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T-Shirt Lines > Emptees, A Great T-Shirt Resource

Emptees, A Great T-Shirt Resource

One of the most powerful resources in the t-shirt design world is the t-shirt community known as Emptees. Emptees is a place where designers and tee enthusiasts from all across the globe can get together to show off their latest designs, check out other people's designs, talk about the shirts and interact with others who share the same love!

Emptees was designed and developed by Indie Labs, the same group that created the Big Cartel independent storefront system. Indie Labs, with their focus on being small, passionate, and independent infused that same unique atmosphere in this community. Indie Labs states on their website that they focus on happiness before profits and it seems that they have infused Emptees with this same ethos. Rather than being a commercial site with tons of popup ads on every page, or a pay site that requires a monthly membership fee, Emptees is completely free and focuses on making the t-shirt browsing experience as easy as possible. Instead the focus is right where it should be: on the tees and those who make/design/sell them.

The first thing most people will notice when visiting the Emptees home page is the prominently displayed Tee of the Day. This is the t-shirt is featured by creating a buzz on the site with a mixture of “loves” and the amount of conversation about the t-shirt. It's not only an honor in its own right, but it also generates quite a bit of buzz for the design. Emptees takes this a step further by then choosing a Tee of the Month from the daily winners and then ultimately a Tee of the Year is chosen based on the monthly winners! Understandably this friendly competition makes designers very enthusiastic about getting their tees loved.

The important thing to remember however is that Emptees is not a commercial site. While certainly everyone who submits a design wants to win the daily, monthly and yearly competitions they won't make any money directly from that. Emptees doesn't sell any t-shirts, although they do equip their users with a "Buy Now" feature that links to sites where the t-shirt or design can be purchased.

The Tees section is the most popular portion of the site featuring the posted t-shirt designs. There are many reasons why it is beneficial for t-shirt designers to post their work on Emptees. The most obvious reason is simply the feedback. Users are able to provide compliments and critiques to designers in the form of comments under the t-shirt design. This feedback lets the designer know if he or she is on the right track and helps the designer get a general sense of how the design is perceived by like-minded peers.

While compliments can feel great, constructive criticism can be one of the most helpful aspects. This allows the designers to know exactly which aspects of the design do and don't work. Maybe it's a terrific design but the color choices are off. Maybe one aspect of the design needs to be removed, enlarged or otherwise altered. Is the design nice but not really appropriate for a t-shirt? These are all things that the community members can elaborate on in the form of a critique. This provides a sounding board that could potentially sound very different than just showing your new design to family and friends. In other words, it is much easier to find brutal honesty from your online friends than those staring you in the face.

The simplest form of feedback provided to a designer is the Love button. The Love feature is basically a quick and easy way for users to let the designer know that they liked the piece. No comment is necessary when using the Love feature so more users are inclined to use it. As mentioned previously, the quantity of “Loves” are tallied up and play a role in determining the Tee of the Day.

Often times the people who submit t-shirt designs are the t-shirt line owners rather than the designers. It's very logical that t-shirt line owners would want to know as much as possible about how the t-shirt is perceived since in most cases they are the ones who will actually pay for the t-shirts to be printed. Again, they can benefit from the general feedback in many of the same ways as designers. T-shirt line owners can get a feel for how many people like the design in general - and thus how well it might do when printed - and they can also take any critiques that they receive and consult with the designers to see if any changes should be made to the design. The value in that is the amount of change you can make before the t-shirts are printed. Obviously trying to make changes after the t-shirts are printed is a pretty futile experience.

However, even if the t-shirts have already been printed, or when they are in the final stages prior to printing, there is still a huge benefit to be reaped by posting the designs on Emptees. That benefit? Simple....marketing of the design. While the t-shirts can't be sold directly through the Emptees site, Emptees does allow the "Buy Now" feature where the relevant purchasing links can be provided to viewers who wish to buy the shirt. Also, since Emptees is a niche that caters to t-shirt enthusiasts, who generally buy t-shirts on a regular basis - Emptees is a very targeted captive audience. There's also a huge potential for repeat business in this community since users who decided to buy a design may continue to purchase more t-shirts down the road after becoming a fan of the style.

Emptees isn't just a place where designers can go to post their finished work; it's also a place that designers can go to get help with their work or even to get tips on how to begin. Another of Emptees main sections is the Resources section. This section of the site provides many helpful articles that cover a range of pertinent subjects. For example, designers and t-shirt line owners can read articles about how to choose the appropriate blank t-shirt for their design. There's advice on branding and marketing your t-shirt, as well as information about organic t-shirts and whether they're right for you. There are also articles specifically relating to design aspects such as how to draw a particular feature like faces, as well as articles on how to deal with negative space in your design.

As if that weren't enough Emptees also has downloadable graphics and templates available in the Resources section. Designers can find blank t-shirt templates, as well as textures and other tools. These are typically high quality items that would usually be difficult to reproduce or expensive to find. The Resources section alone is reason enough to check out Emptees if nothing else interests you.

The third major section of Emptees is the People section consisting of user profiles for all of the Emptees members. These profiles will show a portfolio of all of the tees the user has submitted to Emptees, and it will even show a list of all of the t-shirts that user has Loved. This can be a great resource as well when looking for similar style designs. The users other affiliated websites can also be posted on the profile as well as general contact information. Since so many t-shirt designers use Emptees, checking in the People section for a designer's profile is a great way to find a specific person in the industry and get in touch with them.

The overall atmosphere at Emptees is one that fosters friendly, back and forth dialogue with designers and other people in the industry. There’s humor in the threads and a strong feel of friendship in the community. It is a place you can receive brutally honest criticism that doesn’t feel like trolling or snarkiness. Bottom line....if you're interested in t-shirts, you're interested in Emptees.

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