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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

How to Use Color Theory for T-Shirt Designs

color theory for t-shirt designs

We’re all somewhat familiar with how colors can affect emotion. Using colors to our advantage in any sort of marketing including branded business t-shirts is a sophisticated approach. How colors are perceived by individuals is subjective to their own personal experiences. However, some colors are commonly known to have specific influences over emotions in general. Colors are an intimate and inseparable part of how consume the world around us.

Several colors can affect multiple emotional responses. This can be in conjunction with other color combinations or alone. For instance, black by itself is frequently associated with luxury or elegance. But pairing it with gray derives an elegant and masculine feel.

Some colors are highly popular regardless of a person’s age or background while some other colors popularity are directly impacted by factors like culture and geography.

Bright colors are typically associated with positive energy like happiness and strength while dark colors are associated with malevolence or sadness.

The color black while widely associated with darker emotions is quite popular amongst younger people. If your target demographic for t-shirt sales is a youthful segment, then black should be considered in your designs, whether as part of the graphic or the color of the t-shirt product.

If you’re trying to create a feeling with your t-shirt design, also consider that colors convey temperature. Blues and greens are cool. Reds, oranges, and yellows are decidedly warmer.

Rarely does a color invoke zero emotional response. Green is one of the most popular colors because it’s associated with feelings of calmness and serenity.

Yellow is associated with happiness, energy, and positivity. Blue is next on the scale of positive emotional impact relaying feelings of peace and tranquility. Blue can also invoke a negative response with its relation to sadness and isolation.

Red is in the middle of the emotional spectrum with lots of positivity with its relation to love and romance but also exudes the other end of the emotional spectrum with feelings of anger and rage.

Purple is on the lower end of the popularity scale with emotional responses ranging from tranquility to boredom. Here is an infographic with colors and the emotions they can elicit. Feel free to share online or download to print.

psychology of color inforgraphic




Want your Company Swag to be Valued? Make it Impressive!

discerning customer

You might think company swag should consist of “stuff” with your logo on it. That’s a flawed way to view it and here’s why. Your company swag should wow and delight the people for whom it’s intended. This can’t be accomplished if you throw your logo on cheap stuff just to say, “here’s our swag, now take it” in hopes that people will remember your business when they need your product or services. Likewise, if you choose cheap swag for your employees, they’re going to feel less than enthused about marketing your business on their own free time. These are the usual goals for giving out company swag. Either you want a current or potential customer to keep you top of mind should they need something or you want your employees to market for you by wearing branded company apparel.

Putting thought into the type of branded giveaways your company will offer should be your first priority. Corporate giveaways should reflect how you want people to view your business. Think of promotional giveaways as any other form of advertising you do to gain recognition, branding, and views for your business message. You want any advertising that you do to reflect your brand with integrity and be perceived as valuable so here are the guidelines on how to achieve that with branded swag.

Starting off with a high quality t-shirt product matters a lot in the world of printed apparel. Fit, feel, and fabric are more important than you may have imagined. Perceptions of quality can be highly varied depending on the end recipient. Some people may believe a heavy-duty fabric is the qualifier for high quality while others will judge on the softness of the tee as a signal for quality.

To understand what type of product your intended recipient will value as high quality, it’s helpful to gain insight from an expert in printed apparel. Our customer service team is well versed in not only the products we have on site, but products that are available to us through a score of vendors. With years of experience and helping thousands of customers we have a cumulative knowledge base that’s hard to match.

It’s also important to evaluate your intended recipients yourself. The demographic can matter. Factors such as age, location, and intention of use can impact what product to choose. For example, performance wear would make sense if there is an athletic oriented purpose for the t-shirts. An event for Greek Week could best be served with fashion forward choices like Hanes ComfortWash . A conference for digital marketers could call for a Bella+Canvas triblend crew t-shirt .

