T-shirt Design Contest

Okay. So. We’ve got some news that’s been delayed due to the photo contest.

Starting on June 1st, we’re running our second mid-season fundraiser for Worldbuilders.


Last year we tried a summer Indiegogo fundraiser and were delighted with how well it turned out. So this year we’re going to be doing it again, except with more cool stuff.

One of the things we want to do is run a t-shirt design contest.

When we first decided to do t-shirts, I asked people to submit designs, then we voted for them here on the blog.


That’s how we ended up with our first shirts.


And don’t get me wrong, I love those shirts. I get a warm glow when I see people wearing them at conventions and signings.

But we first brought those designs out back in 2010. Those shirts have had nearly 5 years to sit in the store. We need something new. And, because the first t-shirt contest went over so well, and gave us some of our favorite shirts, it seems only fitting that we give it another try.

Here are some rules:

  • Must be your original art/design.
  • Please submit your entry as a web-friendly image (jpeg, png, pdf). Images should not exceed 5MB in size. (If you win, we’ll contact you for higher resolution images.)
  • Please don’t submit more than three designs.
  • Email your submissions to tshirt (at) worldbuilders.org
  • The submission period ends in one week. On Sunday, May 24th.

Lastly, keep in mind when making a t-shirt design: Fewer colors tends to be simpler and more elegant, not to mention cheaper to produce.

What will the winner(s) get?

The envy of your peers. The adulation of the masses. My personal thanks. To say nothing of the warm glowy feeling that you’ve helped clothe geeks and raise money for hungry kids.

And prizes, of course. If you’d like some of the gold talent pipes, they’d be yours for the taking. I also have a few copper jots I’ve been holding back, if you’d prefer one of those.

Who knows, you might even get a free t-shirt out of the deal…

Why can I only submit three designs?

Here’s the thing. It’s been five years since the last contest. I have a lot more readers now than I did then. If everyone sends in a dozen entries, we’re going to quickly descend into madness over here. And while it’s true that I have more minions to sift through designs than I did in 2010, we’re on a tight schedule. Our big fundraiser starts on June 1st. That only gives us two weeks.

Besides. I’d much rather have you send me your best three designs than to just shotgun a dozen at me with the hope you’ll get lucky…

Everyone has one week to submit a design. After that, the Worldbuilders team and I will narrow them down and post up the top ten (or so) here on the blog for people to vote on. (Those top ten designs will probably receive thank-you gifts/prizes from me as well…)

Voting will wrap in a few days days so we can have designs finalized by the time the IndieGoGo starts.

Okay. There’s your mission, should you choose to accept it. Design a t-shirt. Email the design to tshirt [at] worldbuilders.org before the end of the day on Sunday, May 24th.

Ready, set, go.


P.S. If you have any logistical questions, as always, you can ask them here in the comments.

This entry was posted in contests. By Pat61 Responses


  1. ZealousCrow
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

    Patrick, please don’t do this. These sorts of contests may be fun, but they exploit the artists and designers who participate. Artists deserve to be paid for their work like everyone else. If you want a t-shirt design, hire someone to design it.

    • blueyedsoul
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 4:06 AM | Permalink

      It’s not exploitative if the artists and designers choose to contribute knowing full well what they can expect to receive in exchange for their design (which ranges from nothing to all the things Pat listed above). Furthermore, Pat isn’t looking to profit from these designs – as we all know the proceeds from goods sold in The Tinker’s Packs go to Worldbuilders. So unless you have something against artists donating their talent for charity of their own volition, I really don’t see the problem.

      • Erzberger
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

        Well said. Ill be happy to send in my design if I can think of something good.

      • EvilJohgo
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

        I don’t feel exploited. I feel like I’m entering a talent show for artists.

      • TheFlyingFish
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

        Not to mention that it’s also great publicity for the artist who does win.

    • justajenjen
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

      It’s the artist donating their time and work for the charity. The expectations are made clear from the begining. Doing something knowingly and willingly is not exploitation.

    • Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

      Crow, I hear where you’re coming from. And I’m a strong believer of making sure people get paid for their craft.

      It would be one thing if I was selling these shirts to make money for myself and offering “exposure” as compensation to the artists. Or if I was going on tour, and I was asking musicians to open for my readings for free.

      The difference here is that Worldbuilders is (and has always been) a community effort. I donate my time and the right to print shirts based on my intellectual property. (Something I could sell elsewhere, if I wanted to.)

      Other folks donate their artistic ability. Some people donate their time and energy and help us spread the word. Then, finally, people buy the shirts and the money goes to charity.

      See the difference?

  2. KevTheBaptist
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

    Ach! I picked a good time to break my hand!
    I’ve had an idea for a t-shirt bubbling on low heat in my noggin for an age now.
    Can I just describe it, someone design it and we split the credit 70/30 in your favour?
    Anyone? 80/20? I just want the shirt really.

