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Your guide to conscious Christmas shopping in London.

Christmas is a time for giving, but with Brits feeling the pinch this year, many of us are taking steps to celebrate a little more consciously. In fact, up to 60% of Brits are expecting to spend less on shopping this holiday season¹, but that doesn’t mean that the environment isn’t on the nation’s mind. 1 in 3 (34%) still intend to buy second-hand this Christmas², because shopping sustainably isn’t just good for your wallet- it can be great for the environment too. 

If you’re planning on having a more conscious Christmas but are unsure where to shop- this reimagined London tube map with 50 of the best independent, sustainably minded and second-hand stores is all you need to plan your spree accordingly.

Whether you are looking for some unique homeware, homemade dog treats or even plant-based beauty products- whoever you are shopping for, you can be sure to find a gift from one of these stores that is both kind to you and your planet. 

ICON Printing, a London-based t-shirt printing company believes that sustainability requires an integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development. Therefore, their sustainable shopping map features 50 destinations including independent retailers, businesses and stores with strong environmentally friendly credentials. They have ensured that each business works in a socially responsible manner, so whoever you’re shopping for, you can be sure to find a gift that’s good for them and the environment.

Second-hand

This Christmas, it’s vital that shoppers can find affordable locations to buy gifts which is why we’ve included some of the best second-hand shopping destinations in London on our map. Buying preloved items is a great way to reduce the amount you’re spending whilst doing your bit for the environment too. 

Atika

The Old Cinema

Beyond Retro

Rokit

East End Thrift Store

Boutique by Shelter

Traid

FARA

Vintique

Fashion

By avoiding fast fashion and investing in select, quality brands, we can minimize our effect on both people and the planet.  Browse some of the world’s best independent and sustainable sourced brands at the below boutiques to find a gift for the stylish individuals in your life. 

Aida

69b Boutique

The Third Estate

Beulah London

Couverture and The Garbstore

Bottletop

Wolf & Badger

Pop London

Beauty

What we choose to put on our skin is as important as where we buy the products from. Treat your loved ones to some skincare from one of the below retailers who prioritise working responsibly with suppliers. 

Fresh

Blomma Beauty

Food

What is Christmas without great food and drinks? There is no better time of year to support your local independent delis and grocers who stock all the delicious British produce and artisan goodies.

Lina Stores 

Eat 17

Giddy Grocer

Honey and Spice Deli

Melrose and Morgan

General Store

Terroni 

Italo

The Larder

Panzers

Homeware

From candles to plants, books to antiques, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the unique gems and one-off pieces available at these homeware stores.

BYO 

Cissy Wears

Labour and Wait

Mooch London

Earl of East

Prick

Cuemars

Kids

Whilst Christmas is a magical time of year for all, it is the kids that will be most excited about the prospect of Santa arriving. Fill their stockings with sustainably sourced kids’ clothes, books and toys from these independent retailers.

A Small Triangle

Baby Mori

Pickled Pepper Books

Caramel

Luna and Curious

Markets

You’ll be able to find gifts for even the hardest-to-buy recipients at one of London’s many markets. The following are some of the best, stocking an array of handmade, British-sourced items. 

Pebbles Sustainable Market

Old Spitalfields Market

Eccleston Yards

Vinegar Yard

Greenwich Market

Brick Lane Market

Alfies Antiques

Broadway Market

Pets

Even pooches deserve to be spoiled at Christmas; however, rather than shopping at larger retailers, it is possible to source items from independent businesses that are more conscious about where the ingredients come from.

Pack and Clowder

 Alex Econs, founder and CEO of ICON Printing said: “Christmas shopping presents an invaluable opportunity to support local, independent businesses and potentially save money too. We’re proud to showcase some of the best sustainable businesses that London has to offer.

“At ICON Printing, we work with a number of independent businesses and we think it is incredibly important to encourage people to support them, especially during a time when the cost of living crisis is putting so much pressure on local high streets.”
ICON Printing offers fast-turnaround printing on a range of garments including custom t-shirts hoodies and tote bags- counting numerous independent businesses amongst their customers. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.

Sources 

1 https://yougov.co.uk/topics/consumer/articles-reports/2022/10/20/60-britons-expect-spend-less-christmas-because-ris 

2 https://business.yougov.com/content/43973-uk-inflation-hit-christmas-shopping-poll

If you find yourself struggling with your business outreach, tirelessly strolling through Canva for the ultimate job-landing resumé template or simply want to keep up with what’s trending in design, this one’s for you. 

