From the smallest startups to the largest corporations, corporate shirts add legitimacy to your business. Uniforms provide professionalism, consistent branding and, when done right, style points too. For the employees, they mean team cohesion, appreciation and good looks. And, hey – a free shirt.
But what makes a good company shirt? And where can it go wrong?
Company shirt designs: 6 tips to make them look good
- How to choose the right clothes
- How to know which pressure points to choose
- How to choose the right colors
- How to insert the correct information
- How to create a design that works
- How to order for a group of different sizes
There are also a whole host of other professional tips to ensure you get a company shirt you can be proud of.
For our example order, I'll use a company that I completely made up. Let’s say “Big Jim” from the plumbing company in Leer has a business card and that’s about it. So it's time to get professional - and get some company shirts. This is where our journey begins.
Big Jim sits down at his computer after a good meal and calls up our design studio to design his new company logo shirt. He looks through the hundreds of files on his desktop, finds the logo his cousin designed for him, and uploads it.
Within minutes, he created a simple design and picked out a shirt. Time to place the order. And to drink a beer.But wait. Does this work? Or could it be a lot better? Let's use this as a starting point to go through my six tips and apply them to this hypothetical company. Are you listening to me, Big Jim? Let's go.
1. How to choose the right garment for your company shirts
The first choice is probably the most important because it's what you and your team will wear to work every day. This last part is crucial.
You want a shirt that meets all three basic requirements: appropriate, comfortable and looks good. But with so many options, choosing can be a daunting task. You might find yourself losing track.
The best way to narrow down your choices is to ask yourself the following questions. The answers to these questions will help us with many of the decisions we need to make when putting together our sample order:
- What is the purpose of these shirts? (Uniform, promotional gifts, casual wear?)
- Who will wear them? (Executives, middle management, workers?)
- How often should they be worn? (Daily, one-time, special occasions?)
- Under which conditions? (Outside in the heat or in temperature-controlled rooms?)
- What is the budget per shirt? (Can you afford to buy something higher quality?)
Let's check with Big Jim again to see how these questions apply to his order. The purpose? To be a uniform. Who will wear them? The workers. How often? Daily. Under which conditions? Sometimes hot. How much is the budget? Middle area.
Big Jim would like to order a standard 100% cotton long sleeve shirt: the Gildan® 240. Is this the right shirt?
While a t-shirt is appropriate for this type of business, and cotton may be the right fabric option for its comfort and breathability, this particular garment weighs 6 ounces (per square foot), which is on the heavy side. This means it can get hot. And since cotton absorbs moisture, sweating can occur.
So this shirt fabric is probably the wrong choice.
The long sleeves aren't particularly helpful either as they trap heat. In addition, the sleeves often get in the way. What is the first step if you want to go to work? Roll up your sleeves. Why would a plumber even need sleeves? Big Jim's employees are often up to their elbows in a toilet.
2. How to choose the right printing locations
When it comes to choosing where to print, there are good reasons why the standards are standard - and I cover this in detail in a previous post about screen print size and placement. It's important to know them before trying anything else.
Going back to our ordering example, Big Jim's design is placed across the entire front, and while this is a standard position for a typical t-shirt, it's not necessarily the best for a work shirt.
3. How to choose the right colors for your company shirts
This is a more important decision than most people realize. There is an entire field devoted to the psychology of colors and how they influence consumer behavior from a marketing perspective.
But take all this with a grain of salt and don't change your brand colors if they're already well established. There are simple reasons for choosing certain colors over others.
Is ash gray the right choice in the case of Big Jim the plumber ?
Remember that plumbing is a dirty job and on any given day a plumber can deal with all sorts of grease, grime and other things I don't need to mention. Dirt and stains can be embarrassing on a light-colored shirt, especially a white one.
Nobody wants to see that.
So while ash gray is a better choice than white, you face the same problem, just to a lesser extent.
Simple solution: Choose a dark shirt color. The darker, the better.
Brilliant, I know. It took me 15 years in the industry to gain this kind of knowledge.
Let's say Big Jim doesn't want black or charcoal, so we'll go with the classic and classy navy blue. The black ink he chose doesn't contrast enough with navy blue, so we change the ink color to white.
4. How to craft a message suitable for your corporate shirts
Basically, a t-shirt design is a message. It is important for a business to know what message you want to convey and to deliver that message with clarity and confidence. What message does Big Jim's design convey?
First, let's take a look at the most obvious message, which is the slogan in quotes: “Plumbers do it at the crack of dawn.”
It's a clever play on words and appeals to a certain demographic (me), but what does it do for the company? And what does it say to anyone who doesn't have a sense of silly humor? It could be perceived as clumsy or at least unprofessional.
So what should he say? We could use the other information from the business card: “Family owned and operated since 1995.”
It's a step up. It creates a feeling of trust and gives some additional information. But otherwise it is a passive statement and a cliché. What you really want to do is give the reader an instruction, also known as a call to action.
5. How to create a design suitable for your company shirts
Now we come to the overall design. You might be thinking: NOW we get to the design?
Every tip so far has been about designing the job correctly, or rather, ideally. But what if the customer wants to rethink the whole thing? What would we do if we had to start from scratch? Do we even want that?
There is something to be said for old designs and logos that have been around since the beginning of a company. But even the most established brands occasionally need a refresh. Some companies have gone through crazy transformations.
6. How to order the correct sizes and quantities of company shirts
You made it to my last tip, well done. This last tip is all about placing the right order. This can be a big question for a lot of people, and it's easy to mess up - that's why I wrote a whole post about sizing for group orders.
In this post I would like to briefly explain to you how this topic relates specifically to company shirts. Follow these simple rules and you won't mess up.