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Down The Rabbit Hole top picks

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Well well, it looks like I’m really gonna have to do some vein popping psychic work to find out who the winner of the Down The Rabbit Hole theme competition will be.

Seriously there are soooo many designs that have come through for this brilliant theme competition…obviously it struck a chord with the design community, because they jumped all over this one in a big way.
So, as usual, here are my predictions, or shall I say Down The Rabbit Hole top picks!

My first Down The Rabbit Hole top pick comes from Qimstudio who hails all the way from Malaysia.

Two of my chosen designs have a slightly macabre tinge to their design elements, Lonely Bird being the first.
This design just spoke to me straight away, you know when you just simply have to have something. I remember when I wrote my comment on the Springleap.com page, I said, “Now this, is something special. I can’t actually even comment, it’s perfect!”

I stand fast on my comment. Truly there is nothing I’d like to see changed in the Lonely Bird design. Some people have commented that they feel the bird should have been made completely into a little skeleton bird. However, I feel as if the slight cloaked nature of the bird, makes him seem even more ominous….just the head perturbs me!
I can just picture this little Lonely Bird sitting high in a tree, watching Alice as she stumbles around in the dark….waiting for her to go to sleep.

I love this and would love to see it make it to print!

Next up is the second of my darker choices and perhaps my favourite design of the competition.

Nicetomeetyou brings us a wonderfully designer representation of the infamous rabbit that Alice chases after. This design is called A Very Important Date. When I say this design has WOW factor, I truly mean it. Just look at the intricate line work and intense attention to detail. This design speaks to me in a way that none of the other submissions do. While Lonely Bird captures me with its deceptive darkness, A Very Important Date has a darkness that almost transcends the boundary of only being able to be worn by a select few. What I mean is that usually the darker more scary design don’t usually sell well across the board. But, I think that this t-shirt will sell well in all demographic groups, male or female.

I frigging want this t-shirt now…NOW DAMMIT!!!!

My final choice is perhaps a breath of fresh air, compared to my last two dark choices. Fantome’s stunning design Oh Alice, is bursting with unique character power.

It is perhaps a dark horse of my pics because of the overall effectiveness of the design. While the Alice, Rabbit and Cheshire Cat in the design are all super different and SCREAM personality, I feel that the design is slightly let down by the dark checked and swishing pattern behind the characters. It’s almost as if the designer drew the original characters of Oh Alice and then somebody else came along and scribbled in pen behind it. At first I was even worried that this was a stolen image that had been tweaked by Fantome. I’m hoping this is not the case!

The design might of Oh Alice can’t be ignored though. It has a magic to it that 90% of the other submissions failed to achieve. It deserves to be one of my Down The Rabbit Hole top picks.

Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope for the best…please oh please let my Down The Rabbit Hole top picks make the cut.

copyright infringement

There is an annoying problem that we at Springleap tackle every single day. It is the bane of our particular industry. This problem is of course the ugly law of copyright infringement. It’s a problem that seems to be getting worse rather than better.

So how does copyright infringement affect you personally? Well rather more than you might think actually.

For the average consumer copyright infringement may take a back seat to reason. It seems that most people these days are guilty of one form of it or another, which is really sad.

When Springleap was still called eSquared Fashion and we were importing clothing from Thailand we were exposed to a world of dodgy sellers who posed with great big smiles and assured they were supplying us with the coolest most unique designs around. Hog wash.

While I’m sure quite lots of the designs were original, it was sad to find out later that many were in fact copies. We of course hate copyright infringement. The artists of this world have enough trouble coming up with original ideas and marketing them properly, but to have your work stolen and sold all over the world under some other idiots name is really shocking.

We at Springleap, from our past experiences, are very harsh with our rules on approving designs. Copyright infringement is a cancer and we will do our best to stem its passage through our competition. It has happened that a few “artists” have tried to sneak things into the competition before that were most certainly ripped, but those people are dealt with swiftly.

Look, there are lots of designers, particularly the younger guys and girls that don’t fully understand the copyright infringement rules that we play by and there are some legitimate cases of “unknowing infringement”. However we will not let our guard down no matter what.

Luckily the Springleap team has quite a varied knowledge of design, so it’s rare that something slips through the proverbial net.

What is even more amazing is the help that the community gives us in regards to copyright infringement. If for whatever reason, a copied design makes it into the competition, the community picks up on it almost instantly.
In these cases the voter or designer that discovered the transgression will supply a link or a name of the original artist that has been ripped off.

