Whether it be for promotional purposes or internal staff, company t-shirts are all about generating buzz outside, or within, your organization. Let us walk you through some of the ways t-shirts build brands offline.
We know how daunting it can be to start a brand, you may have great ideas and loads of ambition, but where do you start? We’ve put together some advice to help you get going.
Whether you are a small boutique brand or a large, corporate business; you’ll know how important it is to have a strong logo and brand identity. Almost everything we print here at Icon Printing, relates to a brand or logo in some form or another. Maybe you’re thinking about a re-brand, or you could be a start up without the spare cash to splash out on a bespoke logo – this is a post for you. We’ve come up with a few pointers to follow when creating logos and specific design considerations to look at to insure your logo design reproduces well in all mediums; screen, print and signage.
Before you get stuck into the look or even the “naming” of your logo or business, there’s a few things to bare in mind. What does your company do? Are you local, national or global? Think about your target audience, who are they and what do they do? Are they high, mid or low earners? Who are your competitors and what are they doing? Next, think about where your logo will be displayed – it could be applied to business cards, but also vehicle livery, apparel, a website, etc.
Do your homework! Do as much research as you can in the time available.Research the competition and similar companies. Look at their logos and websites. What kind of image do they project?
Look at details such as colour schemes, typefaces, images, symbols, etc.
Look at unrelated businesses that target a similar audience as yours. What is their visual attraction?
The T-Shirt Deli puts a new twist on personalising shirts. The concept is pretty simple: your t-shirt design, served hot-off-the-press and wrapped to-go with a side of chips. Awesome!
Owner, Ninel moved to Chicago 13 years ago. After years of copy-writing for beer commercials, she left the advertising industry to start the T-Shirt Deli. She first envisioned the deli when she thought of several funny sayings to put on t-shirts. Rather than simply customising a few of her own shirts, she decided she wanted to help others produce shirts too – “Much like you can customise your sandwich in a New York-style deli.” She says, “After all, not everyone shares my sense of humor, and as it turns out, people absolutely love the opportunity to get creative, and see their own idea turned into a wearable product.”
She searched far and wide for gleaming white deli cases, rolls of perfectly waxed butcher paper, brightly colored stickers, and open-air wicker baskets to display our freshest selection of tees. She also chooses to use “homegrown” American Apparel brand shirts, and started to stock as many font choices and colors as cheeses in a New York deli.
Today, there are two stores in Chicago – one in Bucktown and another in Andersonville, and they just celebrated their seventh anniversary. They take orders on their website, and offer a fun ‘catering’ service. Like any other caterer, they travel to parties, work events, etc., but instead of dishing out spaghetti, they make and serve shirts on-site for the attendees.
Over the years, customers have had many creative ideas to share, though often their designs or text are based on inside jokes, nicknames and other cryptic items only known them and their friends.
It’s always so refreshing to see something done with such a twist! Good job!
Come chat to us if you’d like any custom t-shirt printing done (sadly ours don’t come with chips, but hey – that’s not a bad idea!…) Drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0207 183 8431
1. Gather Inspiration, Brainstorm and Create a Brand Identity.
One of the first steps to go thorough when starting a business selling t-shirts, hats, tote bags, or any other item, is deciding what you’re going to be printing on these garments. Don’t rush into it, take some time gathering inspiration from all over. In order to try and evaluate the chance of success of your new apparel line, look around to see if other people are already successful with similar products.
Look at existing branding and clothing labels, follow blogs, read magazines and collate as much imagery as you possibly can. This will not only help to inspire you, but it’s an important process as it helps you to find out what’s all ready out there. It’s also vital to define your target customer. Remember that you can not be all things to all people. Take a look at what’s popular, and what is selling, and decide where you fit in. Keep in mind that a logo, design style and even brand name that would appeal to fashion conscious teens probably won’t fare so well with suburban Mums.
Interview members of your market in order to help develop ideas about pricing, marketing and design styles. Take advantage of social networks to conduct polls among members of your target group as well.
2. Brand & Design Development.
Develop a range or graphic T-shirt designs, logos and a brand name using your market research. Every aspect of your brand should reflect the values and tastes of your target market. Don’t try to appeal to everyone, or you may end up appealing to no one. Create multiple graphic representations of potential logos, brand names and T-shirt designs. Test your designs with members of your target audience to help assist in narrowing your choices down.