People certainly do like free things. But giving something away just to give it away won’t have the long lasting impression you’re looking to achieve if it ends up at the bottom of a drawer or dropped off at a thrift store in a few weeks because it’s perceived as lower quality. People like nice free things that make them look good and feel good wearing it.

metallic silver print

Quality giveaways like branded t-shirts present the opportunity to be seen by multitudes of individuals if the recipient feels it’s valuable. A nice product featuring a nice print can take you pretty far towards this goal. For some audiences, an extra level of value can be accomplished with specialty ink applications. Some of these are glitter, metallic, crystalina, sugar, glow-in-the-dark, and puffy prints. All of these applications can add a very high quality factor to your swag.

crystalina print

The ultimate in value added branding for corporate apparel is embroidery. It’s is the Cadillac of apparel embellishment and can be more costly. Consider this option for high end giveaways to top clients or employee uniforms in a more corporate environment.

Choosing high-end embellishment could even catapult your business t-shirts into a product that people would want to pay money for. It’s best to test the waters before ordering a bulk order though. A minimum order of 12 pieces could allow you to evaluate the demand if you have somewhere you could showcase these pieces for sale. If there is high demand, ordering in bulk would increase your profit per shirt since the printing price drops with the addition of each shirt.

Another way to add value and create a connection through your corporate swag is to add personal touches like hang tags with prompts to follow your company on social or secret printed messages in the label area.

Your brand’s personality should be on display with the business t-shirt giveaways you have printed. There is nothing wrong with sharing a sense of humor or even using designs that are not tightly focused on your logo or services. Sometimes a quirky slogan or fanciful design can instigate questions about your business that may have never come about with the obvious logo t-shirt.

Consider alternative cuts and fits for your branded t-shirts that will include a larger demographic like women’s cuts, v-necks, extended and plus sizes, and even options for infants and toddlers. Nothing is cuter and more noticeable than a baby wearing your brand!

Now that you understand what brings value to your business t-shirts, consider getting your tees printed by a company that really understands customer satisfaction as well. We work hard to earn the business of professional companies both large and small. We understand how important it is to not cause disappointment and provide a top quality print job as well as the importance of delivering on time for your functions and events. Please contact us for individualized service and custom quotes that will make sense for your needs whatever they may be.

Banishing Negativity and Encouraging Positivity – The Birth of a Clothing Line

Malique Hawkins Clothing Line

Sometimes our customers share back stories about why they are designing a shirt. We love to hear them and are continually amazed, moved, and inspired by some of the motivation behind a custom t-shirt design. In the case of Malique Hawkins, we had not heard his story but could sense there was a whole lot of awesomeness to reveal if we asked the right questions. We reached out to him to learn how he was using his t-shirt designs and learned that this young entrepreneur is not only using his t-shirt for business, but to help promote a really positive message. Here’s the entire scoop of what we learned from this truly impressive young man.

What were you involved with that inspired you to create The Movement Clothing?

Although I’m only 16, I have been public speaking for eleven years; I was 7 years old when my public speaking journey began. I speak on topics regarding social injustice and how to overcome it. The Movement Clothing falls perfectly in line with the message of combatting the negative forces we face while bringing awareness to issues plaguing our communities.

Malique Hawkins 1

What problem did you see that needed to be addressed?

The main problems I saw were the four (4) areas that I focus on in my business: bullying, suicide, racism, and violence. When we come together to promote positivity, regardless of race, gender, age, or religion, we can do something about these issues and hopefully make a change.

Is there anything you feel is unique about your approach to addressing these issues?

I think the most unique thing about my business is the fact that it’s a clothing line that promotes positivity and unity in our negative world. We often see people speak about various issues and/or write about them, but this is different. By creating a clothing line with apparel that is aesthetically pleasing while also spreading the message of positivity, the idea of “No Negativity, Promote Positivity”, becomes a lifestyle for those who wear the clothing. Not only do they know they’re wearing the shirt for a good cause, but they actually want to wear the shirt simply for style purposes.

Malique Hawkins 2

What are some of the biggest hurdles you've faced creating momentum for The Movement?

