March 20, 2006

Idea: Pre-pixelated clothes for Reality TV shows

Pixelated ClothingI don’t watch much Reality TV, but I’ve seen enough of it to notice an on-going phenomenon: Someone wears a garment with a trademarked logo or artwork on it, and the producers have to pixelate it beyond recognition in post-production. Of course no Reality TV star wants their shirt, which displays their well-chosen article of self-expression, senselessly pixelated so nobody can see it. But no Reality TV producer wants to deal with the headache of removing said article of self-expression to avoid trademark violations. The pixelation process seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through for something that could have been avoided with a little pre-planning.

Pixelated HatSo I’d like to introduce my new line of pre-pixelated clothing for Reality TV shows. If you’re going to be on a Reality TV show, you can buy one of these fine products and save someone a lot of headaches later. In fact, if you live in an area where a reality TV show is taping, you should think about getting one of these shirts in case you get caught in the background of a shot. And if you’re heading to audition for a Reality TV show, maybe you should wear one of these shirts to the audition so they know that you’re really serious about Reality TV.

Available here in these and other fine styles:

Update: Hey, this little post has become popular! So now I get to say, “As seen on: TVGasm, MSNBC, USA Today, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, Defamer, Fark, Digg, Kottke, Consumerist, the Morning News,, C|Net, and about a hundred other blogs.” Thanks!

Update: And now I’ve made the New York Magazine Approval Matrix!


I’m officially jealous.

This is definately one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” ideas. Good luck to you sir!

a sure fire hit…you’re gonna be rich & famous

This is the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. As a Producer, these people would never be photographed with a logo…HELLO. Have another Mad Dog and think of something that actually makes sense.

A pixellated shirt recently made it through the user voting contest at Threadless, and is now on sale.

If they show these shirts on reality tv shows, won’t the image become clear again?

Re: Joe Williams, purported producer

I’ll forgive you if you work in Hollywood; this is the town where the original idea dies a sad lonely death.

That you claim to actually BE a producer is pathetic. Just remember, next show: I like one Equal in my Latte. Make it snappy, producer-boy. (you meant production ASSISTANT, right?; yeah, I thought so)

Joe Williams, youse a dumb bitch, the shirts are fing funny, me want one now!

Joe Williams, “P”roducer with a capital p!!!!
“W”anker, more like…

Yes, the tshirts are very cool, one could even ignore the joke because they are very cool

I love the advertisements

Great idea LOL!

Unfortunately, if you don’t put the images on the shirt, pre-pixelated or no, into the public domain, they’re still probably going to need to pixelate them again.

Brilliant Idea! Congratulations! Made me smile!

Just Brilliant! Funniest thing I’ve read today.

Great idea! Very kitchy and fun. I think I’m going to get one!

Great idea, even if one poseur missed that the joke that by pixellating it there IS NO LOGO!

I just can’t wait to wear this shirt while I’m spinning in the clubs… you know how many of these gay boys are going to want one of these shirts simply because it’s “different”??? ALOT!!!

Next your going to make fuzzy faces to order for those wishing to appear on cheaters or some such.

Nice idea I smiled


Hilarious! If only I had had this shirt when I claimed my 15min!

Wow. That’s hot. I’ll take two.

Just wonderful. How about on bathing suits over purported naughty bits?

Joe Williams obviously hasn’t seen reality television. If you eat all the vegetables off your plate Joe, your mommy might extend your bedtime so you could see that you are completely wrong.

Spunky work there. But yeah, like mentioned before, what would appear when pixellated again? The finger?

Joe Williams is listed on as producer for The Apparition(s),2003.
/Just sayin’

I do this for a living. I am the guy that watches shows and tells people what to blur. Funny shirts. However as one person pointed out if I saw these in a show I would have to blur them. If I can track down the person or place that owns the design I have them sign a release so I don’t have to blur the logo.


If someone blurs the pixelated logo wouldn’t it still look like a pixelated logo? To really blur the shirts you would have to add a clear logo so that people won’t think it’s a pixelated logo.