    • Hibs
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

      I haven’t actually designed anything but I think I can draw tolerably well… Let me know if you want me to help out, or if you’d rather go with someone who’s done it before. It’s all cool.
      You may email me at [email protected]

      • KevTheBaptist
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

        I was just joking really. My hand I broken, I do gave an idea but it’s not unique or impressive enough to enter.
        Thank you for the very kind offer though. It would be much appreciated if I was serious.
        Good luck with your entry. My mangled fingers are crossed for you now, not just due to the accident

        • KevTheBaptist
          Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

          I also apologise for missed mistakes. This darned one-handedness is a burden!

          • Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

            Hey! Like I said it’s all cool. ^^
            Hope your hand heals well and soon! Don’t curse the experience, maybe there’s something you’re meant to learn through it…like collaborating with someone? Never set your ideas down because they might just be what it takes to win. So good luck to you too!
            As for me, I’m a pretty fast reader but I still don’t think I can go through the books and come up with something within the given time frame…still going to try!

      • bafwabalinga
        Posted May 19, 2015 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

        Hey Hibs, that offer up for anyone who thinks they have a decent idea but no artistic talent? Hint hint. This girl.

        • Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

          I meant generally in life, haha.
          But why not? It doesn’t have to win, but for you to know that you did what you could so that you have no regrets…c’est la vie, non?
          Anyway, I just meant to provide some encouragement and not go off in a tangent about life lessons.

          • SporkTastic
            Posted May 20, 2015 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

            You, sir/madam, are an excellent person. :-)

  3. midobal
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Just wondering, does the design have to be Kingkiller related or can it also be Worldbuilders / Princess and mr. Whiffle related?

    • Amanda
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

      Any of those would be great!

  4. jordynlynn
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    So can we just submit a drawing of our design? Or does the design need to be on a shirt already?
    Also I kind of made myself a shirt already (I did it over the summer), can I submit that as one?

    • Amanda
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

      A drawing of the design should be just fine, it doesn’t have to be on a t-shirt yet :)

      • jordynlynn
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

        Okay, thank you!!!

  5. fuzzermonkey
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    I love last year’s shirts and I look forward to seeing the new designs. I have a few ideas of images I think would be cool but…alas…I have no artistic ability to speak of. So they will stay in my head for now.

    Anyways, I have a small request. When the time comes to produce the shirts, would it be possible to have tall sizes offered? I have a couple of the last designs and a body type that is best covered. The standard sizes can’t help but creep up a little when I’m moving around. If not all designs maybe Pat could choose the one he’d like to see on us taller men and just offer that one?

    Regardless I will probably still buy a couple and simple not left my arms while wearing them. Thanx.

    • Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

      We always make our best efforts to provide for all body types with the t-shirts.

      Tall shirts tend to be surprisingly hard to find, and as a result tend to be a little more expensive. But we’ll make every effort to make it happen.

  6. somesylvie
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    Any chance you can pick a new style of ladies’ shirt? The old ones are super short, and they ride up even more if you’re busty at all. I ended up donating my old shirts because I was sick of tugging them down all the time

    • Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

      We’re already on it. Details forthcoming.

      • Sandhya
        Posted May 19, 2015 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

        I’m hoping that this will included us women who have large breast and a bit thick around the middle. T-Fury has V-neck women T-shirts in some great sizes. Maybe you could as them where they get them. I have really wanted to get Kingkiller t-shirt, but I look like a stuff sausage in the ones you carry now. Should have taken a picture of me in it for you would have chuckled indeed!

        • cynrtst
          Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

          I have a very hard time finding women’s shirts that fit me from online t-shirt places. 2x’s are usually size Large. If you can find shirts for large women that are actually sized right I would be greatful. Shirt Woot shirts actually fit, but Tee Fury never do.

      • EvilJohgo
        Posted May 19, 2015 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

        I second the v-neck! V-necks look good on everyone.

  7. Kimberlyand
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    My immediate response to this was to go buy a second Eolian shirt out of paranoia that it will be discontinued. It’s probably my favorite shirt.

  8. Andrew
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    Another juicy contest for artistic consumption.

  9. Holmelund
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    Someone please make an entry that is Princess and Mr. Whiffle related. My Daughter love the one I have already and i would love to have more.

  10. The Dude
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 1:53 AM | Permalink

    In regards to filtering the submissions, why not let this core readership lend you a hand?
    This would alleviate some pressure from you guys and let you utilize those who’d freely lend you a hand.
    It would be a nice collaboration, a synergy if you will.

    As a thinker and a very busy man you’d probably be twice as grateful for any freely-given aid.

