Are you looking for an effective way to grow your business outreach? Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, small business owner or content creator looking to gain more traction and solidify brand loyalty within your community, embroidered personalised apparel is an excellent option. Embroidery stands as one of the oldest, and most traditional forms of customising fabrics – dating back to the Ancient Egyptian era where intricate embroidery was stitched into linen as a symbol of status, and is one of our personal favourite services we offer here at ICON.
If you own a brand or business (or are hoping to establish one!) you know how important it is to build an image your audience can recognize, and trust. Here’s how embroidery can make that happen:
Amongst the most versatile styles, Polo Shirts are a fan favourite when it comes to premium feel merchandise, and is perfectly customisable with your unique company logo and branding with embroidery. Not only does the dense texture of the garment contribute to feeling more high quality, but accompanied by bespoke embroidery in 100% cotton thread, further adds that sparkle of luxury to your pieces and your customer’s perceptions.
For our clients who need bespoke personalised merchandise intended for use in an industrial setting or for work wear, our embroidery services are the most suitable form of personalisation!
Embroidery is durable – executed with only the highest quality cotton threads, versatile – available in a vast array of colour and finish options and lastly, offers long lasting wear and tear, acting as the ultimate addition or alternate to screen print.
A Unique Way to Stand Out
Embroidery with us allows you to customise all your apparel, from our signature t-shirts and totes, to our new range of baseball caps, all with unique designs that feature your logo or chosen design. Not only does this create a more premium and professional finish, but this finishing touch also gives your existing and potential customers something tangible to remember you by. In a world where everyone is trying to get their message across, having something physical such as our Heavy-Blend, Unisex Organic Hoodie, the ultimate blank canvas for embroidery, can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. Our clients love the high-quality finish and praise the wearability of their embroidered designs, with Melendez loving their “top quality embroidery results.”
What are you waiting for? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for an instant quote!
More than 2 Billion T-shirts are sold per year, equaling to 64 T-shirts sold worldwide – Every. Single. Second. With the significance of this rather simple and universally worn clothing item, the T-shirt has dominated regardless of time and culture, and here at ICON, is our absolute favourite way to help brands and businesses increase their awareness and customer loyalty. To really understand why the T-shirt is amongst the most widely adopted; and preferred form of personalised merchandise by our clients, let’s break down the history behind where this classic, all-American wardrobe staple comes from.
How it started:
The iconic “T-shape” of the T-shirt has origins that date back to the late 19th century Rome, where the tunica, a simple undershirt, was worn by both men and women. Used widely as a layer of protection between the skin and other clothing by many, hygienists of the time recommended the use of thick knitted wool ‘t-shirts’ under your clothing as a means to fight the cold and other flu-like illnesses, evolving into the thermal, heat-tech technology T-shirts and undergarments we have today. Adopted soon after during World War I as a staple undershirt for the United States military and naval services alike, a T-shirt made of a lightweight, breathable material and was worn under the sailor’s uniform and was born to be the most versatile piece of apparel ever created.
How it changed:
In the early 1920s however, the functionality of the T-shirt being utilised as only an undergarment was challenged. Known as the founding fathers of the T-shirt rebellion movement Marlon Brando’s “A StreetCar Named Desire” and James Dean’s “Rebel Without a Cause” were both the first; and most famous on-screen performances where both key characters wore T-shirts as an outer-garment, beginning the business boom of T-shirts world wide. Quickly after the movies were aired, wearing T-shirts outside of work as an outer garment became a sign of rebellion – an association made through the characterisation of the infamous pop culture icons.
How it grew:
The growing political and social unrest of the 1960s catapulted the significance of T-shirts, altering their role beyond fabric and functionality. T-shirts were starting to be used as a means of activism, signifying what we now recognise as the most powerful canvas used of expression, whether political, advertorial, graphic or humorous. Technological advancements in the printing world, specifically screen printing, only enhanced this, making it faster, easier and more inexpensive than ever before to print designs directly onto T-shirts.
By the start of the 70s, custom-made, personalised T-shirts became the ultimate wardrobe staple, and since have grown to become the leading choice of merchandise for creators, brands and businesses of all kinds.
