Blog, Industry Tips, Marketing, T-Shirts

How to Design a Promotional T-shirt for your Clothing Brand


Designing a promotional T-shirt may seem like simple business. When you’re designing a brand’s promotional T-shirt, you’re not designing a regular garment. Promotional material is supposed to look more than just cool and pretty, it is also meant to communicate and advertise the brand and/or product which means there are certain rules in place…


Once the boring part is over, it’s time to start drawing! Take out your sketchbook and let your ideas flow.

how-to-design-a-promotional-t-shirt-top-imageGetting Creative

When working with a brand that’s already got an established presence, it can be hard to get out of the comfort zone. As a designer, you may have the desire to do something different. This means presenting a creative option and then one or two more conventional idea(s). Just prepare your arguments for the more unique concepts, because must likely they won’t be open to it.

Working with fonts

Most marketing directors have a series of fonts they like to work with, while there are others who wouldn’t be able to distinguish a Verdana from a Times New Roman. If they already have a corporate font, then make sure you have access to it before you sit down to work. You wouldn’t want to make the investment yourself. Typefaces can be expensive!

cancer, relay for lifeWorking with Color Palettes

Similar to fonts, some brands will have designated color palettes while others won’t. Some may have a pantone code while others may just refer to the tones as “bright yellow” and “navy blue”. If you don’t have any color guidelines whatsoever then you’ll have to pick them yourself, but still that doesn’t mean you can just choose whatever you fancy.

Use graphics and illustrations wisely

Just because you’re working with a brand it doesn’t mean you can’t use illustrations and/or icons. The trick here is to stay within the realm of the brand. While you may not reference it directly by featuring a logo or a slogan, the images you choose still have to fit within the brand’s mythology.

Artwork must adapt to the final format

It does no one good to have an amazing design only for it not to be compatible with the final printing technique. It is important to keep in mind the embellishing process from the very beginnings of the creative process in order to avoid a setback.

If you’re not sure about the printing technique, then you could ask the person in charge of speaking with the suppliers or you could also speak directly with them.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

Related Posts