Zufallsshirt – Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is randomized about the shirts?

The combination of image and text; the color; the size of the image; in most cases, the composition of the text as well.

How many different designs are there?

The designs are put together from 2885 images and about 50,000 possible texts in one of 447 fonts and different colors. All in all, that comes to 48,323,750,000,000 possible designs as a rough estimation. If you spend a few years clicking patiently, you may see the same shirt twice.

What happens to the shirts I've clicked away?

They go to the place where tossed back fish watch canceled TV shows.

What does the little shirt icon on the top left mean?

A green icon means that you're the only one who gets to see this shirt. After you've looked at it, it will be thrown out. If the shirt machine is overloaded, you'll see a yellow icon there, which means that a few other users have seen this shirt as well. But after a few hours, this design is deleted as well.

But the designs are repeating!

If you see a yellow shirt icon in the top left, designs may repeat; see the previous question. If a green icon is visible, this won't happen.

Where do the texts come from?

The text templates were written or found by Kathrin Passig, Almut Steckel, Holm Friebe, Ira Strübel, Wolfgang Biester, Christoph Albers, Philipp Albers, Wolfgang Herrndorf, Michael Brake, Jan Bölsche, Caroline Härdter, Peter Glaser, Martin Fritz, Trottelbot and various authors of the Riesenmaschine and Lesemaschine blogs and from the Höfliche Paparazzi forum. Individual words have been taken from the Spiegel Online RSS feed and with kind permission from the Wortwarte RSS feed as well as @texttheater / texttheater.net.
For the Zufallsshirt subgenres NeinQuarterly the text ist taken from twitter.com/NeinQuarterly, for Neusprech from the blog neusprech.org, for Techniktagebuch from the blog's chatroom, for Wortwarte from wortwarte.org, for Non-notable from Wikipedia: Articles for deletion, provided by Gregor Weichbrodt / 0x0a.

Where do the images and fonts come from?

Unless noted otherwise, the images are published under free licenses and come e.g. from OpenClipArt, Wikimedia Commons, Crest Japan, i heart vector, VectorArt1, All Silhouettes, shmector.com DownloadFreeVector.com, Shapes4FREE, VectorArtBox.com, and especially the excellent Vectorportal. The fonts are published under free licenses as well and come mainly from Fontsquirrel, dafont.com, myfonts.com, Larabie Fonts, Lost Type, exljbris.com and Glukfonts. The color palettes in multi–color images are from Colorhunter, where they are extracted from flickr images. The patterns used in pattern designs come from vecteezy.com, vectorpatterns.co.uk, freevector.com, webdesignhot.com, gomediazine.com, and japanvector.com. Not all design ideas are mine; some are taken from pamphlets, posters, other people's shirts, etc. For example, the "Schönewörteroverkill" design is based on the advertising campaign of a Berlin museum (I'm afraid I forgot the details) and the four–letter design is, of course, based on Robert Indiana's "LOVE".

Under what license are the shirt designs used?

If the artist's rights are not mentioned in the description text, the shirt designs are used under a CC0 license. As far as I know, I only use material that allows this, and I informed myself about the ways the CC0 license can be used. Copyright law is a complicated subject, however. If you notice a problem with the images or fonts used, don't hesitate to inform me.

How are the shirts printed?

The shirts are printed using the "Digital Direct" method. It's a new method and not quite as good as other ways to print shirts yet, but it's what makes the randomized shirt project possible. According to Spreadshirt, the print will lose some color during the first wash; the shirts should be washed and ironed inside-out at a maximum of 30°C. They should not be machine dried. Here is a detailed and illustrated comparison with other printing methods. Tip: If you pick a colored or black shirt, a layer of white color is printed under the design, which makes the results seem more solid.

What are the technical details?

The front end is a slightly modified Simplomat that is available from Spreadshirt, more or less ready to use. A PHP tool generates the random texts, puts together the designs from SVG graphics and text and makes sure that designs don't appear twice. Essentially, the designs are assembled by imagemagick and TCPDF (neither can do everything, but they complement each other somewhat).

Can I submit my own text suggestions?

Eventually, there will be a handy suggestion box for texts. Until then, please use the contact information listed below.

Custom randomized shirts

How can I get my own random shirt generator, like the one neusprech.org has here: zufallsshirt.de/neusprech/ or the one wortwarte.org has here: zufallsshirt.de/wortwarte/?

Just ask! You can find contact information here.

Who gets all the piles of money from my custom randomized shirt sales?

No one but Zufallsshirt, that is, Kathrin Passig, who will spend it on pizza, hosting fees and other frivolities.

But why would I want something like that?

It saves you the effort of coming up with your own designs and setting up your own store. The shirt machine does all the work. Besides, the billions of designs make sure that even customers with unusual tastes can find something that suits them.

