White and Black Blank T-Shirts

Everyone loves free stuff. Everyone. Show up at a large event with 500 free T-shirts, and you’re bound to find plenty of takers.

But the measure of a good promotional T-shirt isn’t how many you can give away – it’s how often all those people will wear the shirt long after your event is over.

Brand Awareness is the Ultimate Goal

The purpose of the promo shirt is to create brand awareness and extend your marketing. It’s advertising, plain and simple. Done properly, one shirt can deliver tens of thousands of impressions. Done poorly, it will get stuck in a drawer or the trash bin – a waste of your investment.

While cost is often a primary concern when selecting custom T-shirts, going too cheap can often result in a disposable shirt that has little brand value and provides very little ROI. A wearable shirt doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be desirable.

So how do you make promo shirts people will actual wear? Consider these factors before investing in your company’s next T-shirt giveaway.

1.  Fabric. Fabric is the number one consideration in a good shirt. Whether it’s 100 percent cotton or a polyester blend, choose the softest fabric available in your price range. No one wants to wear a stiff or scratchy shirt.

2.  Style. The boxy short-sleeve crewneck jersey shirt is iconic, but it is also unflattering on many body types. Fashionable shirts have a higher perceived value and are much more likely to garner repeat wears. Women, in particular, prefer fitted tees over the dreaded “unisex” options. If fitted is too expensive for your budget, strongly consider V-neck styles over crew for women and having separate shirts for men and women.

3.  Color. If you want your shirt to stand out, look beyond basic white. Color is as much a fashion consideration as cut, and colored tees get worn much more often than white. White shows more dirt, doesn’t look good when wet, and shows more wear. Consider black, brown or grey if you want to stay neutral, or use the colors from you logo to expand brand recognition.

4.  Simplicity. Keep it simple. Seriously — no one wants a T-shirt with 25 logos on it or with an abundance of unreadable text. If you need to incorporate multiple sponsor logos for an event, keep them to a minimum (five max) and consider placing them along the bottom of the shirt or on the sleeves.

5.  Design. Creativity gets results. While a crisp, clean logo is standard on promo T-shirts, use this as an opportunity to try something new. You want your shirt to be noticed, and a good graphic designer can help you achieve that goal.

Next time you consider T-shirts to promote your brand, make sure you take the time to select one that’s worthy of wearing week after week — and getting your brand in front of thousands and thousands of more eyes.