After our exploration on the power of colour, typography is equally, if not more important to your brand and business identity; influencing the way we feel, how we perceive the brand and the “personality” we associate it with. This explains why when we view serif typefaces, it tends to feel more traditional; with a formal tone, and is used in a business’ branding to say “I’m trustworthy and reliable.” In contrast, sans-serif typefaces tend to project a more easy-going aura with a friendlier tone, announcing “it’s all fun and games over here!” 

Let’s start with the basics.

Though often used interchangeably, “font” and “typeface” do not mean the same thing and can have a lasting impact based on the one(s) you choose. A typeface refers to a type design; or the manner in which lettering is composed, and includes all variations of that design. For example, the popularly seen Helvetica is a famous typeface and a favourite amongst luxury fashion houses. Fonts, however, refer to the variations possible with a typeface. For example, Helvetica Bold, Helvetica Thin or Helvetica 10 pt, referring to the text size, are three different fonts. 

Generally, typefaces are characterised into two groups – serif or sans-serif. Serif typefaces are demonstrated with the delicate and strict strokes at the end of the letters, i.e.Times New Roman. Whereas sans-serif typefaces, as the name implies: “sans” meaning “a general absence,” are fonts without serifs, such as Arial. 

Why it’s important to get it right. 

In a study conducted on the readability of typefaces published by Dogusoy, Cicek and  Cagiltay, found that overall sans-serif typefaces had improved legibility, aka readability by participants and were therefore easier to understand. However, within the same study, experts discovered that serif typefaces had higher retention rates; participants tended to focus on these for a longer period of time and when questioned, had improved memory about the text they were proof-reading. Conversely, a paper published in The Design Journal took it a step further and studied type outside the traditional use of serif and sans-serif, discovering the positive cognitive effects of using disfluent typography, finding that harder to read typefaces can improve learning conditions. Interesting, no? 

Start by reflecting into your own brand or business’ typeface and see if it’s in-line with your aspiring brand identity and message. Here at ICON, we use a sans-serif typeface of choice that accurately represents our brand’s identity; youthful, friendly and inclusive, with a hint of formality. 

Here’s a compiled list of our favourite most successfully used typefaces:

Futura

If it’s good enough to be on a plaque on the moon, it’s good enough for us. Invented by German author and designer Paul Renner in 1927, the sans-serif Futura typeface quickly grew to be the most influential typeface of the 20th century. The retro-futuristic type has been used across industries, most notably film and media, and is the go-to typeface for advertising. 

Baskerville 

Designed by John Baskerville in the 1750s, the Baskerville serif typeface exudes elegance with a hint of mystery. Rightly so, as according to user interface expert Bishop, this typeface is “excellent for book design — and it is considered to be a true representation of eighteenth-century rationalism and neoclassicism.” 

Helvetica 

Created in 1957 by designers Mac Meidinger and Eduard Hoffman, this sans-serif typeface is the most widely used typeface across industries, and with good reason. Helvetica’s versatility and minimalism make it the ultimate typeface for easy to read documents, customised branding and merchandise, and in the opinion of Yang; CEO of the world’s leading resume company, a typeface that will make your job application stand out. 

If you’re looking to increase your reach through personalised merchandise and don’t know where to begin with design, contact us by clicking the link and our team of experts will help take you from idea to product in less than 14 days!

If you’re an influencer in the Gaming space struggling to widen your reach and strengthen your fan base, this one’s for you. 

Today, 2.8 Billion people make up one of the largest communities in the world — Gamers. With one in three people worldwide engaging in playing video games on a weekly basis; a number continuously growing as you’re reading this, the gaming industry has experienced a boom like no other, with a projected market value of $300 Billion by 2025. This surge of players online has created a new opportunity for gaming enthusiasts; to quit their day jobs and generate full-time incomes as Gaming Influencers; Streamers, Pro-level gamers, E-sport players and more. 

With a cult following built on platforms like Twitch, Discord and Youtube Gaming, Influencers in the industry have marked their territories online by accumulating an impressive fanbase. Gamer turned Youtuber PewDiePie is the most subscribed to person on Youtube till date, with a monumental 111 million watchers. What keeps the gamer audience growing? According to a study published in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research: fan-themed custom apparel. 

Personalised merchandise has been named the holy grail community engagement tool across the entertainment industry. In a growing yet saturated space for upcoming Gaming Talent, the ultimate method to differentiate a brand and nourish an online audience is through the launch of high quality, limited quantity individualised gear.

Ex-pro-level player now Twitch sensation; Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, was amongst the first gamers to launch a collaborative collection for his impressive 13 million Twitch streamers with Adidas, selling out within minutes. Back by popular demand, Ninja’s second personalised merchandise collection with Adidas Originals launching in October of this year: Chase the Spark, has already gained significant popularity amongst his fans and is projected to sell out even faster. Similarly, E-sports expert Juggernaut, whose team worked with Gucci on the release of a limited edition watch; priced at $1,620, sold out entirely and is amongst one of the most sought after pieces for E-sport aficionados. 

