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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

Is Your Corporate Swag On-Trend?

corporate swag header

If you offer an interesting service or product you’ve probably already experienced inquiries for your corporate swag. These kinds of fun promotional giveaways are a great way to make an emotional connection with your existing customers and make a quality impression on new customers and leads.

Many people that receive branded promotional items have a high level of recall for that company and hold a positive opinion for that business. However younger consumers have increasingly higher standards and expectations for companies they do business with. That’s why it’s more important than ever to evaluate how your brands reputation is reflected in the corporate swag you intend to giveaway for promotions.

corporate swag

While it’s true that corporate giveaways draw crowds at events and conventions, making sure your corporate swag is on trend and high quality will help build your brand identity. The core concept here is quality and how that relates to the perception of your brand. People are gravitating towards brands that are genuine and display core values that reflect their own aspirations.

To make sure your swag echoes the perception you’re trying to build you need to figure out what your customer’s value most. If you’re business is like ours, custom t-shirt printing, your customer could be literally anyone. To meet that challenge, you can look at society as a whole and the trends that are leading consumer intentions.

U.S. consumers in aggregate are looking for meaning and experience in their lives. The recession took its toll on American consumers and the volatility of the political and economic climate in the last decade has had an impact as well. People are responding to brands that have high standards. This means the corporate swag you choose needs to project these ideals.

discussing details

The demand for quality and authenticity is not restricted to gender either. Men are becoming more fashion conscience and women that usually were the purchasers are supporting this. Even if your ideal customer are primarily men, when considering a unisex option for corporate swag, don’t make the mistake of thinking any old t-shirt will do. It’s simply not true. In fact online forums dedicated to men’s fashion like Styleforum and MaleFashionAdvice have hundreds of thousands of active members seeking to learn about fashionable male clothing.

You should also put yourself in their shoes, or in this case, their t-shirt and reflect objectively how you feel about that product. Don’t approach this with a price per t-shirt mindset. Think about the cut, quality, and feel of the t-shirt. Is it something you’d feel comfortable in all day? Is it itchy, too heavy, or too thin for comfort? Does it stretch or is it stiff? Is it a t-shirt product that is currently trendy like heathered tees or triblends? Is it a brand that your customers would recognize and associate with value like Bella + Canvas or Next Level?

create a great design

Quality and value should be easy to recognize in the development of your design and messaging on the print of the t-shirt. Take time to create a design that will be appealing to your customers. This means considering how much information you will put on the t-shirts. If you do a two-sided print obviously you’ll have twice the space but it is more costly. Don’t get carried away with the self-promotion either. Adding too much to the design can detract from would otherwise be a beautifully branded tee. Do you really need all your social handles, email address, website address, phone number, and physical address on a t-shirt? Pick a few of your most important channels of contact or the channels you’re really trying to grow and leave it at that.

Will your t-shirt giveaway be useful to the recipient? People have tons of choices when it comes to apparel so when you give someone branded corporate swag, it has to be exceptional for it to be worn. In most cases there has to be some emotional connection to your brand in the first place. However, if your design is amazing and the t-shirt products you choose to have us print it on is top quality, you have the chance to have non-customers market for you.

You may have heard about the fashion phenomena sparked by the DHL logo in 2016. All of sudden it was a must have and legitimate DHL delivery men were in danger of getting rolled for their uniform. While your branded t-shirt might not reach that level of demand, trends on the runway have a trickle-down effect to the streets and corporate swag has gained a whole new spectrum of interest and desirability. That is of course, if it’s produced as high quality merchandise.

When you provide something that is useful and on trend, sentiment towards your brand is reinforced. You make a statement about your company with the swag you give. You are saying to the world that your company cares about its reputation.

Another aspect to consider is how your customer sees your company’s impact on the environment. If you choose t-shirts products that are sustainable like American Apparel’s Unisex Organic Fine Jersey Classic T-shirt or Alternative Apparel’s Organic Cotton Basic Crew you are demonstrating that your company is responsible and takes initiative to lead the way towards a sustainable future.

Marketing your company appropriately to the desired audience requires more than a last minute brainstorm for swag giveaway ideas. When you choose to promote your business with custom printed t-shirts it’s essential to consider how your company will be regarded. Precisely, if you want to be perceived as a quality company that is interested in authenticity and provides a useful service or product, make sure your corporate swag acts as an ambassador for your company.

6 T-Shirt Designers for Social Good

Selling what you support is easier than selling who you are. Asking for support for causes that you feel passionate about is usually easier when you’re able to involve the donor emotionally. People like to feel good about themselves as it involves their identity. Even if they sympathize with the cause, getting people to part from their money is often easier done when it’s more of an exchange. We’ve found a list of 6 t-shirt designers for social good that are doing just that and very well. Here’s some information about their causes and how they are successfully elevating worthy causes in conjunction with marketing their talents, ideologies and brands.

