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Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World's Most Inspiring Online Design Community Paperback – October 10, 2010
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From the Author
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.
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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.
It was so great reading the story of this amazing company from the eye's of threadless' founder.
Good both for people looking for inspiration in business and for people looking for artistic inspiration.
The perfect book! ^_^
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.
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.
To those who gave it 1 star, I think next time you should read the description more carefully. It's not a book that shows you how to design t-shirts like any tutorial book and what not. Just spend 1 minute considering your buying choice and keep that 1-star for something else.
Amazing arts and all of them been credited to their creators.
5 stars to threadless