Dear Mr. Sans,

I regret to inform you that your designs infringe on the intellectual property of Altria, Inc. Altria holds the trademark for pixel-like images, and your use and encouragement of others to use these images is a violation of said trademark and causes considerable harm to Altria and confusion for its customers.

I must insist on their behalf that you remove this infringing images immediately and desist from using them in the future.

When a logo has to be blurred it’s generally because somebody on the production side doesn’t make it clear to a participant that they’re not allowed to wear anything with a logo.

A small piece of gaff tape works fine on a Polo shirt or a logo on a cap (even though it looks terrible), but anything bigger and you have to blur it.

Also, I think it’s fantastic that (unless these are public domain or released under a Creative Commons license which doesn’t require attribution), someone wearing this shirt would have to be blurred without a release from you.

Fucking IP law…

Damn, I just saw this today and am going to a reality-tv party tomorrow. A t-shirt like this would look good on tv on friday.

Fantastic idea.

How about wearing them on TV shows to just confuse the people blurring the shirts and/or the people watching the show?
That’d be fun!

hey… isn’t the hat a pixellated aqua teen hunger force logo?

Producers, when you blur logos and hunt down rightsholders to sign releases, you’re just wasting time to please your corporate overlords. There is no legitimate trademark infringement case for showing a trademark in a ‘documentary’ work, even one as commercial as a reality show. What’s at work here is a combination of two things: your network/studio gatekeepers’ not wanting to give free advertising, and their wanting to avoid going to court and winning in a meritless trademark infringement suit.

If someone threatens a corporation with a trademark infringement suit, the corporation will settle just to save time and litigation money. But the suit, if it went to court, would certainly go in favor of the defendant because showing a trademark in any recorded work is not infringement: it’s not even fair use, it’s so un-infringing. Trademark infringement would apply if Survivor showed a close-up of a contestant’s Queer Eye t-shirt in every promo commercial.

Blurring logos is about stinginess: not wanting to give free advertising, and wanting to perpetuate this rights clearance culture so that when someone shows *your* trademark, you can force them to get clearance.

Any real producers should stop getting releases for logos: if you really want to waste your time on this stuff, go to court, win, and have the plaintiff pay your court costs.

That’s great…until your pixilated shirts become so recognizable that the have to be pixilated…now THAT would be a hoot!

Great idea. I agree, another one of those wish I thought of it ideas.

I’m not sure what is funnier - the original idea or how seriously some of you are taking it.

Thanks for making me giggle.


As you’re probably painfully aware, there are two kinds of people in the world: bombastic hyperbolists who add nothing more to society than spewing ill-will toward their fellow man and folks like you.

I just wish there were more folks like you. I’m buyin’ one because great ideas should be supported.

Dig it,

I’ve ordered one and am going to wear it to an audition this weekend. Wish me luck

These are a great idea! Pre-pixelated clothing - what a riot!

What’s the first thing most people do when they see something is pixelated???
So, this is the best form of free advertising!
Besides, after trying to read the pixelated logo, it’s best remembered.

The idea of defeating the logo exposure by covering it with a strip of Duct-Tape will be giving Duct-Tape a free ad and so still advertise something for nothing.

so dumb ! that all i have to say its just something new and dumb for teens to fad over i personally think it sucks but thats just my say … byebye

The fact that (if it is a real post) Altria sent legal garb on this… the REAL reason this is funny! ha ha!

Hey Altria, don’t you have some accounting to take care of? :-)

Dear Mistress,

Could you be jealous because you didn’t think of the idea? And judging by the other comments, I don’t think the interest is only held by teens.

LMAO - This is so freaking funny. I want!!!

what a stupid idea

Everyone who wears clothes with big manufacturer logos is a moron. Free advertising after paying for that crap (made in a Chinese sweatshop probably). But I guess reality show participants must represent the masses so they must be fashion lemmings/retards.

