You have a promotional t-shirt on your to-do list, along with the countless other tasks that accompany the event/trade show/company picnic you’re planning. It’s easy to throw your EPS logo over to the screenprinter and ask for a single size run of the cheapest, scratchiest shirt on the menu. Why not, right? People have to wear them.
What if, instead, you made a shirt people are desperate to wear.
Take for example Supreme, a mid-price streetwear line that has inadvertently fueled a black market by releasing limited-edition designs each season, which enterprising Gen Z’ers buy and flip for a three-fold profit.
Unlike the Supreme tee, which will be the subject of so many selfies, the t-shirts that companies invest in to outfit staff at trade shows or offer up as promotional items won’t ever end up worn again, let alone taking up priority space in the top dresser drawer.
You’ve made enough of those disposable shirts in your career. It’s time for a change. Be strategic when you make your next t-shirt and turn that free tee into something they’ll want to wear again — and not just on laundry day. Consider these three factors when sourcing t-shirts to ensure a longer shelf life: fit, comfort and design.
Identify the Ideal Fit
Every wardrobe stylist worth their weight in double-stick tape will tell you that fit is fundamental. So rethink the one-size-fits-all buying strategy and order a range to suit both men and women in a variety of sizes.
The ideal fit for a t-shirt should be slim and it should lightly hug the body. Despite common misconceptions that in order to conceal curves you should wear oversized clothes, the opposite is true and the right fit makes a t-shirt go from disheveled to polished. Also, consider different necklines; a v-neck does wonders to elongate a shorter frame whereas crewnecks can camouflage a long neck. Crew necks are also great for layering so employees can get extra mileage out of them once sweater season hits.
Your Free Tee Can Be Business Casual
Business casual is now de rigueur as companies finally realized that comfy employees make happy workers. So if t-shirts are part of your dress code, give your staff the gift of comfort (and productivity) and choose ones that are quality, 100 percent organic cotton or a soft cotton blend.
Cotton is a popular choice due to its breathability, durability and ability to wash and wear, but innovations in textile sourcing and manufacturing coupled with Allmade’s commitment to environmentally friendly t-shirts led to the creation of a superior shirt — made by screen printers for screen printers — that is ideal for printing and even better when it comes to softness and wearability.
The Allmade tri-blend tee is made of organic, non-GMO cotton, recycled poly (each shirt contains the equivalent of 6 plastic water bottles!) and TENCEL™ Modal, an ultra soft fiber that is made from sustainably harvested Beech trees. We bet it’s the best-feeling, best-designed, and most environmentally friendly t-shirt in the business.
Simple Is Significant
Don Draper, albeit a fictional design deity, proclaimed: “Make it simple, but significant.” His philosophy is one that companies should heed when designing promotional t-shirts if they want them to last outside the tradeshow floor. Some promo tees are making headlines in news roundups from festivals like SXSW where listicles highlight the top t-shirts seen on site...and lampoon the worst.
The common thread in all of the best-dressed lists? Quality design. Keep in mind that good design isn’t limited to a well-executed logo, but can be a clever slogan or phrase or a graphic pattern that integrates brand elements. Don’t be afraid to incorporate messaging on the front that continues onto the back of a t-shirt. Choose t-shirt colors that complement your graphic palette or opt for monochromatic with multiple shades of a singular hue. You may be tempted to go for brights to stand out in a crowd, but those colors aren’t flattering on most skin tones. Remember, the best and most impactful designs are ones that spark a conversation or make bystanders take a second look.
With a bit of planning and thought, your promotional t-shirt could get tagged #OOTD, or at the very least, it won’t wind up in the donation bin. By sourcing t-shirts that are comfortable with a contemporary fit, and investing in thoughtful design, you’ll be one step closer to creating a t-shirt that lands that coveted spot in the top drawer.