Illustration Alive and Well on Threadless
As I’ve written about before, illustration is no longer incontrovertibly linked to design. In this world of stock photos and cheap digital cameras, being able to draw is no longer a requirement. But is illustration going down the crapper? In some arenas, illustration is not only the best format, it is essential to design.
Take for instance Threadless. This post-internet-bubble startup t-shirt company sells only t-shirts that online participants vote for and choose. What ends up for sale ranges from the stereotypically emo, to the visually punny, to the ambiguous and perhaps deep. And believe me, it’s not a piece of cake to the approval of your peers; take a look at one of my high school attempts. People can be pretty harsh. But what do all of the t-shirts being sold have in common? They are excellent illustrations! The design is meticulous and often very aesthetically pleasing. As the website continues to grow, they do more (such as interviews) to emphasize the role design and illustration plays in their products. I just wish they would do more $10 sales.