The history of the t-shirt can be traced back to the early 20th century, and was a method of unifying those serving in the US Navy. By having the same undershirts whilst at sea; in addition to their uniforms, not only was there a community and union ship formed, but the similarity in garments introduced a layer of implicit equality between peers, boosting a higher happiness level.
Shared community brought about increased morale as a result, and to no surprise, further brought a rise in productivity. This minor yet radical change has influenced the new generation of workplace attire and encouraged now employers to have set workplace uniforms or elements of personalised merchandise as part of their code of conduct, and has positively left these businesses experiencing a 12% higher productivity level of their happier workers. How? Here’s the science behind it.
According to Fashion Designer Sikhounmuong, the experience of personalisation; monogramming in particular, “is one tradition that’s both personal and universal at the same time,” and is a key example that is used in customising personalised t-shirts/uniforms. This is because, when studying the impact of community on workplace morale, it was found that in environments where employees share a uniform or a similar look, they are likely to experience an increase in morale as employees feel connected to a common goal, and belong as part of a team.
In addition, more than 75% of woman-identifying employees in the work force highlighted that they suffer from feeling uncomfortable, and largely anxious, in the workplace; as stated by Forbes-Bell, industry specialist in fashion and human psychology, and how a unified company clothing policy can make all the difference in reducing this problem.
Similarly, traditional formal “office wear” such as blazer pant-suits have been found to load cognitive thinking and encourage a hierarchical, authoritarian environment – both of which are elements disrupting positive workplace morale. Whereas, in their studies in the relationships between clothing and examination performance; Bell, Cardello & Schutz (2005) found that comfortable garments, those which are more informal in nature and made of more natural fabrics; such as our trustworthy Organic Cotton Unisex T-shirts, are likely to boost cognitive performance, productivity and happiness levels.
Our client’s at N1 Garden Centre would agree, and came to ICON with the request to create custom-made, nature inspired, workplace attire. When asked about the importance of their personalised workplace t-shirts, Caroline Humphreys, the Office Manager said: “Our uniforms from Icon Printing fit our branding perfectly. They are stylish but most importantly practical. We have gone for lots of different types of items so that staff working outside can layer up and keep warm.” With respects to recognising the change to cooler weather, the N1 Garden centre took this initiative, resulting in happier – and warmer, employees.
Why you should execute this now:
Whether you’re a large corporation engaging thousands of employees, a more boutique home-based business or a freelance content creator with a team, personalised apparel may be the magic in further levelling-up your collective team morale. Through association, fostering community and leveraging a more creativity-first approach to work, the next generation of workplace attire is formulated of comfortable, casual and [insert] pieces to make the most integral part of any business; your employees feel happier. At ICON, we believe there is no better way to foster a positive community, and work tirelessly in the business of happy clients in creating their bespoke personalised t-shirts and outerwear.
Jump on the trend to personalised workwear from ICON by contacting 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from our team will get in touch.
Time to think about ink (more…)