Honestly our community is top notch at sniffing out potential “rippers” who give our industry a bad name.

So beware all you creepy little criminals who feel like you can nab other peoples hard work and get away with it. We are watching and will launch yo ass (ouch very gangster) if we find out you are a criminal copy infringing fiend.

All jokes aside. Copyright infringement is a terrible thing that dilutes the world of design and denies people their full worth.

I have no doubt that this year’s expo is going to be absolutely crazy busy, with designers from all fields of influence descending en mass to enjoy the variety on show.

Those of you who have already been to Design Indaba in the past will know that it really sucks the energy out of you. If you don’t have lots to drink and some food to power up your mitochondria you may end up falling head first into one of the displays. So why not partake in some of the yummy food on offer, perhaps the Designer Baguette range.

This year various well known and upcoming chefs will be putting together the Designer Baguette Range. Design Indaba and Foodcorp have collaborated by giving a percentage of the sales towards the Chef Development Fund, which will empower underprivileged budding chefs to realize their potential and attain their dreams.

The Designer Baguette Range will be available from the 26th – 28th of February.

This is a treat not to be missed. Not only will you get a chance to experience some seriously tasty nosh, but you will also be contributing to the lives of the next generation of South African chefs.

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alcohol t-shirts

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I trust you have all had a wonderful weekend thus far?!

There is one style of t-shirt that is extremely prolific, but one which I have never mentioned before and that is alcohol t-shirts.

I guess it’s because I loathe drunks and seldom go drinking that I never pondered the idea of blogging about alcohol t-shirts.

However it can’t be denied that it’s a big industry and quite a fair amount of money exchanges hands for this kind of apparel.

You must know what I’m talking about, every single day I see people wearing anything from expensive Jack Daniels designs to crumby FREE promotional alcohol t-shirts thrown out at clubs to semi-conscious revellers.

The drinking culture is huge in South Africa and perhaps even more so overseas.

When I was living in London I remember walking through Camden Town and being bombarded by alcoholic t-shirt designs.
Personally I never went for them, however there was always one brand that I just couldn’t seem to shake and that’s Guinness.

Guinness is one of those drinks that I will buy to enjoy slowly from time to time and have never felt any animosity towards. I have fond memories of wearing my Guinness top hat to Saint. Patricks day and having a mellow jol whilst celebrating a bank holiday that has absolutely nothing to do with me.

Whenever I see people wearing alcohol t-shirts like Jagermeister, Jose Cuervo and…well pretty much any beer brand I know that they are possible maniacs ROFL.

Perhaps the only other alcoholic t-shirt design that doesn’t make me recoil are designs of companies that make fine wine…even though I know that wine can change the most calm and sedate granny into a raving frothing lunatic.

One thing’s for sure, it doesn’t seem to fancy anything alcohol related in design, which I have to say I’m thankful for…I don’t like designs that popularise or promote substances that leave people stupid or dead. I suppose I may be going a bit far and I’m sure loads of people just wear these alcoholic t-shirts for a little bit of fun, but hey thats my opinion.

In fact the last alcoholic styled t-shirt we have had in the Sea Point store was when we were still called eSquared, which was over a year ago now….shoooo.

March 5 2010 is set to b a day of great things, on this fateful day, Mr Burton is set to release his much anticipated and supposedly ‘engaging’ Disney digital 3-D Alice in Wonderland. Not to worry though, Alice will also be visiting our good old 2-D big screens as well. What more could cult movie goers ask for, a classic Psychedelic novel moulded and shaped by one of the greatest directors of our era.

A brief synopsis see’s a 19 year old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) about to be proposed to, but ends up running off with the White Rabbit down his infamous hole only to end up in a politically unstable Wonderland. With disgruntled characters like the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the Cheshire cat (Stephen Fry) ready for a revolt against the new tyrannical regime of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) we can only imagine what Alice must be going through. To top it all off, Alice starts having flashbacks of her previous visit. Sounds like we are surely in for a good trip!

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According to press, Linda Wolvertine (Screenwriter) wanted to explore a socio-political aspect of the story as well, which I find rather interesting as the film would be geared for an adult and relatively young audience, one can only wonder what she wants the viewer to walk away? Unfortunately the film is a Walt Disney production, so we can’t expect the Queen of Hearts’ demands for chopped off heads to be quenched. We’ll just have to be satisfied with Alice wandering through forests of giant mushrooms and having philosophical discussions with animals J

I wonder if Alice in Wonderland is going to be dark and morbid like Sleepy Hollow or bright and cheerful like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I can’t wait.