GREAT! found your shirts (and the blog) via jason kottke today. and want let u know, that some weeks ago, i had a similar idea. i created a “free logo” for this years soccer-world-cup in germany just for fun. (fifa is so afraid about “abusing” the original one.) and there i prepared also a “prepixelated” one.

Very nice. I hope you make some $$$.
I just ordered one!

Slightly off the topic, why do they pixelate a hint of someone’s buttcrack yet they allow her cleavage to be so blatant? Go figure!

me want

So every time an imaage is Pixelated, Altria, or whatever, earns a royalty? No way. It’s a joke, no?

Funny shirt, now do a face mask for robbers that is a weird 3D pixelated face!

Love it. Is there any reason why each clothing option only has one logo available? If you had a moment, could you change it around so that each logo is available on each piece of clothing?

I really like the design on the Jr. Raglan (there’s something about the pixelated text below it), but I don’t have breasts, so I’d like to get it in the long sleeve T-shirt.

My email is posted in case you decide to make this change.

Joe Williams, why are you accusing “these people” of being “a Producer”? (I.e., “As a Producer, these people…”.) Are you trying to say that you are a [p]roducer?

haha terrific idea. Never mind the earnest critics above – idea is king

THAT’S why I can’t invent anything, all of the good ideas are already taken. Damn it!

Here in the UK they went for the more basic appoach of making all the ‘stars’ stick black tape over any logos. Word.

i all ready thought of that

This has to be about the most hillarous thing in the world. If I was not strapped for cash at the moment I would buy one. Somehow I doubt that anyone really owns pixilation unless it is one of those companies that get pattens on anything they can think of so that when someone actually makes something they can make them pay like with the blackberry email thing where a company is suing cause they made a patten about something like the way blackberry makes email work but own no factories or make anything, they just obtain pattens (how these things make it to court I do not know). Anyways brilliant idea, wish I had thought of it. I will probably be back to buy a shirt when I have more cash.

If you get succesful enough and generate your own major brand will the TV companies have to unpixelate your logos if they appear on reality TV?

Pure genius. Best of luck on your venture!

Uh…I already sell pre-pixelated logos @ my shop. They sell pretty well until everyone has them. I’ve got five left over from my last order and they’ve been sitting here for 3 months. Sucks ass.

Okay, I’m just kidding, I didn’t think of that. I’m buying one though.

These are great, wish I had done it.
Altria, back OFF…. ITS A T-SHIRT.
I’ll take 3.

Pure Genius! Could you do something with the “I’m with Stupid”? Just in case I happen to be in a room with some of your previous respondents? (I’d really pay for one which went along the line of  “I’m with that Stupid Producer”)

How come your logo for Ironic Sans is in a serif font and not a sans serif font?


Hey Jared!

Try reading “What is Ironic Sans” in the upper right corner of this page!

The irony is that you expect a sans-serif font and get a serifed one…

That is a serif font.
I like the art on this site by the way.

This is just great! I’ve commented on it on my blog and linked it directly to your shop. :) Good luck with sales!

totally rad

Hey everyone, I ordered the baby doll ringer t-shirt and both the garment and printing quality turned out to be great. I used to work as a t-shirt designer, so I was pleasantly surprised by the overall product.

I had a variation on this idea a while ago, and one of the things I thought would be funny would be pixelated dark areas on flesh tones of bathing suits. I still think that that would be a good, funny, white trash sort of Spencer’s Gifts idea.

Love your tees.

Dumbass, you say? Call my capital P Producing into question, eh? I’ll have you know I’ve been producing all day, and since I know I can just produce more tomorrow, I’ve been carelessly flushing it all away! So there!

I am Joe Williams- PRODUCER!

PS your idea sucks.

Are these pixelated graphics ACTUAL existing logos?

I bought some. It’s on it’s way to good ol’ oz-tralia. Cheers!

Right… couple of things:

- I guess it’s not for actual people to wear on TV, but for people in the street to recreate the look of being on reality TV (i.e. it looks funny).

- of course it’s a wicked idea - hence all the attention

- Altria is fake & rubbish - and why would they try to enforce IP by, erm, posting a message on a blog

- Joe Williams may be a producer, or he may not. He’s definitely a dumb-ass though.

