Let’s Get Anthropomorphic: Witty & Wild T-Shirt Designs

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As the sort of person who lives almost exclusively in graphic tees, I’m always on the lookout for cool t-shirt designs to add to my distressingly extensive collection.

So when I caught wind of an offbeat t-shirt design contest from Headline Shirts, cleverly entitled “Animals Are People Too,” I couldn’t resist following its progress. A San Francisco-based retailer, Headline Shirts has been selling witty graphic tees from its online store for 10 years. Headline’s first-ever design contest, “Animals Are People Too” launched in March 2015. Inviting professional and amateur designers alike to participate, the contest called for t-shirt designs featuring animals engaged in human activities.

“We had a lot of fun with our first contest, and we were excited by how it turned out,” said Jake Ginsky, Creative Director at Headline Shirts. “We wanted to stand out by doing something that reflected the humor of our brand. So we chose a theme that we knew people could have a lot of fun with.”

The most popular t-shirt would be sold in the store, and the winner would earn $500 and a $100 gift card (plus bonus payments from sales) to the designer who created the most popular design.

After a call for submissions, Headline posted 10 of the designs in an online gallery and invited visitors to vote for their favorites. When voting ended at the end of April, the winner emerged: “Getting Inked” by Tiffany Fung was voted best in show.

gettinginked-500 (1)

“Getting Inked” by Tiffany Fung

Fung, described as “a production artist, borzoi enthusiast and aspiring medical illustrator,” creates compelling illustrations, digital media and animation design work.

“We got some great submissions, and it ended up being a really exciting race,” Ginsky said. “The voting literally wasn’t decided until the last day. I thought the diversity was especially interesting. Each designer brought their own style to the mix (for example, Sharks Playing Poker, Songbird, Scottie, Born to Die—each had a very different voice).”

songbird-500“Songbird” by Kait Heger


“Sharks Playing Poker by Paul Triggiani


“Beam Me Up, Scottie” by Alex Pawlicki


“Born to Die” by Deth Sun

Ginsky said the contest helped Headline expand its audience and connect with a new group of people—specifically with graphic designers.

“‘Getting Inked’ instantly became one of my personal favorite tees,” Ginsky said. “And it was just a fun exercise to give the audience a topic and see what they could come up with. It’s the complete opposite of our usual process.”

Headline is currently accepting submissions for its second design contest, “It’s Summertime, Dammit!”

Check out more of the submissions from “Animals Are People Too”: motorcross-bear-500

Motocross Bear by Josh Geiser


Fight’n Octopus by Richard Tackett


The Cat Pack by Alex Olson


Fast and Furry-ous by Kevin Andrews


Chan Chan Cat Chats by Niki Baker

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