Keen to find out more? Click here to find out how personalised T-shirts can boost employee morale and to find out more about working with us, contact our sales team at email@example.com or click for an instant quote!
As specialists within the personalised merchandise industry, we can confirm that it’s a particularly great way to showcase your brand, celebrate a special occasion, or simply express your creativity through apparel. But what makes for the best personalised merchandise? Here’s a break down of our ICON certified, top expert tips to consider:
Quality: The first and most important factor is the quality of the merchandise itself. Whether you’re looking for custom t-shirts, caps, or mugs (we custom print on them all!) make sure the item is made of durable materials and is well-constructed. No one wants a product that falls apart after just a few uses, and customised merchandise is often given bad rep for this exact reason. Luckily, at ICON we only work with the most high quality materials, sustainably sourcing premium finish organic cotton for our T-shirts, with our Organic Unisex T-shirt being a top choice for all our personal brand owners and creators due to its high durability and customisation versatility.
Design: The design of your personalised merchandise should be eye-catching and visually appealing. Consider using bright colours, bold fonts, and clear graphics to make your design stand out. As a printing company that is led by design, our team works closely with each client to perfect their desired design and make recommendations on the ultimate printing or embroidery technique that is the most cost-effective, quick to complete, and most importantly: sustainable, for your type of order. One of our top performing client’s used our bespoke printing services at ICON Printing to create their personalised merchandise, and had to say “the quality of the DTP print was great, i stretched the fabric and no cracking! The quality of the Hoodie is sick! Fits like a charm. I’m ready for the UK Winter!” Click here to read more about our client work and how you can work with us today.
Functionality: While aesthetics are important, it’s also crucial that your personalised merchandise is functional. Think about what your employees, audience or customers will actually use the item for and make sure it serves a practical purpose. For example, a personalised thermos flask should be easy to carry and use, while a personalised t-shirt should be comfortable to wear. Our brand new customisable thermos flasks are an easy and inexpensive addition to your company apparel, made specifically to improve your work experience during the harsher colder months. Check our catalogue of products here.
Uniqueness: Personalised merchandise is all about standing out and expressing your brand. Consider adding a personal touch to your designs, such as a special company quote expressing your value or mission, a unique graphic or customised embroidered initials for each of your employees, truly making your merchandise one-of-a-kind.
The best personalised merchandise strikes a balance between quality, design, functionality, uniqueness, and relevance. At ICON, we consider each and everyone of these factors, helping you create long-lasting personalised apparel that your audience will love and use time and time again.
Ready to take the next step in creating your own custom-made collection of apparel? Get in touch with a member of our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to receive an instant quote!
Priding ourselves as experts in the field, here at ICON we cover all your printing needs from A to Z. Whilst screen printing is our most loved service, and unsurprisingly, is amongst the most popular fabric printing methods in the world, it is also widely scrutinised under the sustainability radar.
Why? Let’s break it down.
Requiring practitioners to use a brush to manually force ink through the screens, the origins of screen printing date back as early as the 1920s. With the invention of Vasilantone’s dual rotary printing press; which allowed for fabric to be placed through sets of rotating pallets and print heads, the traditional transfer method was made obsolete and altered the history of this holy-grail printing technique. Initially, limited to hand-made only, screen printing was slow and costly. However, after Vasilantone’s invention, printing happened much more quickly, cleanly and efficiently, becoming a designer favourite.
For a more in-depth article on the origins of screen printing, read this super cool piece by experts: The man who changed t-shirt printing forever.
With the use of screen printing now directed towards the production of mass produced personalised merchandise, due to the cost and time efficiency, its use is deemed unsustainable. However, with now being able to control the production for the same cost efficiencies, screen printing may be made more sustainable through limiting the overproduction of unsold merchandise. Yet, not all of it boils down to scale, but more so – resources.
Screen printing makes use of ink to print. Plastisol inks contain PVC; a micro-plastic named the most environmentally damaging of all plastics. Not only does this cause serious health risks throughout the production process but also contributes to the plastics damaging ecosystems on our planet.