Great reading, keep up the great posts.
Peace, JiggaDigga

What a funny idea! looks so cool.. People are only being negative as they are dumb asses and “name” wearing idiots.. they would be the type of person to spend $2000 for a sock. as it has a MAJOR name on it. (p.s in reality it means they have no self worth and have to purchse it)

ONCE again fantastic idea!

Joe Williams is a little bitch.

Love ‘em.
But does that mean you have to trademark the new image? which then means the shirts have to get re-pixelated in postproduction!!
Send me my re-pixelated “Ironic Sans” trucker hat please. Enclosed is my 12.99.

Glad to see that such an important producer has time to chat with us…must really be making the big bucks…I think its hilarious!

Very cool, in fact I’m ordering one right after this post. As a reality TV producer I’m afraid it would be a tricky call as to whether shooting someone in one of these shirts would be considered “fair use” or not. If the person shows up in it, probably, if the show dresses them in it, likely not… getting an art release would be wise. Certainly no network would worry about giving away free ad space though. Nice work!

Ok Now the real trick is to pixelate them in such away that they subliminally suggest a real brand. Then release the public pixelated version into the world and allow and encourage widespread use but pick up funds via a backroom agreement with the benificiary of the subliminal association. (The need for extreme secrecy is a bit of a problem but if you treat the ‘rumors’ as ‘silly’ nonsense they will often just go away. And if it ruins one design just move on to another. There are lots of fish in the sea.)

cool idea daddio

Awesome blog. Peace out until next time TabathaOster

you must have thought long and hard about this idea huh? yeah…sooo genius of an idea. im sure many people have thought about this…or probably not since it is so dumb
good to know that you have idiots buying your clothing
its hard to go at something alone when you have no one following you
congrats on your lame idea
whats sad is that you are actually making money off of this
not to mention…people are SPENDING their money on it
hey customers…why dont you just go and put duct tape on your clothes.. saves you some money and you will still look like an idiot..which i believe is the look you were all going for, right?
keep it real joe williams ;)

if you are seriously trying to “save people heartache,” then you are the dumbest fuck i’ve ever heard of, this is one of those things i woulld buy to make fun of you with, the idea is fucking rediculous, and that’s why its so fuckin awesome, so kudos dood, especially if its a joke,
peace out,

haha hey you wouldn’t be making fun of i said, you would only be making your self look like an idiot

What a hoot! (The clothing and the controversy.)

Love the idea. I’ll be ordering one soon.

ilike it

Great idea!!

Good luck, I hope you get some $$$.

Ush! I’ll be ordering one or two…

thats funny :D

Good idea!
But: Ironic gives everybody a new look??

wicked, where do i get one?

Funny stuff. You should expand this, and sell pre-pixellated soft drinks, shoes, and bling.

Hot. Hot. Hot. Great idea! :-) You’re funny!

I got a t-shirt for me and one for my daughter. We both think it’s funny as hell!

Love the idea. I’ll be ordering one soon. Greetings from Germany.

This idea is Forrest Gump-calibre. You’re going to be rich!

Ok Now the real trick is to pixelate them in such away that they subliminally suggest a real brand. Then release the public pixelated version into the world and allow and encourage widespread use but pick up funds via a backroom agreement with the benificiary of the subliminal association. (The need for extreme secrecy is a bit of a problem but if you treat the ‘rumors’ as ‘silly’ nonsense they will often just go away. And if it ruins one design just move on to another. There are lots of fish in the sea.).

I can’t believe a bunch of people could take a joke so seriously.

It’s a fucking joke! Joe Williams and “Chuck” are you reading?

It amused me, I hope you make a truck load of money on your Tees.


Mrs L Carrot

PS It’s people like Joe Williams and Chuck who make the rest of the worlddthink Americans have no sense of humour.

Hello Blogger, I hope you make loads of money from your Tees.