Image Credit: Adidas. In Image, The infamous Adidas Donovan Mitchell x Ninja Hoodie

The performance of these collections is nothing short of magic, and is reinforced by the fascinating concept of simplified consumer psychology. With it’s foundations in signalling theory, a notion developed by Economist Micheal Spence, members of an audience are likely to feel “more connected to a product, an organisation and one another through explicit association or signals” such as wearing merchandise belonging to a certain game, gaming community and influencer fan base. 

This enclothed cognition; a term used to describe “the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes” studied by Hajo Adam and Adam D.Galinsky in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, found similar findings. Those who wore attire which is closely associated within the nature of a particular activity, such as wearing lab coats to perform tasks commonly associated with attentiveness and carefulness, found an increase in selective and sustained attention spans in their trial subjects. With gamers evolving to now break stereotypes of gamer attire and “what a gamer should look like,” fan-themed customised apparel bridges the gap between the creator and their online community like never before. 

At ICON, we’ve worked with forward-thinking brands and creators alike, to create bespoke, sustainability driven, custom made apparel that lasts for the people we value the most: our community. 

Keen to get your first collection of personalised merchandise underway?  Click here for an instant quote or contact our team for a more in-depth review into how we can take you from design to delivery in less than 14 days!

Creative insecurity is the leading cause for artist burnout. Feeling uninspired, lost for motivation and overwhelmed with stimuli are increasingly common in any artist’s journey, and make the desire to create even more daunting. With the help of new digital tools on the market, we’ve taken the liberty to break down our 5 best-loved apps to guide your creativity when you’ve reached a stagnation in your inspiration. 

Get organised: Mindly

Life happens, and without an outlet to release overthinking thoughts, anxieties and your daily to-do lists, the space to create can never flourish. Enter Mindly – a new organisation system that helps place all your thoughts and project ideas in one place, differentiated by association to keep “your inner universe” as mindful as possible. By building visual mind-maps and hierarchical structures of your entries, Mindly mimics the outline of your “solar system of thought” and is a great starter tool when identifying where those creativity gaps lie. An outstanding user interface and experience for both Apple and Android users, this app is a must have to help get organised and get your creative juices flowing.

Get focused: Brain.fm

The relationship between music and creative cognition is nothing short of astonishing. A 2020 study published in the Psychology of Music journal found that listening to music not only improves divergent thinking; the way the mind generates ideas beyond proscribed expectations but also increases the release of dopamine, a chemical which drives motivation to explore new territories, in turn boosting creativity. Brain.fm does just this – a research backed platform that customises music and background sound to enhance productivity and creativity with a key focus on guiding your brain to it’s desired mental state. Ideal for users on IOS and Google Play, with a variety of options to explore what works best for you.

Get inspired: Behance

Austin Kleon’s Steal like an Artist dissects the unspoken rules of being a creative, with the first rule encouraging those stuck in an inspiration block to revisit the works of their artistic heroes and engage in good theft –  honouring, studying, crediting and transforming their ideas. Adobe’s very own Behance is a creative networking platform for visual artists; graphic designers, illustrators, fashion creatives, photographers etc., and allows for users to share their collections with like minded audiences. A place to meet artists and get inspired by the boiling pot of creative content, attract new opportunities, and finally, form a creative community of your own, Behance has it all. Available across platforms, impeccable UI and free for use across multiple disciplines. 

Get challenged: Word Palette

Creative writing allows for your imagination to unlock new realms of creativity which may have previously been left unexplored, gate-keeping the potential to grow exciting ideas and hone new ones. Word Palette acts as the experimental creative writer’s guide to unleashing your creativity and eliminating writer’s block. It’s intelligently scrambled text acts as prompts to help guide your path through a written project, and presents you with a challenge that encourages outworldly creation. A fairly new addition to the creative digital app space, it has gained a cult following through it’s options to add your own inspirational articles/stories and integrate those into your writing. Unfortunately this app is only available for IOS users for the time being. 

Get started: Procreate

With masses of technology integrated into our everyday lives, taking the time to disconnect and engage in art therapy has proven to stimulate creativity, improve memory and encourage stress relief. Sketching without distraction can assist entering into a Flow State – a term popularised by positive psychologists Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, describing a state that “leads to a sense of ecstasy and clarity: [you] know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other.” The holy-grail art studio on-the-go, Procreate is a phenomenal platform for this; to get immersed in a world of art and visual expression. A two time award-winning app for artists of all kinds; it’s wide range of tools, education access platform and creatives filled community provides the ultimate stepping stone to get lost in your creative flow. Available exclusively on the Apple App Store.