Take the time to learn about the various print processes. We’ve posted various blog entries on the different print methods and how to prepare your files – the four print processes (screen printing, direct to garment printing, embroidery and transfer printing) we offer are very popular ways of transferring designs onto clothing, but by no means your only options. Study variations of your chosen garment carefully. We’re able to send you samples, so if you’re thinking about creating your own t-shirt line, compare the cut, detailing and fabric composition of your t-shirt options.
3. Know Your Costings.
Having done your research into garments and price per “plain” item, pair these figures with your chosen print process per print cost. Ideally you want to make a profit not just break even. Does your chosen retail price fit in with your target market? This comes back to knowing your audience and understanding their budget.
Think about the kind of designs you’re selling when setting prices. For example, limited edition runs of certain T-shirt designs may do better at a higher price because increased price often implies rarity or special quality to buyers.
4. Have a Marketing Plan.
After you have defined your customer, figured out how much you can charge them for your products, you need a marketing plan that will get your name out there. Take advantage of all the various free marketing/social networking sites that are available (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pintrest, Youtube, etc.) – raising awareness of your brand has never been easier. Also, carefully distributing free samples of your T-shirts or sweaters to influential members of your target market can create a word-of-mouth buzz and viral marketing possibilities at minimal cost to you.
Remember, just because your have a great product does not mean people will automatically know about it. And the more buzz you generate for your product, the more likely stores will sell it. That means in order to get sales, you’ve got to let people know how to find you. And once they find you, you have to make them want to buy. The web has the ability to level the marketing playing field in many aspects. A new start-up t-shirt line has the same ability to show up in an online search right next to the biggest name brands.
5. Choosing Where to Sell.
This really depends on what works best for your target market. Some labels choose exclusively to sell online, or in stores – some sell across both. The people shopping on Etsy (an international handmade and vintage e-commerce site) might not be shopping on Bigcartel (self run e-commerce site) and vice versa. Initially people will buy your garments because they like the way they look/the designs and so forth not for their brand name. Be aware of aesthetics and how you’re visually representing your brand/line – use really strong photography if web selling or focus on your visual merchandising if shop selling. Think about the finer details too – be sure your swing tags and packaging reflects your brand and are of the same high standard.
We hope you have found this post helpful. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions or check out our website for an instant quote. Icon Printing are specialists in creative customised clothing and bespoke t-shirt printing.
We also have a post here on Frequently Asked Questions.
phone: 0207 183 8431
Here at Icon Printing, we customise clothing to cater for a wide range of needs – from specialist resale items to sports team-wear. One of our most popular requirements is promotional clothing and garments, as they provide extended brand exposure. Unlike traditional advertising, promotional products are difficult to miss. A tote bag with your logo will surely get more attention than a newspaper ad and your clients will be able to get repeated use out of it.
Here’s a brief list of pointers detailing why promoting your brand in this way can be beneficial –
- These kinds of garments are valuable compared to flyers – these have become less effective means of marketing because they are often ignored and thrown away. Promotional items like t-shirts or tote bags aren’t likely to get tossed because they are more like gifts than advertisements.
- They present a creative marketing spin. Billboards, radio spots, newspaper advertisements, and television commercials are fine, but they’re not exactly original. Promotional products are not only more creative but also more tangible to customers.
- They’re inexpensive. Any experienced marketer can tell you about the high costs of traditional marketing methods. Promotional items are available in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes that there is something for any budget.
Here are a few examples of how promotional garments could work for you –
- To generate brand awareness. Promo items quickly spread the word about your business. People love free gifts and samples, and clients are likely to tell their friends about the personalised merchandise that you have been distributing.
- To say “thank you”. Sending follow-up emails to clients is always smart, but giving a high-quality promotional item is even better. When you send a gift, you can bet that you’ll see some repeat business.
- To use as coupons and special offers. Many businesses print coupons on promotional items or offer t-shirts that entitle customers to discounts. There’s no limit to what you can do if you get creative with your promo items.
- To organise a giveaway with prizes. By using your own custom merchandise as prizes, you’ll give winners what they want while exposing your brand at the same time.
- To provide exclusive gifts to members. Membership fees are standard for numerous clubs and organisations, and many people are reluctant to pay them. Giving an exclusive promotional product as a member gift may encourage people to join.
- To raise money for charity. Non-profit organizations and charities often hold fundraisers and auctions. Make yourself known by donating a high-end promotional item; the cause will gain funds, you’ll gain exposure, and the customer will receive a memorable gift.
If you’d like to create some promotional clothing to get your business noticed, drop us an email or give us a call for an instant quote. We even do express tshirt printing.
phone: 0207 183 8431