You’ve got the office. You’ve got the website. You even have the legal docs. But everybody knows that you’re not a real company until you have your own company t-shirt.
In this blog post, we’ll go through each step of the process, from brainstorming ideas to printing your shirt. No matter how much (or how little) experience you have, here’s everything you need to know.
DESIGNING A BUSINESS T-SHIRT IN 8 STEPS:
- WHY DO YOU NEED A T-SHIRT?
Promotional business t-shirts are something you give away for free to keep your brand in the minds of prospective clients and customers.
This makes everyone wearing your t-shirt a walking advertisement. On enough people, your t-shirts could generate buzz and create first impression of your brand, especially when coupled with a powerful image.
For meetings with potential clients, investors or partners, a company t-shirt is the perfect souvenir to remind them later how great you are.
A picture is worth a thousand words, which makes business t-shirts the perfect elevator pitch. Through strategic visuals and only a handful of text, a solid t-shirt design tells the world what your brand has to offer.
Like uniforms except more fun, company t-shirts help build a sense of community among workers within a company… and that goes double if they give input on what it looks like.
Whether you’re organizing a public promotional event or an internal retreat, event t-shirts generate team spirit and act as a nice memento to keep you fresh in prospective partners’ minds.
- DEFINE YOUR BUDGET, QUANTITY AND TIMELINE
How many do you need?
The amount of shirts you need directly affects the best printing method to choose. Somecater specifically to large bulk orders, while others have a high per-unit cost, limiting them to smaller numbers unless you have a big budget.
How much can you spend?
A bigger budget means more than just more shirts. If you want to print more detailed images with more colours, that will cost more. Want softer shirts or maybe a V-neck? Increase that budget. Think about dollars early so you can find your perfect balance between all of your creative options and the number of t-shirts you need.
When do you need the shirts?
Designing takes time. Printing does too, and different methods have different production turnaround times. Set flexible deadlines that give you time to develop a design and collaborate with your printer. Get these specifics down; you’ll have everything you need to determine the right t-shirt printing method.
- WHAT ARE YOUR PRINTING OPTIONS?
Here are two of the most effective t-shirt printing methods and the best times to use each.
The most affordable option for large orders, screen printing is the standard route for t-shirt printing. In this process, an individual screen is created for each colour in your design, then printed one atop the other.
Pros: Reliable standard for printing. Affordable and high quality. Ideal for large orders over 20.
Cons: New screen required for every new colour or design revision (which gets costly). Colourful designs end up being expensive.
Vinyl graphics are a form of heated transfer. Vinyl is durable, helping your shirts last longer and safeguarding against fading images, and it also add mores texture to your t-shirts.
Pros: Extremely durable and high quality. Ideal for when you want your design to stand out (literally).
Cons: Additional colours cost more, so complicated designs get expensive. Not great for large orders.
- BRAINSTORM YOUR DESIGN CONCEPT
Business t-shirt design isn’t just about knowing what ideas to communicate, but how to communicate them effectively.
If you haven’t already, you need to decide what style of t-shirt to use: crew neck, V-neck, long-sleeved, short-sleeved, crop tops, polo, and many others. Choose a style that complements your message, and then take advantage of what that style has to offer.
Style and imagery
- What is your brand?
- Who is your market?
- Why are you designing a shirt in the first place?
Put all of that together, and you’re ready to start creating your business t-shirt.
Like colours, your fonts, styles, and text sizes all influence how your brand is perceived. One important note for t-shirt typography is to keep readability in mind. Using an elaborate font may make the shirt more visually stunning, but if words become illegible, what you gain isn’t worth what you lost. Just remember that if you want passerbys to read the words on your shirts in just a moment or two, prioritize legibility first, appearance second.
- DESIGNING YOUR T-SHIRT
Got design skills? Get crackin’! If you don’t, don’t worry. Our in-house designers offer free artwork and design with every order placed with us.
The DIY route
Hands-on people will prefer to design their business t-shirt themselves. The most notable advantage of the DIY approach: the price. Professionals cost money, doing it yourself does not. You also get the element of control, so can bring your vision to life (as long as you have confidence in your artistic ability).
Hiring a pro
Your other option is to outsource the work to a specialist, drawing on their professional know-how.
Tell them your vision. Send them your design ideas, messaging, and information about your intended audience. Include details about colours, logos, visual style, t-shirt type and printing specifications. Send them images of designs that match the style you’re looking for. Make sure they have everything they need to give you the perfect t-shirt design.
6. EVALUATE YOUR DESIGN
Whichever route you take, you’ll evaluate the final design before taking it to the printers. It may even help to do multiple versions so that you can select your favourite when viewing them side-by-side.
Consider more than just the visuals. This is a business endeavour so your final design should meet all your business goals. Does it fit your budget? Can it be used on different sizes or types of shirts? Is the branding on point?
- RECEIVING THE CORRECT FILES FROM YOUR DESIGNER
Your business t-shirt design is complete. Bam! Now check with your printer so you can make sure to get the right files from your designer.
You probably need:
- Your t-shirt design in vector format. This will probably be an Adobe Illustrator (AI), PDF, or EPS file. Get one for each different t-shirt design you’re creating.
- Colour codes. For custom colours, make sure you have the Pantone or CMYK colour codes so that everything turns out looking like you want. Ask your printer for details.
- PRINTING YOUR T-SHIRT
A business t-shirt may not be as revolutionary as a hot Twitter account when it comes to marketing, but the principle is the same: exposure in tiny doses adds up. T-shirts are personal and can be styled however you like, that makes them an effective (and fun!) way to get your company name out there.