

The Threadless staff has provided the following reason to decline your submission:

Your submission was declined because we feel your idea could use a little more work to be up to the standard that will give it the best shot. We have a feature called "Critique" on that allows you to have your design critiqued before you submit it for approval. By using the "Critique" feature as a pre-submission tool, you can let the community help get your submission up to par. This will not guarantee your design will be accepted, but we hope this will help you improve your design!

I don't mind being told my stuff isn't good enough. I don't mind going back and working on it some more. what I do mind is the absolute uselessness of this email. I've used the critique. I've asked loads of people. I've made the designs very public and done a lot of work on them.

I would appreciate something a little more specific. How am I supposed to get it up to the standard if using the very system of critiquing that they offer obviously wasn't good enough? How am I supposed to know what needs fixing?

Anyhoo, I'm none to impressed and intend on seeking out an email to which I can send a reply and know that an actual human being will be on the other end. In the mean time, apologies to everyone who was excited to vote for my design. Thank you for RTing, forwarding emails and generally being so supportive.

If anyone has managed to get a bloody design onto Threadless, I'd really love to know what it is they want me to improve about these two. Any tips and advice are fully welcome.


  1. I like your idea & the text/words you've chosen are cute. Are these hand drawn? I wonder if they might look 'tighter' and clearer drawn up in Adobe Illustrator? I love the shape of the first cat/kitten - not so keen on the shape of the 2nd one.. I think he needs refining a bit more to make him cuter. The effect you've used for the (first) kitten's fur is a fun idea, however it might be better toned down a bit so that the eyes/nose/mouth are more visible. I think the colours of the first kitten also need refining so they contrast more with each other? I am forever having to draw 'cute' faces in my day job and I find googling cute cartoon faces helps me to get the best look I can. I think both of your kitten faces are almost there.. sometimes it's a simple (and tedious!) case of moving the eyes further apart/closer together/mouth up/down etc.. playing around like this is much easier if you've drawn as a CAD. Hope this helps! xx

  2. Thanks for the tips!
    I did draw it in Adobe Illustrator. What made you think I hadn't?

    I'm disinclined to change the brush strokes on Mrrf? because it's a tortie. I don't know how many Tortie cats you've seen but the distracted visibility of the eyes and nose was sort of the whole point.

    And they're girls, both of them.

    I'm thinking I may scratch using these at shirt designs and go for some of the other designs I've been working on instead for submitting.

    Thing is, these are actual characters for a children's book I'm writing based on actual cats so their look is taken from life and the point isn't to alter the character to fit the Threadless requirements.

    Thanks for sharing though! I'll definitely be working on the colours and polishing them up so they look liek the Adobe Illustrator works that they are.

  3. Hello - apologies for posting anonymously. I'm never sure how to post comments on blogs. It's me, @designbyday I'll have a go at posting my wordpress username this time..

    I guess at first glance, it was the very neatly drawn felt tip pen look with a crayon-like fur effects that made me think it wasn't a CAD. However, I know these effects/paint brushes are available in Adobe.

    I see what you mean re. the fur effect needing to be around the eyes to be more realistic. My comments are coming from a very commercial background, so maybe aren't relevant to what you want to achieve.

    Good luck with the children's book! This is something I dream of doing too. I took a course in London on how to write a children's picture book. I want to take a course on the illustration side next. :)

    Rach x

  4. Indeed. I feel like I'm likely always going to struggle with commercialization vs. making what I want.

    I'm often considering a course on children's books but have decided to do it as a hobby project in the background as I go along for the time being.

    Thanks for the advice though because it does help me work out more viable designs for selling.


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