Konstantin Zotov
27 Oct 2017

Play or Die — evolution of one design

If you google 'Play or die' you'll immediately see many versions of this work which was actually created by us. It happened so that one day this illustration went viral on social media and people started perceiving it as just another web picture with no creator behind it. So they thought they could use it wherever they wanted. Well, on one hand we're okay with the fact that our work has been used without our permission. Moreover, people have been making money from it. But isn't that cool? It's been living its own life all this time! 

This piece of work was created when our studio only appeared, around March-April of 2012. At first it said "Play till death" but later on we changed it to a better sounding "Play or die" phrase. When the design was ready, we uploaded it on our VK page, and sometime later we sold it to a young brand Cold Black which then was renamed to Dead Brush. 

Originally we developed it as a design for black tees, and that's what Cold Black did: 

Also I got a message from Danil, a friend of mine who said he wanted to get a tattoo of this picture. Within 5 years we've found a bunch of similar tats of the same image. 

Besides, many online shops simply downloaded a JPEG version from the web and decided to print it on whatever. No one cared that our idea was to use black T-shirts for this image - people still put it on light-colored tees, smartphone cases and even bags, too: 

The coolest thing was when people began sending us their own work based on ours. 

But there were also those who thought our version needed upgrading. 

If you ever saw other variations out there on the web, go ahead and leave them in the comments or send them straight to our email hoi@ottyag.com.