  11. lspeters17
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Just for the sake of T-crossing and I-dotting:
    what surrounding yourself, as Patrick Rothfuss, any of your written works, and possibly the persona of Viari of the Penny Arcade campaign, is subject to protected copyright for the purposes of this contest? I would hate to step on any brand-related toes. Thanks ;)

    • Posted May 19, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

      The visual depiction of Viari isn’t mine, but the character himself is.

      You can reference any of my intellectual property designing these shirts. Stuff from Kingkiller, the Princess and Mr. Whiffle, Worldbuilders.

      But using art other people have created is out of bounds (unless you get their permission.) That belongs to them.

      • Erzberger
        Posted May 20, 2015 at 3:47 AM | Permalink

        The art is from Kris Straub, I think (?). I’d guess he would give his permission in this case, if asked. You could try sending him an email, lspeters.

        • Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

          I’m pretty sure it was done by Mike from Penny Arcade, but I could be wrong. Maybe they both did versions….

          • Amanda
            Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

            There are two different versions, one from each, so I’m pretty sure you’re both right.

  12. Kastor
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    And this just falls in line with my exams so i can’t really come up with a shirt design without abusing my studies but i think i can repay you by buying loads of shirts

  13. Steve Stark
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    If I had more time…and more talent, I’d make a shirt. Someone please make a shirt about Kvothe and music. I like the following quote:

    “You do not know the first note of the music that moves me.”

  14. theEvanD
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    This question is more of a nitty-gritty, semantics sort of thing: can different versions of the same design count as one entry? For example, I’ve got a design made 3 different variations in which the core is the same, it’s just the framing/ornamentation around the outside that changes. So it’s essentially the same design, but at the same time it isn’t. You see my dilemma, I hope?

    I promise I’m not trying to be picky or difficult, I just want to make sure I’m using my entries wisely!

    • Brett
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

      As Pat mentioned, we’re just trying to limit the amount of shotgunning people do. I don’t think it would hurt as long as you don’t go wild.

      Having said that, please bounce the variants off your friends and family–they probably have some good opinions about which one is the strongest design.

      • Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

        That’s a good idea. Showing it to other folks will (probably) give you a better idea of what the strongest version of the design is…

  15. Posted May 21, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Is there a limit to colors or gradient use? I am assuming these are digitally printed since this wasn’t mentioned. Just making sure what I am making will be printable.


    • Brett
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

      We’re actually looking into different processes. We like traditional screen printing, but it limits the colors and large designs tend to be hot in summer and crack with age. We did last year’s Princess shirt using a digital process, and those turned out pretty well, but cost more to produce.

      We’ve been researching a dye process that yields super-soft shirts, but we’re back to the limited color palette and we’d sacrifice some line and color accuracy when reproducing the image.

      Short answer: Fewer colors/gradients are better, but if we like the design, we will have a way to manufacture the shirts.

      • Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

        Thanks for the reply Brett- I will go ahead and sub one CRAZY one with tons of colors and gradients in case you dig it (and since I have already been working on it) but I will make the others more limited in color- If it’s too crazy, no harm no foul.

        I can also color separate and halftone the simpler-colored ones if that helps. ;)

  16. SilverTpt
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    I sincerely hope for a resurrection of the Unlikely Maths design.

  17. Aibell
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    How do I upload the image at worldbuilders?

    • Amanda
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

      Send the image in an email to tshirt (at) worldbuilders.org and we’ll get it that way :)

  18. Robo
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    Before I get all graphic-y, do I even have any chance with ‘Fuck the Chandrian’ or ‘Cinder is a Bully!?’

    • Posted May 23, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

      “Fuck the Chandrian” might be a hard sell. (Because we’re looking to sell the shirts, and people are less likely to buy/wear shirts with a cuss word on it.)

      So yeah. A hard sell, but not an impossible one. If the team likes the design and people vote on it, we’ll make the shirt.

    • Posted May 26, 2015 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

      Ohhh… The contest is closed but I just had this thought– what about a shirt that a says “Pluck The Chandrain” and has a lute? It would carry the same idea and skirt the issue of the cussing?

      I made my designs about the Latantha school and “taking the red”. I thought after all of this hullabaloo about “taking the black”, it would be a nice change of pace.

  19. theoddone
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

    I’m not particularly artistic, but I have what I think is a solid idea. Would a rough sketch that could be made into something actually good be worthwhile?

    • Posted May 23, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

      Absolutely. If the team loves it, they can go looking for someone to draw it up all t-shirt style…

  20. AcornArmy
    Posted May 24, 2015 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    On a completely unrelated note, I can feel myself missing Kvothe the last few days. I must re-read the books. This seems to happen periodically, regardless of whether or not I’ve been planning to read something else. Curse you, Rothfuss! You and your magical cave-beard, both!

  21. Posted May 26, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Can’t wait to see what everyone came up with! :D

  22. I_Am_Kvothe
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Hmm…so is the number of winners flexible?

  23. keats
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

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