It is my belief that the t-shirt aspect of RedBubble has not yet reached its potential.
What t-shirt designers must remember is that here they are competing with a superior aesthetic quality in wall art. The photography and visual art which produces wall art is of a far superior quality aesthetic value than t-shirt designs. High resolution prints can be easily achieved by said artists, while t-shirt designs will always be of a lesser quality because of the material they are printed onto. Thus, trying to make t-shirt designs compete with the wall-art side of RedBubble in aesthetic value is too daunting a task to be overly successful.
A picture produced for aesthetic quality is one which draws-in viewers because they simply ‘look good’ to them. It is here that there is a severe disadvantage in aesthetically pleasing pictures – their message, if any, goes totally unnoticed. People looking at pictures want only to be pleased, and so the people producing pictures choose only to produce pictures to please. This appears to be the basis of the wall art side of RedBubble. This is also where t-shirt designs should be utilising a strong advantage.
Humans, although wanting to be pleased by beauty, also have brains – therefore they also wish to think. It is this wish for thought that will, eventually, see t-shirt designs being able to compete on a level with wall art in RedBubble. T-shirt designs must appeal to the thought and intelligence of people – filling the gap left by wall art – and propose, above all, a message. This message is achieved by an alienation effect.
The alienation effect is where a viewer is forced to be distant from the aesthetics of the design, and instead looks upon the message being presented – thus filling the aforementioned thought void. A t-shirt design must, therefore, not aim to be above all aesthetically pleasing, but to propose a message. Simple pictures and wording, with little minor detail, and still some rough-edges will force any viewer not to look at a t-shirt design for it’s beauty. However, if the aforementioned aspects of designing are used to propose a message, a viewer will think about said message. If the message is strong enough, then the t-shirt design will be popular.
T-shirts have the advantage of being a revolutionary tool. Anyone wanting to get out a message will sooner sport a t-shirt with the message than put a print on their wall, because more people would see the t-shirt, and thus the message. While wall art is used for personal satisfaction, a t-shirt design may be used to communicate a whole chain of thought; to propagate a message. It is in this way that t-shirt designs will become more popular, as more people appreciate the message they get out, and thus more people will want to get out said messages.
I so conclude that t-shirt designs must not aim to trump wall art for aesthetic value, but instead alienate a viewer in order to present a message or thought. If t-shirt designers are to produce designs to be popular on the level that wall art is, then they should follow the guide of this journal entry, and so create a specific culture of thought and intelligence to surround the t-shirts of RedBubble.