T-List Awards 2011: Panelist Picks

by Jason Toon

Next to creating things and collecting creative things, creative types love nothing so much as judging other creative types. (And maybe for some of them, that "next to…" doesn't even apply.) So for the 2011 T-List Awards, we called on six of the Shirt.Woot community's most esteemed designers and commentators to pick their favorites of 2011. Their picks are in…

Adam Koford, aka Apelad, is the cartoonist behind the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats and the blog Hobotopia, as well as many popular Shirt.Woot tees, including Questionable Table of Elements, which is currently available as poster in the T-List sale.

Pop Heart by Maxime Francout
This shirt is fun, feminine, and bristling with simple, clever details. I’m not a musician and I’m not a female, but this design makes me smile every time I see it.


Business Shirt by Phil Jones
Another circular design. Maybe I’m a sucker for circles. I like this one because I work in the video game industry and this shirt is literally true. T-shirts are our uniforms. Whenever I wear a button up shirt I’m sure to get funny looks, tuck it in and they call me “dapper”.


Retrobot by Robert Caldwell
I’m also a sucker for robot shirts. I have several woot shirts featuring robots going back several years, including the Chris Ware’s Onward Robots. Robert’s retrobot makes me wish my dad had collected tin toys when he was a kid so I could line them all up on my desk while wearing this shirt at my video game job. It’s also an industry expectation that everyone have toys all over their offices.


Forbidden Future by rglee129 and kaseyfleming
Now that’s a mash up! This one is something to see in real life. I’m not quite sure how rglee129 and kaseyfleming did it, but the details are outstanding. Maybe rglee129 is kaseyfleming’s robot assistant? Rglee129 certainly sounds like a robot name. In any case, girder manipulating automaton and his mutated monocular pal have never looked more dramatic.


You Can't Catch Me by Spiritgreen
Remind me why spiritgreen doesn’t win a Derby every week? Week in and week out, he’s contributed some amazing designs. This one looks like it could leap right off the shirt, and sometimes I wish it would (I get hungry for cookies sometimes). The other thing about spiritgreen is he’s so blasted clever. This is a prime example of a design that sends me into fits of “why didn’t I think of that?!” based jealous rages. These rages can only be quelled with cookies.


bassanimation works as an artist/animator for a gaming company in Austin, TX. She’s a derby regular and has several popular shirts, including The Cheese is a Liederkranz, which is available as a long-sleeved tee in the T-List sale.

Forbidden Future by rglee129 and kaseyfleming
This tee by Robbie Lee and Kasey Fleming will always stand out to me as one of the best pop culture designs in tee-dom. The composition and coloring are fantastic, and the reference to the original Forbidden Planet poster is super genius. A great, memorable image for all fans of Futurama, and just a great shirt overall. This image would also be a fantastic poster, just like it’s big brother from the silver screen.


Crooked Couch by Edgar R. McHerly and BootsBoots
Another amazing collaboration effort that we saw this year was this shirt by Edgar McHerly and BootsBoots. The process these two went through to get this final image was extremely cool. Their styles mesh so well here that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. The color choices are great, and there’s so many wonderful, weird little details to feast your eyes on. This one would also be a great poster. It’s got a great wall art feel!


Four Classmates by stardamsel
One of my favorite cute shirts of the year, this design by Stardamsel was charming and appeals to fans of all types. Whether you love cute animals, magic, or are making your way through educational mazes, this design appeals widely across all boards. This design would make the perfect tote for students of all ages.


Raisins Ruin Everything by bootsboots
I usually don’t love text based shirts, but BootsBoots always has a special way with text. This shirt spoke to my heart as I truly loath raisins. We all have that memory of being in day care or school when snack time rolls around. You beam with excitement as you see cookies being handed out! Then, you receive your very own cookie, victory!!! But wait…what’s this in my cookie??? RAISINS?! Let the pouting begin. This shirt captures my feelings about those dried nuggets of disappointment perfectly.


Galactic Gumtastic by Mathijs Vissers
This design by Mathijs Vissers is beautiful as well as fun and whimsical. I really love the child-like feel it has, as well as the tiny details. The design itself makes me want to go to far away places, and the gumball theme reminds me of fun, imagination, and sweetness. The chrome and space are also fantastically rendered here. Just a great design, and it would also be a fantastic poster or print.


geekfactor12 is a regular on the tee design scene and runs Tee-magnet and Compete-tee-tion.

The Cheese is a Liederkranz by bassanimation
Since I’m a huge Portal fan, this tee was destined to make my list of favorites. It’s a fun illustration that capitalizes on the player’s role as a glorified lab rat, and best of all the concept takes full advantage of both sides of the shirt.


The Toasty Roger by ThatRobert
The Jolly Roger is such a classic symbol, and I love this campfire-themed update. There’s something really charming about how the marshmallow grins even as he roasts over the fire. The background is impressive as well, an uneven cropping of trees with a subtle pattern nested inside. It sets a great tone and creates a nice environment for the piece.


