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Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World's Most Inspiring Online Design Community Paperback – October 1, 2010


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Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World's Most Inspiring Online Design Community + Thread's Not Dead: The Designer's Guide to the Apparel Industry + The T-Shirt Revolution: Building Your Business Using a Digital Apparel Printer
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810996103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810996106
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

I'd like to give a huge shout out to the artists, staffers (many of whom are modeling tees in the photography throughout this book), bloggers, scorers and everyone else who has helped make Threadless what it is. Thanks for participating, and to those of you that aren't hanging out on Threadless already, come join the fun!

From the Inside Flap

Threadless is a global t-shirt phenomenon. It's also one of the internet's most creative and vibrant communities. Threadless users--and there are more than one million members--submit designs, talk in its forums, blog, upload videos, and check out the latest artist interviews on the threadless.com site.

It's a t-shirt store, but that isn't really the point. The important part is how the tees are chosen--by the Threadless community. You submit a design, have it critiqued and voted on by fellow Threadless members, and the t-shirts with the most support each week get printed. Simple, and awesomely successful.

The genius of the idea has won admirers among some of the world's foremost business and marketing gurus, and Inc. magazine called Threadless "the most innovative small company in America." But for cofounder Jake Nickell it's always been about "real community, friendships, and working on a fun, cool project together."

Threadless is celebration of that first mind-blowing decade, from an office in the corner of Jake's Chicago bedroom, to a warehouse so big they need go-karts to negotiate it (seriously). Along with Jake's own account of the Threadless story, profiles of the community's favorite designers, and contributions from influential admirers, including Seth Godin and John Maeda, this book brings together 300 amazing tee designs in a year- by-year showcase. Funny, clever, beautiful, totally insane--the best that the Threadless community has created and inspired since 2000.

More About the Author

Jake Nickell is a gigantic brain on an unassuming body. Threadless's young and fearless entrepreneurial leader uses his quick-firing noggin to come up with new ventures, encourage nutty employee ideas, and tinker with countless side projects (no really, he's lost count). He also continues to keep up his geek cred through a love for programming. When he's not working, he's busy hanging out with his wife Shondi, his daughter Arli, and their son Dash in their Colorado home.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I bought this book for my son and he is delighted with it.
Bernice Horne
This is an awesome book, and if anything, stands to be an amazing source of inspiration and insight into the creative world that is Threadless.
Majrusty
Aesthetics aside, it's also a wonderfully refreshing read.
Nick D.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nick D. on October 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be essential reading for every designer/illustrator/creative person. It's visually stunning and thought-provoking, with hundreds of wonderfully diverse designs spanning an entire decade of Threadless t-shirts.

Aesthetics aside, it's also a wonderfully refreshing read. Because this book isn't JUST a collection of the designs you've been browsing/buying for years. It's also a portrait of a company founded by two people who stumbled onto success (fiscal and otherwise). The Threadless co-founders ("the two Jakes") eschew business school buzzwords like "crowdsource" and "collective innovation consortium;" both willfully admit they're not particularly good businessmen and needed outside help when their company took off. They're just a pair of guys who wanted to make some cool t-shirts. Both come off as genuine and incredibly likable, ostensibly proving that success is as simple as a good idea, a passion and a strong work ethic.

Hence, the books succeeds on two levels; first as a collection of inspiring/interesting images, second as a wonderful narrative about two friends who psuedo-accidentally monetized a wonderful idea and brought graphic designers together by forming a community/marketplace where good design is both encouraged and rewarded.

Halfway through your first reading you'll want to drop everything and open up a new Photoshop file.

Buy this book. Then buy another for your best friend.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Length: 1:01 Mins
This book is on the inspiring success story of Threadless, told chronologically through its founders and the designers who submitted T-shirt art on the site.

It's really interesting to read about the stuff that happens behind the scenes, the highs and lows of starting a company, the reaction of the community, and basically just building something big from small through trial and error. You also get to see how T-shirt printing from Threadless has evolved over the years with new technology in printing. If you're interested in entrepreneurial stories, this book is for you.

On Threadless, the community votes on the T-shirt designs they like. In this book, the selection features not just the highly rated ones, but also the badly rates ones as well, some of which are included because they are highly controversial.

Most of the designs are pretty cool, and you get to see a wide spectrum of work and quality. Through the ratings, you can see that the highly rated ones have great concept and makes use of the T-shirt medium really well. I saw one titled Three Keyboard Cat Moon created as a spoof to the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt on Amazon. Some inclusion left me scratching my head though.

The story of Threadless is inspiring. Highly recommended for designers and the entrepreneurial types.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sandysch on February 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was very pleased with this book. If you are a designer, or just like T-shirt designs and want to be inspired read this book!
The art, designs and business back story make a very interesting read. Highly recommended!
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By 808mm on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
they have some great full page prints that I actually cut out of the book and framed for my bookshelf...I wish all the designs were full page without page numbers overlaying them.
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My brother is a graphic designer. He found this book VERY good. He is a very talented person but you know sometimes you just don't get the inspiration. This book as he says is totally "inspirational". If you want to have ideas about cool designs, this is the book for you!
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I've always been a threadless fan, not only because of their bussiness model (wich now that i've read the hold book i understand better, this ppl are amazing) but because of the art involved and how they've helped hundreds of talents thru their website and stores.

Amazing arts and all of them been credited to their creators.

5 stars to threadless
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Excellent book, specially if you are already familiar with Threadless products. Great quality of the pages and the images, and some of them are just hilarious!
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Format: Paperback
Threadless.com might be the perfect example of how to launch a dot-com company in the post dot-com bust era. It was founded on a simple idea and a strong community--the idea of an "ongoing t-shirt design competition" in which the winning designs, selected by the community, would be produced. It also allows for community input--people can comment on submissions, make suggestions for improvement, etc. And the profits are shared between the company and the winning designers.

This book tells that story, from the early days in which the founders of Threadless were just a couple of design students, through the current state of the company, with a global following, 80 employees and a bricks and mortar store. But as Seth Godin puts it in his short description of Threadless, "This is not about t-shirts." To him, it's about an attitude, "about being willing to fail and relishing the idea of being different...If you page through this book, you'll see example after example of love, art and joy...but not a lot of fear."

In addition to capturing the Threadless history and philosophy, the book is a retrospective of some of the best designs, along with stories behind those. And this is where I find the most inspiration--flipping through and seeing all of the brilliant concepts.

I have an assignment that I like to give students in my advertising class once they have figured out how to do ads: Now make a t-shirt for your brand. Because beyond conveying a message, a t-shirt has to be something that people want to wear. Something they love enough to want to wear as a part of what identifies them. That's a hard thing to do. But page after page in this book, I see dozens of examples of t-shirt designs that make me laugh, smile, or that I'd like to wear. And that's inspiring.
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