As a design-led printing studio here at ICON, we apply a range of design principles which inform our advice to clients for their choice of personalised merchandise styles, colours and artwork. Although beauty is a subjective concept that is often difficult to define, we’ve devised a list of our top considerations that explain why we find some things more beautiful than others. Let’s break it down.
One of the most important design principles that contribute to our perception of beauty is simplicity. We tend to find things that are simple and uncluttered more beautiful than those that are complex and chaotic. Therefore, simplicity allows us to focus on the essential elements of an object, without being distracted by unnecessary details. For our clients who cater towards more high-end fabrications, such as densely textured Polo Styles, we recommend applying more minimal artworks, i.e the company name in their chosen font or a simplified company logo, both of which result in a more aesthetically pleasing personalised merchandise offering.
Another important design principle that contributes to our perception of beauty is symmetry. We tend to find things that are symmetrical more beautiful than those that are asymmetrical. This is because symmetry creates a sense of balance and harmony that is pleasing to the eye, and one we associate regularly with everyday items around us. As a result, our brains are hardwired; whether we like it or not, to be attracted to shapes and artworks which are balanced. When considering printing multiple designs across your choice of personalised merchandise, have a play around with positioning these standalone artworks in a manner that promotes balance, using a combination of harsher lines with softer components.
Proportion forms our judgement of what we would be comfortable representing, especially when viewed through its application on T-shirts, Hoodies and front-facing designs. Amongst the most influential design principles that informs our perception of proportion, The Golden Ratio – a mathematical ratio of 1:1.618, is found in the proportions of the Egyptian pyramids, the nautilus shell and faces in art we deem beautiful, such as the Mona Lisa.
Did you know that the colour Blue is the most loved colour by humans, preferred by more than 35% of the world’s population – which basically means that every 4 people in a group of ten favour blue over any other colour. A lot of this can be attributed to colour psychology and the associations people have with them, with the colour Blue nuancing peace and calamity.
However, all audiences of people are different, and when choosing the base colour of your personalised merchandise and subsequently of artwork – key design principles such as what colours complement each other on the colour wheel are a great place to start. For a more in-depth view of the power of colour, read our dedicated blog post here.
We look forward to hearing from you! To get an instant quote, click here or contact us at email@example.com and one of our team will be in touch to get you started.
It all starts with a T-shirt.
As a content creator, you’re always looking for the next big thing that drives your personal brand: attracting new audiences, building credibility and creating new opportunities to connect in-person and online. If this sounds like you, our team at ICON have got you covered. Let’s break it down.
Why sell personalised merchandise?
With its plethora of benefits, personalised merchandise acts as the ultimate brand awareness tactic. Growing your brand awareness can help attract new audiences to your content, as well as solidify existing ones. When people become aware of your brand, they are more likely to generate a lead towards your social platforms and become a part of your community, increasing your overall reach – a key KPI to help increase access to monetization and passive revenue schemes.
Similarly, growing your brand awareness can help build credibility. When people see that your brand is well-known and highly engaging, they are more likely to trust you and your content. This can help you build a loyal audience who will continue to support you and create avenues where you’re able to market new products.
With credibility and brand awareness on your side; at ICON, we work one-to-one with clients to create bespoke merchandise that is tailored to your audience and creating pieces that sets you apart. For more, read our more in-depth blog on content creator merchandise and how you can unite your audience, by clicking here.
Why T-shirts are the way forward:
As the most worn clothing item in the world, it is no surprise that T-shirts are at the heart of our printing services here at ICON, and a growing client favourite. A holy grail community engagement tool across the entertainment industry for their versatility and non-gender conforming style, T-shirts are the ultimate method to differentiate your brand and nourish an online audience through the launch of high quality, limited quantity individualised gear. This is why:
T-Shirts Foster Brand Awareness
Personalised T-shirts are a great way to create brand awareness and promote your content. When people wear your T-shirt, they become walking billboards for your brand, spreading the word about you in places you wouldn’t have organic access too, increasing the access you have to a new audience.