The biggest hurdle I have faced has simply been getting people to jump on board and support The Movement. People put their money in a lot of different places, so I have had to work hard to get people to recognize my vision and support it. I often hear people say, “I don’t need another t-shirt!” My response to this, “It’s not just another t-shirt; it’s a Movement!” I also believe people think I’m just doing this for the money, which prevents them from purchasing a shirt. In reality, however, I do this because I love it and awareness needs to be brought to the issues of bullying, suicide, racism, and violence.

Who has inspired you on your journey?

I have been inspired by the many people who have lost their lives to suicide, racism, bullying, and violence in the Hampton Roads area (Virginia) and across the world. Their stories prove there is still a lot of work to do. Therefore, I have to do my part and keep promoting positivity in a world that desperately needs it.

What's the best advice you could give someone looking to make positive changes in their community?

The best piece of advice I could give someone looking to make positive changes in their community is to just do it. This may seem cliché and even sound like I’m making it simpler than it really is, but I’m not. I decided I wanted to make t-shirts to promote positivity. After finding the money, doing some market research, and coming up with my logo, I placed my first order approximately one week after coming up with the idea. Now, I can honestly say I am a successful entrepreneur. The biggest key is just taking the first step.

Malique Hawkins 4

How did you come up with design for your t-shirts?

I chose a tornado for The Movement Clothing’s logo. When I think about a tornado, the first thing that comes to mind is how powerful it is. I knew this would be the perfect logo for my clothing line. When we all come together and promote positivity and unity in our negative world, we can make a dramatic change and make things move like a tornado does. The rest of the shirts’ design came with me trying different styles until I found the one I thought looked the best.

Malique Hawkins 5

What role do custom t-shirts have in furthering positivity?

My shirts and visors can play a big role in furthering positivity because it is a mobile billboard for the cause. Someone seeing the message, “No Negativity, Promote Positivity”, on the back of my shirts or on the front of my visors can be encouraged to promote positivity themselves. It could also be a simple reminder to do the right thing versus going through with something bad they were planning to do that day.

Malique Hawkins 6

What are your plans for the future?

In the future, I plan to continue to bring awareness to these issues through speaking engagements, participating in events, and working to expand The Movement Clothing to a national business. Right now, The Movement is in 26 states, which means we have a little less than half of the nation to go. I plan to reach much bigger audiences and get more exposure so I can spread the message of “No Negativity, Promote Positivity” to people everywhere. When this happens, we can all take a stand collectively against bullying, suicide, racism, and violence.

Malique Hawkins 7

What is the going rate for a Movement shirt or visor?

I want to keep the cost affordable, so The Movement Clothing shirts start at $15. Shirts are currently available in short sleeve in various colors (adult sizes small through XL are $15 and 2X and 3X are $20). Visors are currently available in black and white for $15. Long sleeve shirts have been removed from my website for the summer; however, long sleeve shirts start at $20. Adult sizes small through XL are $20 and 2X and 3X are $25. People can visit my website to see what’s in stock and to make purchases: Orders ship within 24 hours for orders received Monday through Friday.

Malique Hawkins 7

Where can people find you and The Movement?


Instagram: @TheMovementClothing and @MaliqueHawkins

YouTube: Malique Hawkins and MTM Entertainment

Facebook: Malique Hawkins

TV Interviews about The Movement:

Rush Order T-shirts – A Guide to Guaranteed Delivery

Rush order t-shirts header

We take our ability to deliver great customer service very seriously. That’s why we know it’s important to set our customers’ expectations appropriately when it comes to deliverability of printed apparel. We know that there are timeline emergencies even when it comes to ordering custom t-shirts. Occasionally, rush order tees are a necessity. We try to help out as much as we can by offering three different deliver by date options including “lightning” delivery in 3 business days. We guarantee our dates and in some cases we even delivery earlier than scheduled. Having an agile team of customer service reps, artists and printers makes us stand out in a competitive landscape. However, educating our customers on timelines is very empowering. Our goal is to give you the tools to order like a ninja. That’s why we’re putting this guide together to help you understand what’s at stake when you need custom t-shirts fast!

