When people relate to your brand in some way, they form a stronger emotional connection. A T-shirt is one way to establish your brand further and enhance your overall marketing efforts. Not only will the person wearing the T-shirt feel more connected to your company, but when others ask about the shirt, they will also feel a connection, as that person is likely to be more passionate about sharing your message.
Have you ever heard of Single Grain? If so, it is likely due to the thousands of T-shirts the company’s founder gave away, purely for marketing purposes. He estimates the attention it brought him, and the chance to strike up business conversations, earned him about $500,000, far surpassing the cost of buying the tees in the first place.
Putting your company’s logo or message on a T-shirt is a great way to reach out to potential customers and get attention. However, there is more to the process than just slapping your logo on a shirt and ordering them. There are several elements you’ll need to consider in the overall design of your promotional tee.
1. Logo or Slogan
The first thing you have to decide is whether you want to use your company logo or create a slogan that relates to your brand. Think about some of the famous advertising slogans that relate strongly to a brand’s image or purpose.
“Got Milk?” and “Just Do It” both send a message that ties perfectly into the purpose of each product. Choose a slogan that defines your brand, and figure out how to tie it in with your company name, logo or even web address, so when people see the slogan, they know exactly what the purpose of that slogan is.
Alternately, you can simply use your company logo. Before you choose to do this, make sure that the logo defines your brand in the way you’d like. If not, you may want to rework your logo before creating a T-shirt design.
Above is one of Nike’s “Just Do It” T-shirts. One reason Nike does really well with their branding is consistency. You immediately know who made this shirt and what the brand stands for.
2. Placement of Logo
Where you place a logo on a T-shirt can make a huge difference as well. Place it in the wrong spot on a woman’s tee, and her breasts might stretch it beyond recognition, or it might land awkwardly. Take all these factors into account. Consider a higher placement or putting the logo/slogan on the back of the T-shirt instead.
Speaking of the back of a T-shirt, it’s important to decide whether you want something on both the front and the back of the shirt. Most companies that produce promotional tees provide interactive software. You’ll be able to upload your design and see how it looks in different colors and with different placements.
If you choose a company that doesn’t offer this service, order some sample tees from them, print out your logo and place it in different locations until you find the one you like best. You might even want to pin it on the shirt and ask a few different people wear it to see how the folds lay on different body types.
The weight of the material you use can make a difference. Materials have gotten lighter in some instances, and customers may think the shirt is cheap and not value it as much. This just isn’t the case, though, with today’s materials.
In the past, basic tees were made with 18-single yarn, while today’s shirts are made with 30-plus-single yarn today. In the garment industry, the term “singles” refers to the thread weight. A higher number means a softer, finer shirt.
Many people still favor a heavyweight cotton, but you don’t have to be afraid of a lighter weight shirt these days. Instead, choose the material that works best for your purposes. If most of your customers live in a cooler climate, then by all means, use a heavier-weight material for your promotional tees.
4. T-Shirt Color
Another thing you have to decide when designing a T-shirt with your company’s logo is what color T-shirt you would like to order. You can also choose multiple colors if you want to create some diversity in the designs.
Some things to keep in mind when choosing a color include how that color will look against your logo. It’s a smart idea to stay within your brand’s color palette so you’re using the same branding across all your promotional items.
Take a look at Hard Rock Café’s T-shirt design. They use a basic white tee and then place their typical logo and colors on the front of the shirt. By going with a neutral color, they don’t have to worry about anything clashing or having to change the original colors in their logo. This makes the brand easily recognizable.
5. Be Unique
The true marketing power of a promotional item is that it can start a conversation about your brand. Those who wear your shirts are like walking brand ambassadors. The perfect design, therefore, is one that speaks to your current customer base. If you are a green energy company, what do your customers most care about? If you sell cupcakes, how can you get your message out in an interesting way that speaks to your typical clientele?
Thinking through how to stand out from the competition, whether through your logo, a slogan or by some other means, is just one part of the T-shirt design equation.
Designing the perfect T-shirt doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. You have to put time and thought into how the design represents your brand. Once you come up with a few concepts, get feedback from your employees and marketing gurus. Then, print just a few samples to give to your top customers, family and friends and see how they go over. If these are a success, you can easily print them in bulk and give them out by the hundreds.