Today, at noon Pacific, Tilteed launched its first official contest winners. Tilteed is the newest of the ever-growing number of tee contest sites out there, and hey, nothing wrong with that (though the lazy part of me feels like if there was a site called Teevotes.com to compile all the designs up for voting at all sites into one convenient interface, life would indeed be sweeter). They plan to put new shirts up at a pre-sale discount every 72 hours, and that timeframe, with its irregularity melded with frequency, already sets them apart (as well as the fact that, with the exception of Threadless, whose model is different in all ways anyway, they seem to be the only contest site reliably updating during the day, not late at night. It will be interesting to see if this strategy effects their success.
But it's more than just schedule that sets this site apart at the early onset. Consider their grand prize launch winner, "Get a Job" by Rawroutlowd. It's a really unique piece, featuring a contemplative mixture of Billy Corgan and Strong Sad. The character is clearly feeling a bit melancholy, and that melancholy spreads through the rest of the design despite an overall bright and sunny look. The colors make me think of Popsicles for some reason... those specialty boxes that had the pineapple and blue raspberry pops, not the regular grape-and-orange ones... which makes it a great choice for the season. It's entirely possible Tilteed selected it simply because they knew I'd be enticed by it for its cooler tones in what has been a rather sweaty week. The colors aside, tho, the character is fun, even if he looks sad, and the general milieu behind him creates a great backdrop (I really like how some of the ornamentation seems to fade into the splotchy background). But what I find most noteworthy about this design is how it is far and away from what any other shirt company would award a prize as big as the one this won... it is rare that most would award this any prize resulting in a print. So I don't know if there's something in the water of the voter base at this new site, or if their aesthetic is simply more accepting of less popular quirk, but this really gets me excited about the site's future... it could well become a site that truly goes for underdogs with amazing designs. Because this is definitely a solid design that I can't imagine getting similar attention elsewhere. Interested in it? Snag it now before it hits regular price, and show the new guys that you're loving what they're doing. Because if this is a strong indication of the path the site wishes to take (as well as the second place print by the always awesome a.mar.illo), there may finally be a tee savior for the hidden and ignored gems.