T-Shirts Build Brand Loyalty
Personalised T-shirts also help build brand loyalty. When people wear customised personalised merchandise, they feel like they are part of your brand’s community. An interesting study by Hajo Adam and Adam D.Galinsky in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology founded the word “enclothed cognition,” – simplified to mean “the association a community feels through consuming a product or service that builds explicit signals to a wider audience” such as wearing merchandise belonging to a specific brand, content and influencer fan base. These consumers become your brand ambassadors, spreading the word about your content and building a sense of loyalty among your audience.
T-Shirts are Cost-Effective
Lastly, T-shirts are one of the most cost efficient solutions to creating personalised merchandise. Our best-selling Softstyle Adult T-Shirt is an affordable option for first time content creators, making it a great option for those who are just starting and have a limited budget.
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!
Undeniably recognised as the most popular personalised accessory, the Tote Bag is our best-selling accessory for events and promotional merchandise alike, with our Organic Cotton Shopper Tote quickly becoming a client favourite, and with good reason. Let’s break it down.
Reusability and Sustainability
Tote bags are reusable and can last for a long time, reducing the need for single-use plastic bags. This makes them an eco-friendly choice that aligns with the values of many consumers and is a great hack when wanting to do more implicit marketing launches, as clients are likely to re-use these in more organic settings that would be unreachable from a company without extension marketing budgets. By offering personalised tote bags as a core personalised merchandise offering, company’s can showcase their commitment to sustainability and attract customers who prioritise eco-friendliness – a growing trend between Gen Z’s and Millennial shoppers; with 90% more willing to make a purchase that is more sustainable.
Practicality and Versatility
Tote bags are an everyday practical and versatile essential, making them suitable for a wide range of purposes. They can be used as grocery bags, beach bags, gym bags, or even as a stylish accessory for everyday use. Personalised tote bags can also be used as promotional items at events, conferences, or trade shows, showcasing your brand and increasing visibility.
Cost-Effective and Customizable
Tote bags are one of our most cost efficient merchandise options and at ICON, can be customised to reflect your brand’s identity and message in so many unique ways. Our Long Handle Shopper Tote is amongst the most popular styles we offer; averaging to just under £1.50 per unit, and can be designed with your company logo, slogan, or artwork, making them an ideal personalised merchandise option. Our Tote bags also come in a variety of sizes, colours, and styles, allowing you to choose the best option that suits your brand and target audience.
Trendy and Fashionable
Tote bags have become a trendy statement piece and fashionable accessory, with many designers and brands incorporating them into their collections. Personalised tote bags can be designed to reflect current fashion trends or to showcase your brand’s unique style and aesthetic, with Tote Bag sales reflecting an upwards growth trend regardless of niche or industry. By offering this in-trend form of personalised merchandise, companies are able to appeal to a wider audience; especially those who prioritise eco-friendliness, and increase overarching brand awareness.
With their reusability, versatility, cost-effectiveness, and customisability, Tote Bags offer an edge over choosing your brand’s next merchandise offering, creating an opportunity to showcase your brand’s values and increase visibility. So, why not make tote bags your company’s next personalised merchandise choice?
Keen to find out more? Our passionate team of experts is waiting to hear from you and help you guide your next order, Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for an instant quote!
Did you know that Screen Printing is amongst the most popular and versatile customisation techniques available? Pride for its extensive array of coloured inks, affordability and quick turnaround times, it’s our go-to at ICON for all orders in large quantities and one-off pieces alike. So how has this effective transfer technique that creates bold garments evolved overtime? Let’s break it down.
What is it?
Screen printing is a printing technique that involves the use of ink and a mesh stencil to transfer an image or design onto a material: canvases, posters and most commonly; and our personal favourites – garments! With a large selection of inks available no matter your requirements: sustainability, base garment choice and affordability – the inks used during the printing process are truly what differentiates this best-selling printing service.
The most popular of these types of inks include: Plastisol inks; for ease of use and durability, Water-based inks; for an eco-friendly alternative, and Discharge inks; ideally suited for high quality prints on darker fabrics. If you’re looking for new custom-made merchandise, reach out to us by clicking here, and a member of our sales team will direct you towards what service + inks are right for you.
