How to design a promotional t-shirt

promotional t shirt

So you’ve started a business, hired people, built your website, created all your social media accounts and even got an office pet but you’re not really a business until you’ve got your own t-shirts

Well, not quite – we jest a little – but creating your own branded promotional t-shirts is one of the most important ways to communicate your brand and business to an audience that may need to discover you or see who you are at trade events and so on. 

So how do you go about designing your own promotional t-shirt and why is it important, we will look at this in our latest blog. 

A brief history of promotional t-shirts 

Promotional t-shirts became a popular marketing tool in the 1950s when Walt Disney and a slew of other local businesses in the area at the time could see the impact of visual advertising as held by people wearing t-shirts. 

Since then, businesses have been experimenting with designs to showcase their brand identity and even build up a social media following from some of the most incredible designs. 

Why do you need a promotional t-shirt?

The first place to start would be to ask the question, why do you need a promotional t-shirt? For some it’s about unifying the colleague experience, for others it’s a way to showcase the business at exhibitions or events. The t-shirts could also be something that you give away to potential customers or those just visiting your exhibition stand. 

Overall, this is about enhancing brand awareness and visibility, especially when you’re reaching out to new customers or maintaining relationships with your current ones. 

Put together a brief 

So when it comes to getting a design for your t-shirt you want to put together a design brief. This is where many people can start to go a little skew if but it’s more simple that many make it out to be. 

Here are the things you need to consider in a design brief; 

  • What is the purpose of the t-shirt? 
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What do I want to communicate? 
  • Where will it be “preferably” worn? 
  • What is the end goal of wearing/giving them away?

Once you can start answering those questions, then you can move on to brand imagery and text. 

Build your brand guidelines

You may have already done a lot of this with your website, but if you’re new to this you want to look at a few key brand areas; 

  • What is your colour palette? 
  • What kinds of fonts are you already associating with your business?
  • Are you using logos? 

Now, if you’re creating one off, eye catching pieces you may wish to abandon any current design schemes, but on the whole, you may choose to align your t-shirt design with at least some sort of colour palette or font so that your business branding is instantly recognisable. 

Put together your concept

So once you have answered the important questions, you want to put together your whole concept to achieve the look and feel that you desire. 

This is where sitting down, hand sketching or using design packages will help greatly. You can use free software link Canva for example to mock your design concept onto a t-shirt. 

Finally, print. 

Once you have gone through all the steps of answering a design brief and understanding what you really want to achieve, you will need to go to print.

Be sure to get approval on the design and that you choose a t shirt printing solution that is best for the final outcome of the product as well. 

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