Disclaimer: We have not formed a judging committee, I have no idea whether or not I will be on the committee, and the decision could be made by a couple of engineers over a lot of beer in Sydney. These facts do not prevent me from giving you, Dear Reader some valuable insights into this hotly contested competition.
As an employee I am officially disqualified from Atlassian’s T-Shirt competition, which irks me to no end as I would whip everyone’s ass in this competition. Nevertheless, I am compelled to dispense potentially useful information on how you might stand out from the crowd pounding down our doors with spectacular designs and ideas. Here are some possible strategies for you Closet T-Shirt Designers:
Strategy #1: Design something a woman might wear. Being engineers and being men generally, we have a terrible habit of designing things that are questionable when written across a woman’s chest. The original clean, simply designed Confluence T-shirt is one of my favs but as you can see…
This is a risky, breakout strategy as our founders are 28 year-old Australian men and of course, engineers and opinionated at times. But I think the timing is right to do the right thing by women, as Kathy Sierra pointed out a long time ago.
Strategy #2: It’s all about a clever, funny tagline. With this strategy, the design is irrelevant. Take our most coveted JIRA T-shirt. To this day, people love the tagline:
Strategy #3: Get edgy. This is risky as you might go too far. Here’s an example of one of our more recent T-shirts which may have gone too far:
This one may say something about engineers who spend too much time in front of their monitors, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.
Strategy #4: Make something retro and timeless. The problem with retro is it is in the eye of the beholder, and I’m not sure there’s anything retro about a 5-year old software company. My favorite example but a really sweet T-shirt is this beauty I got from Ted Leung:
[Disclosure: I used a Newton for 18 months. I still own it.]
Strategy #5: Sex. That’s right. Sex would be a cheap trick but Hey, stooping to the lowest common denominator works often. Here’s Yelp who in a lot of their branding uses some of the same tricks as American Apparel:
Yelp can get a bit frisky with their marketing of their apparel:
Would this cheap tactic work with a bunch of young engineers in Sydney? You decide.