T-shirts are a staple in every company's swag offering. They're universally liked, and almost expected at most companies. But there are a couple of other factors that make t-shirts stand out as an important piece of every company swag offering.
Something that makes t-shirts stand out when considering company swag is that t-shirts enforce brand loyalty. Getting dressed is one of the first things people do in the morning, so if they’re putting on your t-shirt, they’re actively choosing to do so.
Think of it as a type of uniform. Putting on this company t-shirt and choosing to fly the brand colors is something that can evoke pride –– similar to putting on a team jersey. Putting on your company t-shirt indicates that you are a part of that team.
Something else unique to t-shirts is that they have a high perceived value, meaning that people typically think of them as being much more expensive than they are.
Think about it –– it’s perfectly normal to spend $20–$30 on a t-shirt at a store or online, but the cost per t-shirt when ordering in bulk is actually much less. So, what’s perceived as a high-value gift, in reality, can cost around $6-$7 per shirt.
Now, let’s go over some guidelines that will, without fail, land you a great company t-shirt. These rules can absolutely be broken, so if you have a really good idea and it bends/breaks one of these rules, that’s fine. But these guidelines will, for the most part, steer you in the right direction.
Sometimes, getting a t-shirt that everyone will want to wear is as simple as printing it on a soft, nice-fitting t-shirt. Take this t-shirt from Patreon for example.
There’s nothing magical about the design (it’s just their logo), but it’s printed on a great fitting, great feeling t-shirt (the Next Level 6210). The simplicity of the print and the neutral color palette make this design one that pretty much everyone will be down to wear.
"We decided on Real Thread because we wanted great looking, high-quality t shirts but needed reasonable pricing and quick delivery," says Jackie Cara, Communications & Marketing Strategist at ZR Per Diem. "The shirts came in above expectations, early and below budget!"
While simply putting your logo on a t-shirt can work under some circumstances, opting to actually create a t-shirt design can take your shirts from good to ones that are truly special.
Looking at the examples above (from InVision and ScaleFactor, respectively) these aren’t logos –– they’re rallying cries. They’re missions that people can get behind. And they’re also designed beautifully, in a way that makes people want to wear them.
We’ve written at length about this in the past, so we won’t dive too into it here. But here’s the TL;DR version:
Yes, women can fit into a unisex option, so it’s easier to just pick those, but it means a lot to give women the option of having a t-shirt that fits them. Having options available shows thoughtfulness and intent. Yes, t-shirts are trivial in this movement, but it helps shows that women have an equal place at your company.
Pro-tip, as long as the design stays the same, like in the example above from Palantir, it won’t even cost more. You’ll still receive the same bulk price breaks, and you’ll be promoting in a small but meaningful way, that women have a seat at the table in your workplace.
These additions go a long way in upping your t-shirt’s value. People receiving the t-shirt are really impressed by the retail-quality feel, and not to mention, they look awesome.
You should ask this question of every t-shirt before you decide to print it. If the answer’s yes, then give it the green light! If not, maybe step back and reassess. Abide by this rule and your t-shirts will be just fine.
There are a lot of bad company t-shirts out there, and that’s lead people to think that bad t-shirts are the normal –– but they don’t have to be! Company t-shirts that people enjoy wearing are well within reach.
At Real Thread, we help brands get custom t-shirts they’re proud and excited to wear. If you’d like more help picking out a t-shirt or starting a company t-shirt order, let us know! Our team would love to help you get started.