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Webcomics

3918678803_38d7ed2bcc_mFor most of us comics are limited to what is available at our local comic stores and newsagents.

There is the new movement of comics that is based entirely online.

The internet is vast and becoming more and more accessible to the average Joe who wants to exhibit their creativity to a large audience.

There is the good the bad….and the downright ugly, when it comes to webcomics.

Let me give you a few examples of webcomics that rock…and of course a webcomic that should be outright removed for its pointless ugliness and pointless pointlessness.

First up I will give you an example of a webcomic that rocks. This one I started reading way back when I was living in London (2004). I instantly fell in love with the awesome insane characters and the sketchy black and white design style of MegaTokyo. Perhaps the reason why I enjoy MegaTokyo so much is because it has a strong manga influence, which was a driving force in my life at that time.

Basically the story centres around 2 friends who end up in Japan trying to make some money to get home. The first character is called Piro. He is level headed, a complete otaku geek, loves computers and is totally clueless when it comes to girls. Largo on the other hand is completely insane…actually thats all I’m going to say about largo. He is easily one of my best cartoon characters ever, which is saying something.

This story is downright mad, but also has a great balance of themes and rationality (I never thought I’d call MegaTokyo rational lol) behind the story.

This webcomic is top class and worthy of a lookie, here is the link to the first ever episode.

My next webcomic comes from the video game “photobook” stable. Remember when you were a kid they had those comic strips made from real life people posing and then a speech bubble was thrown in??

Well these webcomics are exactly like that…except instead of photos they use screen shots from video games.
In recent years perhaps the 2 most used video games for webcomics have been Halo and World of Warcraft.

Perhaps my favourite WoW webcomic ever was called Flintlocke. Unfortunately as far as I know the storyline ended and the webcomic is no more, but if you get a chance do yourself a favour and check it out. If you play World of Warcraft, or even enjoy fantasy style content, this webcomic has the potential to possibly kill you from laughter induced spasms.

Basic story line: A group of Alliance characters head out in search of loot, loot…oh and more loot. Along the way they come near death extremely often, usually through their own stupidity.

The last type of webcomic I would like to mention is what I call “shock factor” webcomics.

These webcomics are usually very crudely drawn with stick figures and simply try their best to be disgusting.
Honestly don’t waste your time with this trash, it’s usually drawn by teenagers who want nothing more than to cause alarm. Honestly it works because this is our generation next when it comes to the evolution of imagination. Heres an example if you must see:

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not being negative because their drawing are comprised of stick figures, not at all. There are plenty of stick figure simple style webcomics that are amazing. Take for instance Order of the Stick, which has been around for quite some time now. It’s funny, has memorable characters and well thought out story progression. However I would not consider Order of the Stick a shock factor webcomic, merely a good webcomic.

It would be awesome if you could cruise across to some of these kickbum webcomics and take a look for yourself. I think you will be presently surprised and hopefully be compelled to hunt down even more web based comics.

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African designs

4457031542_131b7ed68bWell the Soccer World Cup 2010 is impending and everyone is in panic stations to get their ducks in a row before we are swamped with all the foreign tourists. The same goes for us here at Springleap.com as we prepare to get a few truly “African designs” under our belt before the invasion. Obviously when the foreigners come down to this neck of the woods they want African designs with a difference.

In the case of wanting something African and unique there is no better place to check out than Springleap.com
While I’m sure many foreigners will be grabbing piles of African curio t-shirts with the big five, we want to provide African designs that have a much more funkier vibe and are super unique.
Many of you will be familiar with our African designs already, but here are three designs that really symbolize our mission of providing African shirts that are a cut above the rest.

DaRKo’s Vuvuzero design is one of those t-shirts that the foreigners will probably not understand at first, but by the end of the tournament will be scrambling for them. Only a South African truly knows the headache a vuvuzela can cause on your poor ears. DaRKo has really done a brilliant job of the design. There are only a few South African designs that truly capture the essence of our culture and society. However DaRKo is definitely one of those designers that were able to achieve this feat. Just look at this wicked winner…AWESOME!

Taxi Wars by CHUCKY is a design that kinda transcends your normal South African design by not only capturing local South African themes, but also integrates a very well known sci-fi movie theme from the States.
Star Wars is one of those movie franchises which are super popular no matter wherever you go. By using the famous Star Wars type font and integrating it into a funky African sub-culture, CHUCKY has created something a design that really opens SA to the rest of the world. If the rest of the world doesn’t know about our taxis by now, they will have a serious “crash course” by the time they leave our shores…let’s hope less crashing and more polite drivers throwing daisies **fingers crossed**.

