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Monday, April 30, 2012

ZombieTees.net

 One of the things I want to do with this site is present people with interesting horror themed sites.  It was a piece of good fortune that a little while ago, I was approached by @ZombieTees on Twitter, and asked to have a look at their website and possibly do a write-up.

Since websites are constantly changing, updating, and evolving, I really can't assign a "Good, Bad, Ugly" sort of rating.  All I can do is write about what my initial impression of the site is like, and offer some possibly ideas that might help them attract a larger group of people.

With that in mind, here we go...

ZombieTees.net is a horror themed business site.  They offer T-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, hats, and baby clothes- all with mostly zombie themed artwork on them.

If Sheldon Cooper from "Big Bang Theory" was into horror, these would be the sorts of T-shirts he'd wear.  They average about $21.00 (US), and come in sizes from Medium to XXX-Large.  Decently priced, and able to accomondate a nice range of body types.  The artwork on the T-shirts are in different styles- from looking almost as if they were done by a classic "Tales From the Crypt" artist from the days of EC Comics, through a more Saturday Morning Cartoon style, through something you'd expect to see displayed in a tattoo parlour, to a more photographic style.  Basically, a variety of art styles to suit various personalities and tastes.  My personal favorite is an "Tales From the Crypt" style zombie coming out of his grave on a black T-shirt.

The mugs are about $14.00 (US), and currently consists of five different designs you can choose from.  The designs include a graphic, with a slogan.  The website, show the designs on white mugs, but I hope they're available in black mugs too... or green even would be cool.  Of the five designs, I really like the Biohazard Zombie Contamination mug.

ZombieTees.net also offers mouse pods. They're priced about $10.00 (US), and use mostly designs that appear on their T-shirts- though there are a couple of patterns that aren't currently offered on their shirts.  The white skull on the black background, and a grey splatter overlay is nice.

They site does have a page for caps- but nothing offered at this time.  I'll be looking forward to seeing what designs and styles they decide to offer.  I think the usual baseball caps for summer, and toques for winter would be good.

Now, you normally wouldn't expect a horror themed site to offer baby clothes... but the horror community has enough of a sense of humour to do so.  Priced about $15.00 (US), and available in sizes from three to 18 months, the designs are simple, but quite cute.  Of the six designs currently displayed for sale, I found the "I'm a zombie baby, cute- but deadly!" one made me smile and go, "that's adorable".

Okay- so that's the merchandise they have on display.  Their stock is limited at present, but I'm impressed with what I've seen so far- and I'm looking forward to seeing what they add to their stock.

Now, for the website it self.  I love the logo design (shown at the top of this article).  I also like the fairly simple layout of the site as well.  The navigation menu is straight forward and simple to navigate.  The illustrations on their gallery pages illustrate nicely how their artwork looks on the various shirt colours they offer.  I also like the fact that the "model" shots of the shirts being worn show normal, everyday people, rather than "beautiful" people.  Made me feel more comfortable, knowing that people like myself can actually look good in the shirts.

In general, the mechanics and layout of the site is good, and I had little problem with it.  Visually, though, I did have a couple of minor problems.

When you first load the site, there's this large, bright green background, with the majority of the actual site information on a fairly narrow band of black down the middle.  They might be able to organize the information on the page a bit more by expanding the central part to take up most of the screen.  This could also help them limit the amount of scrolling on their pages.

Another small problem is the main font they use- "Papyrus."  Many consider this font to be almost as overused as Comic Sans- and will cause many designers to cringe.  My problem isn't in it being overused in general, but rather the thinness of the characters can make it hard to read for some people- especially as the smaller sizes.

The only MAJOR problem I actually had (other than the large amount of green in the background), was the small font used for the navigation menu.  I had a really hard time reading it.  If anything, the navigation menu is one of the most important parts of a website, so I would recommend that they increase the size of the font, or designing a decent sized graphical menu that draws the eye, while being easy to use.

Having said this, the site is fairly new- about a year old, so we can expect them to iron out some of these sort of concerns that visitors have to the site.  Other than these few things, I liked the site, and I'm rather interested in seeing how it grows in the future.  I'd recommend checking ZombieTees.net out.

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