Custom t shirts come in a wide array of designs, colors and branding types, and in this article, we’re going to break down the types of custom shirts in the market today, and share with you some design tips near the end.
- Solo custom shirts – Solo custom shirts are just how they’re named – for personal use and self-branding. These can be designed with both graphics and text, and can be used for just about any occasion and branding purpose.
If you’re planning to buy a shirt for yourself, just focus on what interests you and makes you happy while looking for a design.
Remember: you can select a design from a pre-made design database, or you can upload your own design. Your own design can be a pre-made one taken elsewhere, or digital art that you created yourself. Either way, you’re going to have full control of the design.
- Hoodies – Though not exactly shirts, hoodies are sold along with regular shirts by custom print shops online, as they are really popular with teenagers and adults.
Hoodie printing is slightly different from shirt printing because of the material, but you will still have the exact same artistic freedom when buying a custom hoodie.
Most folks opt for single-color designs (logo plus text). Hoodies, like custom shirts, can be used by one person or can be printed on as promotional material for events, groups, causes, etc.
The great thing about giving away shirts and hoodies as a promotional material is when you put your branding on them, people are going to advertise for you when they wear the shirts. Local advertising is really simple if you think about it, and when you use the right promotional items.
- Long-sleeved shirts – A really versatile type of shirt, long-sleeved shirts can be used for daily casual wear, in certain environments and workplaces, and as giveaways to promote certain brands. The material used for long-sleeved shirts are the same as regular shirts.
Place the logo of your company or business at the back or in front, dead center, and you have the perfect branding machine at your disposal.
This type of shirt isn’t expensive at all and you will get better pricing when you buy in bulk. So if mugs, pens, and umbrellas don’t sound like good choices for a marketing promotion you’re running, go for long-sleeved shirts to add a unique spin to it.
- For the promotion of products/services – If you are designing a shirt for the promotion of a service or product, the main logo shouldn’t be too large. People are mostly fine with wearing shirts with some text on them, but there’s too much of that too, they wouldn’t want to wear it. Why? Because no one likes walking around looking like an advertisement. For the most part, the advertising has to be there, but unobtrusive and the logo placement and text placement still need to be aesthetically pleasing.
- For causes/charity/nonprofits – Designing for nonprofit is easier, because everyone likes humanitarian causes and other similar endeavors that do good. Expect people to warm up to designs that promote positive causes.
Our advice would be to keep the message clear but succinct, and memorable, too. The idea is to get people interested in the cause that you are promoting, so much so that they will look for information online as to how they can actually join or contribute to the cause.
So whatever design you put on the shirt needs to evoke a positive emotional response on people who will see the design. The message has to be “universal” too.
What do we mean by a universal message?
A message is deemed universal when it can be understood easily by a large spectrum of people, regardless of age, and the context is not lost to them, either. Context is really important when you are promoting any kind of cause. So in a nutshell: keep the message short, clear, and universally appealing.
- Making your design stand out – When you are designing shirts for the first time, there is a general tendency to throw everything at it, ‘including the kitchen sink.’ However, experience tells us that the opposite is actually better – that when you keep things simpler and clearer, you get the point across much more quickly.
What people notice in shirt designs is how the graphic art and textual content combine. There has to be a high degree of connectedness between the art and the text. For example, a shirt design that says “I Get Lucky!” can be combined with a large image of a four-leafed clover. You have to get the cultural references just right in order for a message to work perfectly.
The same applies when you’re trying to be humorous with your design. Here’s another example: the text “Got Beer?” and a few frogs sitting on a lotus pad at night. This design would be referring to the classic Budweiser TV ad where frogs sang “Bud,” “Weiss,” “Er” while reading a neon banner for the beer brand.
Does a shirt design necessarily have to reflect the most recent takes on humor? Not necessarily. If you are not comfortable say, with using memes, then don’t. The design has to look good to you, and you have to be comfortable wearing it yourself before you can say that it’s a good design.
The best custom shirts are the ones that tell a story, or proclaim something that is out of the ordinary. Shirts are natural talking points, and it’s natural for people too, to scrutinize whatever is printed on your shirt.
But don’t be stressed out; with literally thousands of pre-made designs on the Web at any one time, you’re not going to run out of inspiration, ideas, or templates to work with. So just think long and hard of what you want to see on the shirt and hit the return button on your keyboard and start searching for that perfect logo or design!