826 National T-shirt Design Challenge


Threadless challenges its community to create an inspirational t-shirt design around the mission of exploring students’ creativity and improving their writing skills.

Since its founding in San Francisco in 2002 by award-winning author Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari, 826 National has sparked students’ imaginations. The nonprofit, which runs centers in Ann Arbor, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC, offers a variety of inventive programs that provide under-resourced students ages six to 18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills.

Each of the centers operates a street-front retail store filled with unusual products, entertaining signage and books for sale. The organization believes every future superhero, secret agent, space traveler and pirate has something in common: a good education and strong writing skills. To create awareness of its mission, 826 National is partnering with international community-driven company Threadless to challenge the public and Threadless’ community of 1.5 million artists to design a t-shirt for the organization.

For the design challenge, artists are asked to create a design inspired by 826 National’s mission of exploring students’ creativity and improving their writing skills with type-based tees encouraged. For inspiration, artists can check out the organization’s gallery featuring the best student writing from workshops, field trips and tutoring sessions from 826 centers across the country.

Artists can submit designs until September 12, 2011. The chosen designer from the 826 National T-Shirt Challenge receives $750 cash and a $250 Threadless gift certificate as well as books signed by the author, two free tickets to an 826 VIP event with well-known authors and celebrities, and a signed drawing by Dave Eggers. Twenty-five percent of the sale of each t-shirt will benefit the nonprofit organization.

The challenge is hosted on Threadless Causes, which launched in early 2011 to enable other organizations to harness the power of community-based design while bringing the Threadless community new opportunities to impact the creative design of products across industries. To view current submissions or enter your own design, visit atrium.threadless.com/826/.

Not familiar with Threadless?

“We’re awesome people from all over the world who make mind-blowing art. Our process starts when a great idea is born in an artist’s mind -that could be you, that could even be your grannie!”

Artists submit their idea to the site, where the Threadless community debates, discusses and votes on the idea. If it gets a good score, we make it into a tee, tote, hoody or tube sock (in the future). Then, as long as folks keep buying that product, Threadless rewards the artist with money, prizes and exposure. So people who buy from us support great artists and their great ideas.

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