The evolution of printing inks is a story that spans thousands of years, from the first use of ink made from plant and animal materials to the development of modern synthetic inks that we use today. One of the earliest applications of screen printing inks was made using a mixture of water, gum arabic; a natural gum originally consisting of the hardened sap of two species of the Acacia tree, and soot, a slightly sticky, fine black or brown powder. This ink was applied to a stencil made of silk, which was stretched across a frame and pressed through; inspiring the screen printing techniques we use today.
Types of inks:
The early 20th century brought over the development of synthetic inks, created by mixing pigments with synthetic polymers, which allowed for a broader range of colour options and improved durability. Synthetic inks were also easier to work with than the traditional inks and had better adhesion properties, which made them ideal for printing on a wide range of materials, including fabrics, plastics and metals.
With the rise of technological advancements in the 60s, Plastisol ink was invented. Plastisol is a type of ink made from PVC particles suspended in a liquid plasticizer, or more simply put: a type of ink containing microplastics mixed with a liquid that helps it stick to things. Not only is this type of ink known for its adaptability and permanence but it is also ideal for printing on both light and dark-coloured fabrics. Our clients love the speediness of using this service specifically for their event merchandise – Check out our reviews here.
The sustainability movement drove an upsurge on finding more eco-conscious substitutes for existing printing inks and introduced Water-based inks. Popularised as a green alternative to traditional plastisol inks, water-based inks are known for their non-toxic, low-odour, and low waste production benefits. Made up of water and a colour pigment, although available in a limited range, Water-based inks are popular for their ability to produce bright and vibrant, long-lasting colours and often best suited for printing on cotton, linen, and other natural fabrics.
Similarly, in the late 1990’s, another type of eco-friendly water-based printing ink; Discharge ink, took the printing world by storm, revolutionising the screen printing process. Designed specifically to be used on dark-coloured fabrics, these inks are formulated by bleaching out dye from a chosen fabric, creating a lighter colour that can then be printed over with a brighter, more vibrant ink colour, producing crisp results that feel much softer than plastisol printing.
Whether you’re looking for a durable and versatile ink for printing on fabrics or a specialty ink for creating unique designs, there is an ink out there that will meet your needs.
Keen to find out more? Our passionate team of experts is waiting to hear from you and help you guide your next order, Email us at email@example.com or click here for 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. As pioneers in the printing industry, we’ve seen our fair share of what makes a spectacular screen printed garment, and have compiled a list of all the things you need to consider before embarking on your new order. Let’s talk about it.
When choosing which of your creative designs to screen print, opt for higher quality images that have thick elements of detail to avoid losing any imagery during the printing process. Similarly, try to avoid very small gaps of negative spaces, as these can fill in or “bleed” easily – Ink is a fluid and therefore spreads a little bit by nature. And if you’re on the more price conscious side, take note that a separate screen is required for each colour in the design, so, the fewer colours in your design, the less it costs to print.
– A general guideline to follow for your prospect artwords is to use fonts at or above 12 points and lines or outlines stroke size larger than 0.3 pt.
– Artwork type: Vector or Raster graphics
– Convert all strokes to paths or outline any strokes before submitting artwork.
– Convert all text to outlines in case we don’t have the font that you used on file.
Garment or Base Layer:
The versatility of our screen printing services allows for a large variety of garments to be printed on, ranging from accessories such as our Organic Cotton Totes, all the way to our densely textured Polo Shirts. For the highest quality, and most long-lasting results, aim to use Cotton and Cotton blend fabrics, as these are generally multifilament; i.e. have a greater capacity for absorbing ink compared to synthetic materials, particularly cotton knits, as these tend to have a softer texture, while woven cotton can be breezy for the summer months and warmer in winter weather.
Check out our wide selection of garments here.
The primary differences in screen printing are not found in the method but in the types of inks used and the effects that they produce. One of the most commonly used inks in screen printing is plastisol ink which uses spot colours; suited ideally for maximum durability, affordability and endless pantone colour matching. For our eco-conscious clients, water-based inks are the best option, and result in a more soft textured feel. However, if your design is full colour or if you want to achieve a different feel, a different print method might be more suitable.
Got more questions? Ask a member of our team by clicking here or visit our FAQ for more information.
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.