Designing the Right Promotional T-Shirt For Your Business

Designing the Right Promotional T-Shirt For Your Business

Thinking of designing a T-shirt? Promoting a business can benefit from the use of T-shirts, especially in sports-related businesses or events. The right T-shirt will call attention to your business or service, while creating a feeling of pride in the person wearing it.

You can give these branded products away free, while making a walking advertisement for your organization.

Here are some steps to ensure you are promoting your business with an effective design that is a positive choice for your brand. Since you probably already have a website and your business is growing, make it appealing with a T-shirt.

1. Think about your brand

Do you already have a logo? Do you have a symbol? Mickey Mouse was a great corporate symbol that was also fun in the 1950s. Talk with the group about why you need a T-shirt design. Do you have an event or conference coming up?

Is it a promotional give-away to your customers and prospective customers? Are you enhancing your brand? Will it be a souvenir for a meeting or event? T-shirts can also increase employee morale, especially when some workers are working from home. Making a good emotional connection might be one of the goals in designing an effective T-shirt.

2. Decide on a budget

Will the shirt be screen printed or have the addition of vinyl graphics? Figure out how many you will need, as that will affect the pricing. Your larger budget can include more details or more colors in the images.

Think of styles that might be appropriate; it might be long sleeved or have a V-neck. You might consider the season, especially if it is for a particular event.

4. Understand printing options

You might choose from the following methods when it comes to how much will be spent and the look you want:

  • On-demand
  • Screen printing
  • Vinyl graphics

On-demand printing is better for smaller batches; using an inkjet printer, colors are vivid and quality can be great, with detail and effectiveness. Screen printing, on the other hand, is more affordable, but costs can rise with the addition of every color, since each color requires a screen. Vinyl graphics is done through heat transfer and makes graphics stand out. Additional colors can add to costs. Vinyl printing is not good for very large orders.

5. Brainstorm design concepts

Think of what you want on the shirt; how it can be accomplished creatively. Typography? A saying or motto?

The design of the shirt itself might offer more ways to insert your message. Long sleeves and pockets offer places to add visual features. Take a marketing approach.

  • Who is your market
  • Why do you need a t-shirt in the first place
  • Think about your brand

6. Design in-house or find a freelancer

The important factor is to have the shirt look professional. It reflects on your business, so it might be worth hiring a person who knows color, type and design. The DIY model of T-shirt design is less expensive, but professional designers are trained in presenting great designs and getting the message across effectively.

7. Evaluate the design

Before the final printing, have your team decide on a final design. They should agree on the right approach. Your company is being represented, so members of the company should be heard before making a final decision.

8. Get the files together

Your designer should have files done for printing. They might be Illustrator and will be in vector format. AI, PDF, or EPS files are common. Speak with your printer for details. You’ll want to hire a quality printer that you can work with.

9. Get a sample, printed on a shirt

Especially if a large order, you want to see a sample before going ahead.


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.