Joe Williams (which reality TV show are you a producer on by the way) and Chuck - you shame the human race. It’s because of people like you that the Americans have a growing reputation for being completely humourless.

Why are you taking it so seriously? It’s a fucking joke, get a grip.

Am liking this blog. Keep doing the do.


Mrs L Carrot

Very cool idea! The clothes looks great :)

Excellent! Or as someone already wrote, “why didn’t I think of this!”

I’m gonna use wax paper to make a “pixel mask” for Halloween. Add saggy pants with my boxers showing & presto, I am the suspect from COPS. Trick or Treat.

haha what’s ironic though, is that if someone wears your shirt its kinda like their representing you and your “brand” so to speak, so its like they’d have to pixalate these pre-pixalated shirts..haha. still a brilliant idea though

Nice article with a nice advertisement….People will definitely get inspired to wear t shirts.

A nice blog with a nice advertise..T shirts are very good.

This is a fantastic idea. I dont like wearing logos anyway but for the sake of reality tv is hilarious - im if wore one it would make my parents go for an eye test! he he he! Shame on the other posters for not having a sense of humor.
Hope to see more fabulous inventions :D

Great idea. Now, I’ve three t-shirts that testify to hyperreality. yea!

How about developing a pixelated shirt that once pixelated actually turns into a corporate logo on the clothing, that would really stuff them up.

OMG! Here in Germany it´s just unbelievable to pixel trademarks in TV-shows. Just imagine all the sport-stars who wear clothes of their sponsors. The whole sport-industry would go down. On the other hand the pixel-trademark idea is great:) There is nothing that tv-makers could counter. A black balk? Then make a t-shirt with a black balk and the reality shows promote your shirts:)

Haha nice Idea!

Oh man thats Cool

Absolutely outstanding idea. So many creative people out there. Best wishes from one photog to another.

Absolutely outstanding idea. So many creative people out there. Best wishes from one photog to another.

Great idea. Funniest thing I’ve read last week. I think I’m going to get one.

brilliant idea. wish I had thought of it. Tomorrow, i will be back to buy a shirt.

this seems to be a great idea..

this is a great idea

funny! where can i get this shirts? greatings

funny! where can i get this shirts? thx

Pre-pixelated clothes for Reality TV shows? GReat idea!!

Love the idea. I’ll be ordering one soon. Greetings from Germany.

Can you make Shirts with a blue-sreen? If a company know your preferences, and the TV-Company can make an personalize Show, so the TV-Station can transmit the perfect advertising message to you. The blue-screen shirt changes to individual message of your desire. If you like a porsche, appears on your TV at home a shirt with dreamcar in the color you with. That will be the perfect adversising. So the car company oder other preferece producers can sponsor your privat TV set.

IO think that there must be some technology out there that would allow a pre-pixellated shirt to actually display a logo once it becomes pixellated. Alternatively, you could get a non pixelated shirt that when pixelated, actually shows a completely different brand image! Tiger Woods could have a Nike t that when pixelated shows the Addidas brand for example, that would set the cat amongst the pidgeons!

Funny stuff. Really great idea!

excellent i love this. i will really go for this. thanks.

thats really a nice t shirts. i love that. i will definitely go for this, when i will go for reality show.

It´s a very great idea. I think I’m going to get one.

great stuff found on your site, thanks a lot, greetings from Stuttgart, germany

Good idea. Btw Altria are a tobacco company so that explains their attitude!

Good luck, I hope you get some money.

cool idea :-)

These are a great idea! Pre-pixelated clothing - what a riot!

just a great idea.

thats really good

It´s a very great idea. I think I’m going to get one.

Wow great man. What a great idea. cheers

I like the idea of making the “censored body parts” clothing items. Perhaps under a different blog or something, though.

You’re an artist. Great design and good-looking shirts!

Awesome. Very beautiful!

This shirt is very fantastic. I love it

A lot of great ideas are shared here. thanks for that keep up the good work

By the way are these shirts for sale already!??

Yes, merci bien , très bien.
Cela fait un moment que je cherchais de l’info.
continu comme cela
Julie :)