Water-based inks on the other hand: pigments suspended in water, provide us with a more sustainable alternative. This no plastics option is as sustainable as can be from production to product, better for your skin; due to the fabric being left more breathable and the screens and equipment, after printed, are washed with plain water. At ICON, we aim to be as eco-conscious as possible and drive the change towards more sustainable printing by leading by example. As our raison d’etre, we take into consideration your order quantity, use and designs when deciding how we complete your order, and target to be the most planet friendly as possible.
For more insight on sustainable dyes, read: The Eco-friendly guide to screen printing
Picking your apparel:
When considering your medium for personalised merchandise, t-shirts are the first form of apparel that comes to mind – and we have to agree! Despite it being the most popular type, screen printing can be done on a variety of custom-made apparel such as baseball caps, reusable bottles and more. As part of our printing services at ICON now extended to include these options, we also advise on giving new, and more sustainable apparel, a go.
In comparison to a personalised, water ink dyed, screen printed sweatshirt, custom printed baseball caps are more durable due to the lack of washing involved, and as a result, last longer. Similarly, take into account when deciding on creating merchandise: are you able to set-up a pre order so the printing quantity can be optimised to only those items sold? Can you consider printing on sustainably sourced, organic fabrics? A lot of our sustainability concerns may also be addressed along the journey of your order.
To find out more about sustainable screen printing for your personalised merchandise, contact our sales team or click here to get an instant quote.
In the print world, screen printing is one of the most common methods used in personalised merchandise production, and with good reason. At ICON, it’s often our main method of printing for time sensitive, high-quality and long-lasting personalised t-shirts, whilst allowing for expert levels of detail and a wide variety of customisation. However, this holy grail method of printing has been labelled unsustainable in the past and is largely a result of the dyes involved in the process. Let’s break it down.
Screen printing comprises of using the technique of creating a picture or pattern by forcing ink or metal on to a surface through a screen of fine material. The cost of using this printing technique is based off the artwork involved; the level of details, the range of colour, as each colour requires a separate screen, adding to the additional cost, and the volume of the order. Each of these factors combined then impacts the type of ink and dyeing process that can be used.
Want to dive deeper? Read our expert’s ultimate guide to screen printing here.
What inks are used to fulfil an order is ultimately based on the suitability of the dye for the merchandise order requested. Screen printing works ideally for larger orders that encompass artwork with spot colours, as opposed to photographs or full colour prints with gradients, and are most commonly made using plastisol ink. Although widely applied when screen printing and renown for it’s durability and cost-effective nature, the main component in plastisol ink is made with PVC and is essentially liquid plastic, making it difficult to recycle, break-down after the product lifecycle, and overall is harmful to the environment.
The more sustainable solution? Water-based inks.
Water-based inks use water as the main solvent in carrying pigment, which allows for the inks to be sharp and vibrant, making it much easier to extract, produce and better for the environment. With water-based screen printing, the inks used are thinner and more transparent than other types of printing dyes and, in comparison to plastisol ink, water-based dyes penetrate deeper into fabric, resulting a softer and more breathable print, not crumbling when the t-shirts are scrunched up. According to Bristow (2021) making use of water-based inks and organic cotton for your apparel allow for deeper absorption into the fabric, increasing wearability and product longevity, driving further within the eco-friendly nature of the dye.
While water-based inks are the more sustainable screen-printing option, it has its limitations.
Cottons only: The problem with water-based screen printing is that you cannot print on 100% polyester. This is because when water hits polyester, it creates a film on top of the fabric that keeps the ink from seeping in. Instead, here at ICON, we use 100% organically sourced cotton for your garments. For more options, check out our catalogue of apparel here.
Know your dyes: There are all sorts of water-based inks, from high solids water-based inks, which are excellent for stretchy fabrics, to discharge inks, which works through a bleaching process where the colour of the ink replaces the shirt’s colour. Look for dyes that are made from natural, sustainable materials and these dyes work just as effectively as synthetic dyes, but are much better for our planet.
At ICON, we pride ourselves as pioneers in sustainable screen-printing industry. Want to find out more? Click here to get an instant quote or email us at email@example.com and someone from our team will get in touch.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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