My final choice is Colour Culture which has a full on soccer theme. ShampooWarrior did a fine job indeed with this wonderful design. I suppose you couldn’t get a better mix of Soccer World Cup action and Africa influence even if you tried. This design covers all the bases in regards to foreign tourists…I really think these are gonna fly off the shelf when the action starts.

One design that I have not included, but should rightfully be included, is Tu’s new winning design from our Faces of Africa competition. I did a feature blog on Freedom Walker a little while back so thought I’d focus on some other designs. Freedom Walker is definitely up there with the best African designs available.

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Advanced Photoshop top choices

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Yes indeed we have another theme competition underway and lemme tell you this one is going to be a closely contested fight to the finish….ok, so maybe they usually all are, but this competition has more on the line than usual. It’s not just the usual money and pride, but also an opportunity for a spot in the Advanced Photoshop Magazine, which will give an exposure boost like you have never seen before. I have scoured through the submissions and have chosen my Advanced Photoshop top choices. BEHOLD!!!!!

First off before I give my Advanced Photoshop top choices, I want to just send out a big thank you to the community who really dived into this competition guns blazing. Most of the designs are really cool and deserve to be in the competition. Some artists really went all out, for instance Qimstudio in particular who I’d like to thank because he submitted loads of his highly talented work.

Yes indeed it was a great “turn-out” so to speak. After the rather small amount of designs that made it for the Justice League theme competition it is really positive to see so many designers take part.

Ok so let’s get this party started with the post apocalyptic design Quarantine from the very well known Springleap.com designer CHUCKY. There is something about this design that just makes me stop stare and take notice. The super cool gas mask has a science fiction tinge to its design and elements that truly make it stand out, for instance the dripping on the goggles lenses….wowzers, it just gives it that much more depth. This is probably one of my top 2 designs atm!

Next up we have the ever impressive Qimstudio, who I just mentioned above, with his stunning The Cloudmaker design. Among his many submissions this design is the one that makes me go “ooooh aaaaah”. It may not be as detailed as his other submissions, it may not have as much colour….but what it lacks in these departments it more than makes up for is character power. Just look at how cool this Cloudmaker dude is. I say that he’s not as intricate as some of his other designs…but seriously it’s still a really highly detailed submission. I’m never surprised to see high level design coming from this man….great work mate!

Choice number 3 has to be Sebasebi’s The Crows Maker. Sebasebi is a really well known designer around these parts too…who can forget his awe inspiring Mr. Cosmos design from Battle of the Best…you simply cannot deny this designers stunning work. The Crows maker likewise stands out and really captures your imagination. We have a great mix of styles at work in this design, which play off each other nicely. The character has a groovy cartoon style, while the crow puppets have a more realistic edge. I’m not sure if Sebasebi meant to do this, but the fact that the shadows have more realism than the shadow maker really speaks to me….its soaking in magical subterfuge. Love it!

These are undoubtedly my Advanced Photoshop top choices. While there are multitudes of other powerful design entries these are the 3 that make me want to promote them.
I wish these 3 and of course the rest of the designers much luck in the competition and I hope that the winner/s really appreciates the amazing opportunity that Springleap.com and Advanced Photoshop have presented them with.
Get Voting by clicking right HERE!

Whose been watching Idols 4 in South Africa? Can’t believe we’re now having the FOURTH season of South African idols!

I have to admit that there are now getting too many Idols series for me to remember the top 10 idols contestants and the overall idols winners and other important information.

I remember Heinz Winkler winning Idols 2 seasons back, and remember the face of the girl that won Idols 3, although I can’t remember her name.

But I can’t remember anything about the first South African Idols which must have been nearly 5 years ago.

And in the US they have now had about 7 seasons of Idols and the only things I remember there are Kelly Clarkson winning one of the American Idols seasons, and some guy winning the last season.

Can’t believe I missed the first episode of the new South African Idols series – i’ve been hearing repeatedly on the radio and tv for the last few days about the South African Idols versus Survivor advert! Interesting way of advertising 2 new programs in South Africa!

Promote both by having an advert arguing which is the better, tougher, rougher, trendier, more fashionable, hardcore, extroverted show! Well, not exactly, but the advert does make them sound like they’re both 10 year olds arguing to see which is the better show.

But it’s good that South African’s have another item to add to the crime / property & stock market / weather dinner topic discussions…(that’s the average South African dinner topic – not eSquarians of course!)