For many of us, when we think of a polo shirt it’s one which is emblazoned with a logo. The logo polo shirt is simple and understated, and it’s for this reason that many brands choose to get custom embroidered or printed polo shirts for their business. The custom polo a ubiquitous sight on most high streets, usually seen with just one block colour all over, with a logo on the left breast.

The other place you’re likely to find the logo polo shirt is in sportswear. Smart, but still with an easygoing air, the shirt has been embraced in sports for the same reason as it’s been adopted by brands. Boasting the combination of smartness with a loose, airy fit, it’s seen the shirt popularised in tennis by Fred Perry, where there was (and still is at Wimbledon, at least) an emphasis on keeping up a genteel appearance even as you compete at the top tier of elite sport.

But how to make sure that your own logo polo shirt is up to scratch? The simple things are often the hardest to pull off, and with plenty of other brands proffering their own examples, it’s vital to make sure that you get yours right. Here we offer four tips on how to make sure your polos are as good as they can be.

4 insider tips on how to create awesome logo polo shirts

1. You can use embroidery or screen printing

For polo shirts, it’s possible to screen print or embroider your design – but we’d generally recommend using embroidery for best results. If you’re really keen to screen print, we’d recommend using higher quality polo shirts to ensure you get best results (like those by Stanley Stella, for example.) In both cases, the minimum order is 20 units.

2. Keep it simple

Whether you’re using screen printing or embroidery, you’ll get best results by keeping your design simple. For embroidery, in particular, text and simple line graphics work best, and we advise to use a design no smaller than 50mm. In the case of logo polo shirts, it means that if you have a complex or super-detailed logo for your brand, then it would be advisable to adapt it. Bring out the key aspects for a clean and simple approach – that way, the finished product won’t have any issues with the embroidery.

3. Think creatively about embroidery

If you decide to use embroidery for your shirt, then it’s worth thinking about ways to toy with the medium. Compared to screen printing, there’s a tactile side to embroidery that can be interesting to play around with. For example, by using thread that’s the same or similar colour as your garment, it can create a subtle effect that will catch people’s eye once they notice it.

4. Consider using special threads

Another great thing about embroidery is the special, attention-grabbing threads which you can use for your design. These can come in a range of options such as neon or metallic. Of course, this depends on your brand identity and the style you’re looking to suggest, but it’s worth considering for a small splash of something different on your designs.


Want to create your own polo shirts? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting a number of clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.

A custom jacket is a rare, refined kind of garment. Brands or businesses creating a custom jacket are looking to create a unique, super-quality product. This means that’s important to get it right.

Similar to hoodies, a jacket is an item that can find its way into being an everyday mainstay. They’re usually one of the most pricey lines of clothing. By the same token, this means they can be adopted as one of the most highly cherished items in someone’s wardrobe.

What’s more, there are more likely to be issues with printing onto jackets, due to the different shapes, designs and designs they come in. So it takes careful consideration to make sure the product you create is up to scratch. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together our top tips on the pitfalls to avoid and the aspects to keep in mind when designing a custom jacket.

4 tips on how to design a killer custom jacket

1. Use a simple design

One thing to note about custom jackets is that it’s not possible to do direct-to-garment (DTG) printing. This means that your main options are transfer printing, screen printing or embroidery (or a combination, of course.) Whereas with DTG it’s possible to print photos and super-detailed designs, these other methods get better results with simple designs. So this is something to bear in mind when planning your design.

(For more on DTG and screen printing, head here; for more on transfer printing, head here; and for more on embroidery, head here.)

2. Choose your jacket carefully

In many cases, clients we work with will supply their own jackets. This of course gives you greater freedom in the garment you choose to customise, but it’s worth bearing in mind how suitable the jacket will be for customisation. For example, certain details, like the lining or the pockets, can mean that it’s not possible to do screen printing. Additionally, we ourselves offer a big range of jackets, all of which are created to be used for customisation, meaning that you’re much less likely to have issues with the finished product.

3. Use the right kind of file

One small but important detail to remember: the file type you use when sending over your designs. For all of the methods that we use for jackets – that is, transfer printing, screen printing, DTG and embroidery – we ask for vector files rather than raster files. If you need help with this, we can usually offer a service to vectorise your design, so just get in touch to discuss.

(For more on file types, head here.)

4. Discuss different options with us

As has hopefully been made clear, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to custom jackets. Perhaps moreso than any other merch item, there are many variables which can affect what’s possible – and, most importantly, what kind of final result you’re going to get. So we recommend getting in touch to discuss what you’ve got planned, as we’re always open to discussing orders and offering our input on what would work.

Want to create your own custom jackets? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting a number of clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.

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