You’ve finally got the office, the website, and you fully believe in the product that you are selling. But everyone knows that you are not a real company until you have your own company t-shirt. 

No matter the size of your business, company shirts bring authenticity to your corporation. Company tees have been a long-standing tradition dating back to 1950s Miami where resorts experimented with advertising logos on t-shirts, including Walt Disney’s iconic character Mickey Mouse. Business t-shirts are even more relevant today as they bring professionalism, consistent branding, and most importantly exposure.

In this guide on designing company shirts, we’ll go through every step of the process, from brainstorming ideas to printing your shirt. No matter how much or how little experience you have, we’ll help you produce a shirt that you can truly be proud of.

Why do you need a shirt in the first place? There are a multitude of reasons for wanting a company tee and understanding why you need a shirt and what you want it to do will help guide the design process. Some reasons may be for promotion, merchandise, events, meeting leave-behinds, to showcase brand values, or even build a sense of community. After you determine why you need a shirt, you’ll need to decide the key themes, styles and personality traits that you want your brand and t-shirt to convey. 

There are a few specific details that need to be addressed. How many will you need? This answer will affect the best printing method to choose. What is your budget? A larger budget doesn’t just mean more shirts, it can allow you to print more detailed images and colors. You could even opt for softer shirts or a different cut. Consider what you are willing to spend early on so that you can find a balance between your creative options and the number of shirts you need. How quickly do you need the shirts? Designing and printing the shirt will take time and depending on the method you choose turnaround times will vary. It is important to have flexible deadline times so you can account for these fluctuations.

Printing options are plenty, so it is essential that you do some research on the methods that may be best for you. These are a few of the most popular printing methods: 

  1. Screen printing – This is the standard route for t-shirt printing from a company like real thread as it is the most affordable option for large orders. In this method an individual screen is created for each color in your design and printed on top of each other. This process is reliable, affordable, and high quality, however colorful designs can become quite costly.
  2. Vinyl graphics – Vinyl graphics are a form of heated transfer. Vinyl is durable, so your shirts will last longer and prevent images from fading, this method also adds some texture. Vinyl is extremely durable and high quality, so your design is sure to stand out. But complicated designs can cost more so this is not a great option for large orders.
  3. Direct-to-Garment (DTG) – A fairly new method, it makes use of inkjets that are applied directly to the fabric instead of a paper transfer. This option offers the most detail and color options, so it is highly customizable. This option is not ideal for numerous shirts, so it is ideal for a sample or small batch. 

Brainstorming may be one of the most important parts of the process, t-shirt design isn’t just about knowing what to communicate, but how to communicate them effectively. When making a slogan, you want to keep it short and catchy. If your slogan is too long readers will become overwhelmed and just glaze by the logo, but a short slogan is more likely to catch your audiences’ attention. In addition to the slogan there are a multitude of things that you need to consider such as T-shirt type, T-shirt sizes, imagery, typography, colorway, and even specialty techniques such as gel, hologram, foil, etc. 

It’s finally time to get designing. You can try and DIY this design if you’ve got some skill, but if you’re not a design pro then outsourcing may be the best option. Finding a freelancer to bring your design to life can be tricky, but the outcome will be worth it. Make sure to find a designer that shares your vision and has a style that is close to your own, this will help the process run a bit smoother. You finally have a design! You may want to get a couple different designs and have a few people give their opinions. Once the final decision has been made it’s time to go to the printers and get your new company t-shirts!

A business shirt may not be the best marketing tool, but it does provide exposure for your business while also boosting team morale.

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