Ten ways to take a promo t-shirt to the next level

Posted on: July 1, 2011 by in Gorilla Blog, Ideas, Product
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T-shirts printed with your logo, brand, image, or message are among the most popular items in the promotional products industry. Apparel makes up over 30 percent of our business every year, and it’s easy to see why. This wardrobe classic is simple and affordable.

There’s a downside to the printed tee’s popularity, however. Your clients have probably received countless promotional t-shirts over the years, and many of those shirts end up packed away or tossed out. Only a select few have enough appeal to be worn again and again. And that’s what it’s all about, right? The more the t-shirt is worn, the more your logo is seen, and that means a boost to your three favorite letters: ROI. Not to mention the goodwill you inspire when you give something that people really love.

At Gorilla Marketing, we like to say “Friends don’t let friends buy crappy promo tees.” Let us guide you to t-shirt success with these ten tips for taking your promotional tee to the next level.

1. Brand: Familiar brands inspire trust and confidence. Sure, a brand name costs more, but the person receiving the shirt knows that and therefore perceives it as a more valuable item. Just make sure the brand you’re choosing has a good reputation with your target audience. All it takes is one recall or corporate scandal to turn consumers against a brand – and against anyone who gives that brand as a gift.

A baby jersey v-neck with a feminine cut is a fashion-forward frame for your logo.

A baby jersey v-neck with a feminine cut is a fashion-forward frame for your logo.

2. Silhouette & Fabric: T-shirts are so-named because they look like the letter T when laid flat. The boxy short-sleeve crewneck jersey shirt is iconic, but there are other options. Choose a v-neck, go sleeveless, select a sheer fabric, look for something ultra-soft, or play with texture with a burnout or rib. A fashionable shirt has a higher perceived value and will be worn more often, particularly among trendy teens and twenty-somethings. It will also help your shirt stand out.

3. Features: Add value to your tee with features for comfort and performance. Tagless shirts eliminate the dreaded itchy neck, and seamless shirts feel as smooth as a summer breeze. Moisture-wicking fabrics keep you cool and dry on the hottest days.

4. Source: Cotton is cotton and tees are tees, right? Not anymore. Consumers want to know what products are made of and how they were manufactured. Organic cotton helps safeguard the environment, and can be blended with recycled plastic that used to be a water bottle. Also, many companies have a special commitment to corporate responsibility, with exceptional labor policies and sustainable practices. And there’s always shirts made in the good ol’ US of A. Choose a tee with a story and share that story when you give the shirt.

5. Color: For the shirt itself, go beyond black and white. Color communicates mood, theme, and style. There are also color effects like enzyme washes and garment dyeing. For the design, a 1-color imprint is a bargain, but adding more color can improve the look exponentially. You can stick with the colors your brand is traditionally associated with or follow the latest trends. Visit Colour Lovers for palette ideas, or just keep your eyes peeled at the mall.

6. Design: It’s easy to slap your standard logo on a shirt, but creativity gets results. Want to make a graphic designer’s day? Give them the freedom to come up with something fresh and trendy. You don’t have to reinvent your brand, but you can add something extra or make some minor tweaks for a big effect. For tracking the latest graphic tee design trends, we recommend the Pop Culture Tees blog, the TeeHunter blog, and online retailersBustedTees and Threadless.

This design uses halftones and trendy font and art elements.

This design uses halftones and trendy font and art elements.

7. Placement: When it comes to logo location, think outside the chest. Place your design in an unexpected spot: on the sleeve, along the hem, at the nape of the neck, or diagonally oriented across the back. Many screenprinters can do oversize printing, going right over the seams for a larger-than-life look. And when you print in multiple locations on a shirt, you make sure your message will be seen from all angles.

8. Decoration Method: Standard screenprinting is just the beginning. Make your t-shirt stand out with flocking, foil, rhinestones, studs, and appliqués. New glow-in-the-dark inks let you create multicolored images that remain visible when the lights go out. Dye sublimation printing is a great choice for full-color graphics. Your imagination is the only limit!

9. Humor: Graphic tees are seriously big business, but many of the best-selling styles are just for laughs. Crack a joke on your shirt and your brand gets instant cool points. Humor should be deployed strategically, of course; an off-color joke won’t play well with a family-oriented audience, and edgy wit can rub some folks the wrong way. Run your ideas past a wide variety of people before putting ink to fabric.

10. Presentation: You put time, effort, and resources into creating an exceptional t-shirt. Why would you just pull those hot shirts out of a brown cardboard box? Creative presentation turns a gift into an experience. Compressed shirts are a fun, surprising option. Stuff a shirt into a tumbler or mug for a 2-in-1 gift. Or wrap a stylish shirt in a rich ribbon to make the classic tee seem classy.

With these tips in your repertoire, we know you’re ready to launch a graphic tee revolution. Need help making your creative vision a reality? Contact us today!

Gorilla Marketing · 4100 Flat Rock Drive #A · Riverside, CA 92505-5866
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