Questions on ordering

Do the zoom buttons only change the size of the picture view, or is it printed bigger or smaller as well?

It is printed that way. But Spreadshirt generally does not show the design and shirt at the actual scale. No matter what size you pick, the shirt displayed in the browser is always size M. If you order a bigger size shirt, the design will appear smaller; if you order a smaller size, the design will appear bigger. So make sure to check the size information for the design (bottom right next to the shirt).

The shirt sizes (S, M, L) aren't precise enough for me. Can I see the measurements somewhere?

If you hover your cursor over the size buttons, you can see the precise length and width (except in Internet Explorer). Since at least the standard men's shirts come out tent–like and many women's shirts come out tiny, it's a good idea to check those measurements.

I'd like to know more about the different shirts. Manufacturer names etc.

If you hover your cursor over the shirt thumbnails (bottom right in the menu), you get all the information provided by Spreadshirt. That's all the information I have.

Can I change the type or color of the shirt after ordering?

No, after placing the order it's too late. All you can do is cancel your order and place another one with changed details.

How much is shipping?

See www.spreadshirt.net/help-C1328/articleId/542?setLocation=EU_en.

What payment methods are available?

See www.spreadshirt.de/hilfe-C1328/categoryId/5/articleId/25?setLocation=EU_en.

I can't place an order, the shirt just won't go into the basket.

Cookies have to be enabled to place an order.

I've enabled cookies, but I still can't order anything.

Occasionally, the ordering process may get stuck. Just fiddle around a little, usually it'll work in the end. I'm working on it.


I'd like to put the design somewhere else.

You can drag the design around.

What does the dotted frame mean that appears when I move the design?

The design is outside the printable area and the shirt can't be ordered like this.

Why are the shirts sometimes black and sometimes white? I'd like a colorful shirt better.

For dark designs, a white shirt is loaded as a background, for bright designs a black one. You can then pick your own color.

Why can't I change the color of the design?

Because somebody will then want to change the font, and then the text, and then the image.

Font XYZ is ugly, remove it!

Everyone has some fonts that they want to get rid of, and they're different for everyone. If I throw them all out, there will only be two left.

But sometimes the font doesn't match the image at all!

That's the thing about randomness.

I like the other Spreadshirt printing methods better. Will they be added later?

I'm afraid I can't do that. For flex printing or flocking, each design has to fulfill certain conditions, so it has to be checked and approved by Spreadshirt employees. Since the design will only be printed once, that wouldn't be very sensible.

My shirt has arrived, but I'm unhappy with the print quality.

Out of the shirts I've seen so far, some have had a very good print quality that's almost indistinguishable from silk screen printing, some have looked more like they were made using early 90s ink jet printers. If there should be serious flaws, Spreadshirt will probably be willing to give you a replacement. (Spreadshirt will still have the design saved; also, you can always order another copy of a shirt you've ordered. The link can be found in the confirmation email.)

Why don't you have organic cotton shirts?

But we do have them: they have a tiny green icon in the shirt preview. This is what they look like, and here at the bottom right on the page is where you can find them (the screen shot shows the view for men, but they're also available for women and children, of course). All details about manufacturer etc. can be viewed by hovering your cursor over the small shirt thumbnail.

Why are there no sweaters?

But there are: check the menu at the bottom right.

I'd like hats, mugs, underwear and netbook sleeves.

All products that you can print using Spreadshirt's Digital Direct method are available already. I can't add any new products, but maybe Spreadshirt will expand its range for digital print someday. Maybe you'll be able to get mugs someday; I'll find out.

Can I get gift cards?

I'm afraid Spreadshirt doesn't offer gift cards for specific stores, so there's no random design gift card. You can get an email gift card for €25 here or €50 here that can be redeemed in any Spreadshirt store. The gift card is sent as a code that you can write on your own card for gifting.

For technical advice, I'd like to give thanks to Jan Bölsche (blind-photographer.com), Johannes Jander und Richard Mazorodze; for testing, feedback, and suggestions for improvement Sascha Lobo, Cornelius Reiber, Nils Dagsson Moskopp (dieweltistgarnichtso.net), Regine Heidorn (Bit-Boutique), Matthias Rampke, Moritz Metz, Nathalie Bigeon Passig, Wolfgang Biester and the Höfliche Paparazzi; for the icon and the Riesenmaschine advertising banner Martin Baaske; for the API and the Simplomat front end the Spreadshirt developers and for later fixes Martin and Archy at spacetime.hk. This FAQ translation was done by the excellent "Translator #67264" at gengo.com (less excellent parts were later added by me).

Contact information and legal notice

Other questions? Suggestions for improvement? Requests?

Twitter: @zufallsshirt
Skype chat: kpassig

For the legal notice, please go here.

Take me back! I want to look at more shirts!