Howdy Houmadesigns! Welcome!
I read this entire discussion, and couldn't help starting to hum, Guns and Roses "Welcome to the Jungle." You seem to be new, and what a way to enter the fray, huh? You saw the derby, made a great design, followed the color palettes as well as possible and trusted that they were what they appeared to be. Then your design did well and you started getting an entire slough of comments saying your design wouldn't print well, and some not so kind. You ask for proof, and nobody seems to have any of that, but they have plenty of insults. You're already annoyed, finally some people get back to you with some pictures, and you find that rather than being awful, it perhaps will even fit your purpose of subtlety. You dare to say as much, and more insults. Does that about sum it up? Ain't the derby grand?
As you stick around here (and I certainly hope you do), you will learn a lot of the players and their tendencies. Some of them are openly hostile, many are extremely negative, others will use your design as a perfect example of why Woot has gone down the tube...and others are kind and helpful. You'll learn who they are soon enough and attach names to those categories.
No designer survives on Woot without a tough skin, as the comments can be harsh. Notice the disclaimer right when you click on the Derby: "Think you can design a better shirt than the one up there? Enter our weekly shirt-off and let the community judge. Be warned: they’re a harsh judge indeed." They weren't playing with you.
Personally, I can see where you were coming from the whole time. Are these people really trying to help you? Are their concerns really justified? Do they really understand the entire point of what you were going for? Are they really comparing apples to apples? Personally, I think you're doing just fine "in the jungle."
POSSIBLE OUTCOME #1: The design prints poorly. Aw, carp. You learn what colors don't print well on what colors. You apply this knowledge on your next design. You get paid $1000.
POSSIBLE OUTCOME #2: The design prints subtly, as you intended. Many people are thrilled to death, others decide that the print was poor, and wave their pointy fingers in triumph over you. You get over it quickly, because it turned out exactly as you intended. You get paid $1000, and a little extra from the people that see it print the way you intended and "get it."
POSSIBLE OUTCOME #3: The design not only prints as intended, but well. Woot's printing abilities have progressed, and it comes out great. You get paid $1000, and get hundreds of extra sales in the coming weeks as the people that sat on the fence jump in.
In any of them, I think you end up the winner. The people who were rude and got on your case can do whatever they want, just do your thing, learn a lesson for next time if need be, develop some thick skin, and laugh all the way to the bank...then do it again in the coming weeks. Welcome HoumaDesigns!