Niffx said...

These are sweet, you should open a Zazzle store so we can get them on t-shirts as well.

jxiscool said...

I would love to get this on a t shirt. Is there anyway I could get this image to print on a shirt?

Anonymous said...

I think this site is moot, because yes it's a study in communication, but you also broke the first rule of communication, don't lie. If the shirt says it's a metaphor, why is it so dumb for people to think it means something.

And just because it has no meaning when it is concieved, that doesn't mean it can't have meaning for someone else. Paint platter may mean nothing to a struggling artist but it symbolizes stress and frustration and whatever else we want it to when we have a chance to personally interpret it.

Venoman said...

These look exactly like t-shirt designs. I would buy every one of them. I can't believe you're not making a killing on this already. There are tons of reputable sites that will handle all of the legwork for you from creation to shipping - all you'd have to do is provide the designs. Two I can vouch for personally are splitreason.com and topatoco.com.

Shawn said...

Man, please start these up again, they're such brilliant abstract designs! And I agree, some of these would be awesome as shirts, buttons, carrier bags, etc...

Chinese Montessori Materials said...

This only works when you use *two or less* elements in your design. I do not see how this could go wrong if you were to use *any* two silhouettes, given the brain's tendency to search for patterns; however, when you use three or more elements, i.e. a cow who is skateboarding *and also* is on fire.... I get lost looking for all the loose threads. But if the cow were only *on fire* I could draw all sorts of conclusions from that, given my cultural background. The more room there is for interpretation, the better, because the viewer will automatically impose their ideas upon the image.

This is my personal experience, and I think this is a beneficial comment because I am a language teacher. Your concept is brilliant, keep going, and keep noticing what works and what doesn't.

Steve said...


You say this is a social experiment about "communication", so the fundamental question of your experiment is: "what is communication"? All the dictionary definitions I've seen focus the meaning of communication around two primary concepts: transmission (or "imparting") and exchange (or "interchange"). Another way to think of the "double-meaning" of communication is that part of the act of communication is concerned with the "end" (of the message being transmitted) and the other part with the "means".

You think the "joke" is on everyone else because you think that communication is ONLY about transmission, about being "perfectly" understood. But if that was the entirety of "communication", there would be no room for discussion or debate about "meaning" itself. Communication in this sense would be something like the transmission of data between computers, or in other words, communication would be an exact science. The "human" aspect of communication is the second part, an exchange, or even simply the "means for an exchange" between two or more human beings. The "meaningless metaphors" you've created are an excellent example of an exchange, of a means of communication.

And so you're social experiment demonstrates brilliantly (though unintentionally on your part) the very condition of communication between human beings. You WERE (and ARE) communicating with others when you wear one of your "meaningless metaphor" t-shirts because even though there is no message to "transmit” in the meaningless images, the very act of wearing the t-shirt creates the conditions for communication in the sense of an “exchange”, because anyone who sees the t-shirt might come up to you and say: “What the hell does that mean?”

Man I love being human…


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