The artist only identified as Olivia is probably the most grass roots style supporter in this post. She heard about the story of Malala and used her artistic abilities to design and hand print t-shirts to help the Malala Fund. Learning how to print with the labor intensive method called linocut printing, she was able to raise over $700 to help spread the inspirational movement Malala ignited. Malala’s story is an amazing one. The young Pakistani girl was targeted for death by the Taliban after it was revealed she was the author of a blog defending the rights of Pakistani girls to receive an education. She was shot in the head but survived and went on to be an global advocate for girls that are denied access to education because of political, religious, or social factors. Olivia, the artist and designer of the t-shirt was featured on the Malala Fund Blog for her efforts. #YesAllGirls

Arm the Animals was established following the death of the founder’s sister, a lifetime pet rescuer and advocate for animals. When initially forming, the company developed relationships with organizations by attending all sorts of animal advocacy events. With the intention of making the most significant impact possible, the company focusses on donating part of their revenue to smaller animal rescue organizations.

The t-shirt designs that Arm the Animals develop are intended to be thought provoking without being politically motivated since the people that care about animals are highly diverse.

Through the magic of social media and the power of word of mouth, they attracted star followers like Jessica Alba and Taylor Kinney. Their designs may appear provocative to many but the intention is raise awareness. A cat with a grenade or wolf behind the site of a rifle makes a powerful and memorable statement. #armtheanimals

The Parative Project was started so it could provide dignified work as an alternative for people trapped, tricked, and sold by their family into the sex trade. Human trafficking and poverty devastates the lives of millions. The project tells a story backwards as their designs are meant to fortify and empower the makers of the tees while helping them to develop work skills and grow their business through the freedom of employment. #theparativeproject

#enditmovement photo: @abigaildriscoll

A photo posted by Drew Oxley (@parative) on

The Word Changes is based out of Boston and uses single printed words on their t-shirts to convey positive action, thought, and motivation. Words have different meanings to people so the impact can be vary on the person who wears the design and the person who reads it. The line features power words like success, courage, and fearless. Two-thirds of the profits go towards supporting children and young adults with issues like hunger and the pursuit of higher education. The founder of The Word Changes, Antoinette Rodney, is passionate about motivating change in her local community and also features uplifting stories from all over on the company’s blog. #thewordchanges #oneWord

You can do it! #VICTORY✌

A photo posted by oneWORD at a time! (@thewordchanges) on

Vivid Roots was started by four best friends from Idaho to address the lack of access to clean drinking water for nearly 1 billion people in the world. Children are the most vulnerable to sickness and death caused by dirty water they ingest. Currently Vivid Roots works to provide clean water through the development of wells and distribution systems in Guatemala and Ecuador. They’ve partnered with Rotary clubs that match every donation sourced from their t-shirt sales by x7! Beyond providing lifesaving access to clean water, they work with local contractors to implement these systems which boost the local economies. #WaterForLife #LiveVividly

Cotopaxi is all about sustainable poverty alleviation. They’ve identified issues that need to be addressed to make change happen but more importantly sustain the recovery including health, education and the ability to make a living. The groups, communities, and partners they work with must exhibit the ability to scale, report, and most importantly, make a positive impact with the support they receive. A minimum of 10% of their profit goes to its nonprofit partners. Their products are high quality and affordable which allows people with varying budgets to do something for others while purchasing a cool piece of gear. #GearForGood #Cotopaxi

Last Sail before the Veil and More Wedding Season Inspiration

Weddings are all about personalization and the trend in unusual themes, far-out locations, atypical bridal gowns, and non-traditional wedding dates are all becoming perfectly acceptable if not even the norm.

Wedding season is now basically any season, and weddings and all the celebrations surrounding them in general are now all inclusive and all-encompassing affairs, including co-ed bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Theme weddings have also become extremely popular as people are more free to be expressive than ever before. Many trendy themes are based upon popular culture. Sometimes themes are far less conventional. While the timeless and classic wedding will always have its place, having the social acceptance to be imaginative sparks some very interesting ideas like Zombie, Carnival, and Steampunk themed weddings and parties.

Some themes can be based around color combinations like turquoise and coral or unusual applications of color like a wedding dress with an ombre fringe.

coral and turqouise color combo

Have you heard of wedding hashtags? It’s a really inventive way to get guests to participate in your wedding. Check out this service that collects all your hashtagged photos from Instagram and Twitter and displays a live feed at your wedding! Plus, you get to download all the great pics! You can build up momentum for your own personalized hashtag with t-shirts or totes that feature the hashtag. Give them away at the wedding or prenuptial events like the rehearsal dinner, bachelor and bachelorette parties.

hashtag wedding t-shirt

Bachelorette and bachelor parties don’t have to be a night of excess either. Since many couples share lots of friends its more and more common to have a co-ed party. Co-ed parties call for a little more creativity to keep everyone entertained and feel included. Here’s a few that could work.

A psychic or metaphysical party – Invite a fortune teller and bust out the Ouija board.

Role Playing Games – These can be very rich and thematic engrossing the players; you just might have to have follow up parties.

Mixology – A lot of people have flirted with the idea of bartending because it looks sexy and exciting. Hire a professional to teach everyone a few smooth moves.