When you find yourself in a pinch these pro tips should help you have all your ducks together for a stress free ordering scenario. Don’t worry, even if you don’t have everything just yet, we’ll do all that we can on our side to help get the right information to us to process your order as quickly as possible.

Have a solid idea of what you want – When you’re looking to get t-shirts fast, knowing what you want is going to speed things up immensely. What makes t-shirt orders drag along is when there is a lot of going back and forth between you, your customer service representative and the artist involved in the order. Although we offer fantastic advice on all things related to t-shirt design and products, sharing your vision from the get-go will help everyone zero in on the perfect solution, fast.

Know how much you can spend – It doesn’t make sense for your sales person to offer you products and print applications that are too far out of your budget. While we do offer many types of products, having an estimated budget will help us narrow down our recommendations. Even down to the brand. With our knowledge of apparel products we can quickly ascertain what brands will fall in the realm of the price point you need to be at.

Have all assets on hand –If you know you’ll be submitting artwork, have those files ready to go on a moment’s notice. A huge part of our process is getting the artwork prepped for screens. Unfortunately if we’re given low resolution artwork, we either need to recreate the art which can be time consuming, or wait until you’ve been able to contact the artist who originally created the art to get it in a suitable format for printing. On a side note, when you have custom art created for you by an artist, try to get the artwork in as many file formats as you can so the artwork can be reproduced in a variety of mediums like print and web.

Specifics on colors – If you know you need an exact color, please deliver the information as a Pantone (PMS) color. HEX, CMYK, and RGB are not suitable for color matching on printed apparel. The matching system was formulated with the garment printing industry in mind. If you rely on the way a color appears on a computer monitor you could be surprised with the results. The only way to know for sure is to reference a PMS book in person with your own eyeballs.

Rush order t-shirt instructions

Give us all the details – If you need your shirts for a specific function or event, sharing that information will help us determine what products would best suit your needs. For example, if you need custom t-shirts fast for the new construction crew starting work on a big job your contracting firm just landed, we would recommend a really sturdy t-shirt like the Hanes Beef T which can stand up to a lot of repeat washing and has a thick feel to it. If your rush t-shirt order is for a dance team, we might recommend performance wear like the Sport-Tek PosiCharge Competitor Tee or trendy eye-catching neon colors like The Concert Tank by District.

Have your quantity finalized – Once an order is placed in our system, that is our green light to go, particularly in a rush situation, your order will be queued ahead of other orders. That means the blank apparel product will be ordered in most cases on the same day. If you add more sizes or make changes to the order quantity, it can throw a wrench in the works and cause delays. Our warehouse is a finely oiled machine. The days print jobs are laid out ahead of schedule and an entire press cannot sit idly by while we wait half the day for the straggler products to arrive. If you must add more pieces to the order the deliver by date might have to change or other methods of print like direct-to-garment may need to be utilized and those pieces shipped as their own order using this alternative method of decoration.

Know your shipping address – Sometimes a rush order for custom t-shirts comes from a surprise event like a last minute decision to participate in a trade show. Knowing where you need the goods shipped is critical to receiving them in time. A change to the final delivery address even after the product has been shipped isn’t unheard of, but depending on the flexibility of the courier, it can cause a hiccup in delivery time.

Payment – If you’re stuck with a last minute custom t-shirt need, be prepared to pay by a method that offers the least hurdles. That is a credit card. Checks take time to reach us by mail and we don’t start production without payment. We do accept purchase orders from schools, municipalities, and government organizations but if you can pay by credit card, it’s the way to go for super-fast processing.

The last tip might seem like a no-brainer but your availability will be critical to ensuring a fast turnaround. If we’ve told you we will send an email or call for further verification on aspects of your order, look out for it and be prepared to reply. If you have requested a photo of the first shirt, you need to be available by phone at the time of the scheduled print. Setting up a press for screen print takes time and if you miss your window for approval, we tear it down and rebuild for another print job. Waiting on that job to finish could mean the difference of an entire day and when your timeline is crucial that could ruin your event.