An Early Success


Like in many high schools across America, my orchestra would hold a competition to design the T-shirts that would be worn by the students on the yearly school trip. The stakes were raised in 2007 when the orchestra was invited to compete in China, at the Beijing Pre-olympic Music Festival. To help raise funds for the trip the T-shirts would be made available to the public, so the design needed to be better than . . . average. 

As a budding graphic artist, I fixated on the challenge. After a few weeks of thinking and not much doodling, eventually Splatter in D Minor appeared on a sheet of paper. First draft, in pen.

Problem was, it needed to be digitized to be printed on shirts.


While looking up how-to's for digitalizing hand-drawn art, Threadless.com and its message boards became a valuable knowledgebase. There, I learned the difference between a bitmap and a vector.

Coincidently, the platform was becoming a commercial success. They were the first website to successfully crowd-source the design and selection aspects of clothing sales.


At the time, Threadless offered up $2,000 bounties to designs that won the popular vote each month. With a completed design in hand, I figured it was worth a shot to submit it into the month's competition. I was dumbfounded to see it it's rating take off.

It was an instant hit.

Over the next few years I watched as my humble design was adopted and adored by creatives and musicians all over the world. Before even applying to colleges, I was a Threadless alumni.


With the earnings from the original design I was able to afford a license for the current version of Adobe Photoshop CS3, and a new program that would allow me to create vector art, Adobe illustrator.


One day while walking through the mall I found myself face to face with my own artwork, on a product for sale at the Apple store.

GRIFFIN + threadless Art Case

Splatter in D Minor by Joshuah Howard


On the heels of the iPhone premiere Threadless started licensing designs for phone cases. They had kicked off this venture with some of their more successful designs, including Splatter in D Minor.

💎 Achievement Unlocked

Your product at Apple