Crooked Couch by Edgar R. McHerly and BootsBoots
Seeing two legendary Woot talents like Edgar and Boots collaborating is pretty amazing! You can see elements of each of their styles here, interacting and melting together. It’s an overflow of color, texture and shape that lets you discover some new tidbit every time you look at it.


Fresh Ideas by Esther Aarts
This design makes creativity look easy. The smooth shapes and lines combine with bright color in a way that energizes me and makes me want to make something. I especially love the attention to detail, like the little dotted seams on the pants and gooey highlights on the word Ideas.


Khione by Joe Carr
I love this fantasy approach to winter, which feels like the first page from a children’s fable. You’ve got this majestic reindeer with wise eyes and regal-looking garb, led by a child with a lantern and a mission. It’s the stuff legends are made of. Oh yeah, and there’s metallic ink!


Radscoolian has quickly become one of our more successful and well-respected newcomers in the Derby, having designed such shirts as Scissors, Paper, Rock and Everything is Gold.

Revenge of the Damsels by Anna-Marie Jung and Rebekie Bennington
With expert composition, wonderfully stylized characters and stylish placement, Revenge of the Damsels easily makes it to the top of my list. Anna-Marie Jung and Rebekie Bennington make quite a duo.


The Last Cupcake by Spiritgreen
The superb choice of colors and a fresh take on zombies make this shirt. Spiritgreen’s creativity and artistic eye really come through.


Forbidden Future by rglee129 and kaseyfleming
This shirt made me wish I liked Futurama. I really wanted to buy it even though I would have felt like a poser. A well-clothed poser.


They call me… Tim by patrickspens
The fire effect that Patrickspens achieved on this is incredible. They call me… Tim showcases his ability to do amazing things with only 6 colors.


The Cheese is a Liederkranz by bassanimation
Many parodies are a superficial ploy to get people interested in a design. Not so with The Cheese is a Liederkranz. Bassanimation cleverly utilizes placement to hit this one out of the park.


Spiritgreen is well-known on the Derby scene, having designed more than a dozen popular tees. In 2011, Keep Driving and Haunted Housework made him the king of Hallowoot. Both of are available in the T-List sale.

The Three Classical States of Matter by Lucky1988
Lucky has one of the most recognisable styles in t-shirtdom, it’s like the art equivalent of an awesomely sugary breakfast cereal. This design features smart wordplay, unusual colors that pop on the shirt, and a joke that would make milk squirt out of Gary Larson’s nose.


Mirai by bassanimation
Bassanimation, unassuming powerhouse artist behind the hit game Monkey Quest: Thunderbow (available at all good app stores) and on whom I have a major art crush, designed this charity shirt to benefit the Red Cross’ Japanese Earthquake appeal. I was skeptical… metallic silver ink? Flowers? But damn, it makes me look good.


Killer Penguin by rglee129
Robbie has a fantastic knack for character designs, super strong illustrations skills and just the right twisted sense of humor. Your wardrobe is not complete without at least one Robbie robot shirt. Also, we all know Shamu is secretly evil. Eeeevviiiillll!


Ro-Boss by radiomode
With only three perfectly chosen colors this almost abstract design creates an unrivaled sense of scale and drama. It also creates one handsome shirt. Wearable as a heck, like so much of radiomode’s work.


Tea! by rogerrogerroger
Tea is a big deal. It’s a little known fact that in England we don’t use clocks, we tell time by counting the number of empty cups around us. (It’s a problem.) Which makes this shirt, with rogerrogerroger’s distinctively odd and wonderful style, all the more essential. More RRR please, Shirt.Woot! And thanks for a great year.


thatrobert is a regular in the Derby and the man behind bestlosers, which celebrates and promotes Derby also-rans. This year we asked Robert to pick his favorite unprinted shirt of the year, and he was happy to oblige. His pick, Fallen Royalty by Winterartwork, is available for the first time as a tee in our T-List sale.

Reading Rocket Ship by qetza
Qetza’s “Reading Rocket Ship” has a cool classic sci-fi vibe, both in composition and color. The response to this from other artists and it’s eventual printing encouraged Qetza to be a more frequent contributor to Woot which means we all win! I love this shirt but it is a bit ink-heavy and square. Those minor negatives can be flipped into solid positives by printing this design as a poster.


Fresh Ideas by EstherAarts
“Fresh Ideas” has a lovely mid-century style with sharp linework and colors. This is one I missed out on and would love to get a second chance at.


In the Library with the Wrench by Walmazan and Kevlar51
There have been many “Clue” shirts over the years but nobody has done it as stylishly as Walmazan and Kevlar51. It’s mostly Walmazan’s style that shines through here but it’s obvious that extra time was spent on this by both artists to get the little details and the gradients just perfect. Never has murder been so adorable.


Forbidden Future by RGLee129 and KaseyFleming
Robbie Lee’s robots meets Kasey Fleming’s pinups in the perfect mashup.


Don’t Look Back, I’ve Got You by BootsBoots
This design has a great emotional impact with a solid shirt-filling design and excellent use of negative space.


Thanks to our panelists and congrats to the honorees. That's almost it for our T-List Awards blog coverage, but you can buy the winners through Sunday!