Design Challenges not only encourage artists to push their creative boundaries, but also give them chances to win additional earnings and expose their art to Threadless fans around the world. While these challenges typically have general themes, like “hugs” or “goblincore,” our officially licensed Design Challenges are centered around intellectual properties with large fan bases—like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Jurassic Park.
Presented in collaboration with our retail and licensing partners, these special challenges unlock opportunities that go well beyond cash prizes. They enable you to…
✓ Make art inspired by some of the most beloved intellectual properties in pop culture. In some cases, you can even sell those designs in your own Artist Shop without violating our IP infringement policies.
✓ Put your work directly in front of our licensing and retail partners. If your goal is to enter the retail space, these challenges could potentially help get your art into big-name stores and online catalogs. This could help grow your brand AND your sales.
Take a look at some of our past licensed Design Challenges to see the types of properties we’ve featured and to get a taste of the excitement.
In partnership with our friends from BoxLunch, this licensed challenge called for artists to create designs inspired by the classic era of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Channeling their inner turtle power, participants went on a nostalgic trip back in time to capture the spirit of the beloved ’80s animated series. Here are some of the submissions.
Care Bears recently celebrated their 40th anniversary, and to mark this magical milestone, we invited artists to embark on a journey to the Kingdom of Caring. The goal? Crafting new designs that encapsulate the franchise’s enduring themes—friendship, personal growth, courage, and determination.
From the streets of New York City to global stages, Hip Hop has transcended boundaries and shaped popular culture for over half a century. In collaboration with our friends from the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop, this challenge was a nod to the pioneers, the beats, the lyrics, and the movement that transformed the global music landscape.
Marking the 15th anniversary of the cult-classic’s release, our Trick ‘r Treat challenge invited artists to celebrate this milestone by creating their own to-die-for designs. Their submissions draw inspiration from the comedy-horror anthology’s interwoven stories that unfold on Halloween night.
First introduced in 1973 by Marvel Comics, Red Sonja is a sword-wielding sorceress brought to life by the creative minds of writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith. To celebrate the character’s 50th anniversary, we challenged artists to portray Red Sonja not just as a warrior, but as an enduring symbol of female empowerment.
Our licensed Design Challenges are just one way to leave a lasting impression on our licensing and retail partners. Read this guide for more tips on how to increase your chances of having your designs sold in retail stores and popular online catalogs. Also, go to your your Artist Dashboard to learn how our Earn More program can help connect you with distribution opportunities outside of your individual Artist Shop.