Cabin in the Woods – Not only is this awesome because you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving, the woods naturally lend adventure with hiking, fishing, building fires, and barbecuing.

Brewery Tours – This can be a really cheap way to spend an evening since many breweries offer free tasting. Find out if a few are offering tasting tours on the same day to extend the party.

Beer Yoga – If you’re not sure about visiting a bunch of breweries, check out beer and yoga. Stretch out the pre-marital nerves and follow up with some tasty brew.

Cruise – There are lots of options for cruises and these can be fairly inexpensive considering all that is included, especially if you’re located near the port. The last sail before the veil t-shirt souvenir is incredibly popular for this idea.

For more inspiration, check out our entire collection of wedding event t-shirt and tank top templates.

Our Favorite Fashion Oriented Kickstarter Projects

Lots of people love Kickstarter because of the creativity and innovation behind submitted projects. Kickstarter is a website where people are allowed to submit inspired ideas to gain financial backing to help with the development of their project. Creators are required to come up with a compelling story explaining what their ideas is, what problems it will solve, and a plan of action once they’ve raised enough money to meet their goal. Participants are also required to build rewards for different levels of support. This interactive model between inventor and patron is the power behind the success of this site.

One of our favorite categories is fashion. Here you can find prototypes for new fabrics, new functionality for familiar items of clothing, and even scientific applications for clothing.

Here are a few of the latest projects we think are noteworthy:

The Ultimate Merino Running Jacket

Kevin Zhu was looking for functionality, fit, and style when it came to running jackets but wasn’t impressed by what was available on the market. That’s where the inspiration for The Ultimate Merino Running Jacket came from. Merino wool is an ideal fabric for the environment given that it is natural, renewable and biodegradable. It also naturally adapts to body temperature making it desirable for physical activities. All the things you need to carry as a runner has its own compartments, and even special functionality for modern accoutrements such as cell phones and ear buds. Did we mention that it’s water resistant?

The Original Pocket Running Tights

Because a lot of our customers are buyers for team sports, of course we’re interested in The Original Pocket Running Tights. Tired of buying fashion tights on top of functional sporting wear? These tights are suitable for both outdoor sports and indoor fashion. Plus it features a pocket to replace the need for an armband if you’re using your phone to listen to music or track activity. Don’t worry about losing your device due to vigorous exercise, these tights use a 360° Flex CoreFit with compression properties to keep it in place. You’ll not only look great, you’ll feel great with flat lock stitching to enhance circulation.

Hanger & Cloth: An American Movement

Who doesn’t want more fashionable garments made in the U.S.? This indie company is trying to bring awareness to the cause and bring more manufacturing home to the U.S., and not just manufactured here, but manufactured with quality and American preferences for look, fit, and feel. They offer the staples and a few unusual pieces that compliment any gender.

BiBi Club: Select the look, girl!

We’re all about customization and are fascinated by this great idea for little girl's clothing. It’s based on the concept of paper dolls where one can switch out the clothing of the base doll. In this case, the doll is on the shirt and the user can switch out the dress she wears because it’s held on by Velcro. Each t-shirt comes with an assortment of changeable dresses to vary up the look of the t-shirt. We think this will be a big hit with girls 12 and under.


Last but not least and close to our screen printing hearts is this coffee inspired tee. The “ink” they use is actually specially formulated and the primary ingredient is coffee grounds. From what we can see, it gives the print an antiqued, retro look and supposedly holds up to wear. Kudos to these guys who have been working on the development of their specialty inking process for more than four years!

How to Develop Your Own Personal Brand with Style in 5 Easy Steps

Developing a unique and memorable personal brand is a new concept which has been primarily accelerated by the digital age. We’re used to associating the term, "brand" with companies, but it’s becoming increasingly important for individuals to promote their own particular style of brand to stand out from the competition. The competition is just about everyone else.

But how does one go about becoming a singular force in a sea of other creative and edgy people that are competing for jobs, new clients, and opportunities? Here's how to develop your own personal brand with style in 5 easy steps.

  1. Craft a tagline by identifying your unique talents and who you want to be

    What makes you more capable than the average person? How do you see those gifts shaping who you want to be in your personal and professional life? Compose a tagline that embodies all of these concepts.

  2. Manifest this tagline in your wardrobe

    If you see yourself as artsy, you need to reflect this in your personal wardrobe. To truly set yourself apart, you can create your own custom t-shirts with original artwork and it doesn’t need to cost and arm and leg. If you see yourself as thought leader, you can incorporate clothing that uses bold statements that back up this aspect of your personality.

  3. Develop a routine

    Looking good doesn’t happen naturally for all of us. It takes time to look your best each day so make it a goal to wake up each morning with plenty of time to make apparel and grooming choices that follow the personal branding path you’re creating.

  4. Create and maintain a personal website

    It is the digital age and people want to be able to quickly assess what kind of person their dealing with. Whether as a prospective employer, a potential client, or even if your being considered as a candidate for a new social adventure. Update your website with activities, success stories, and your education. Don’t forget to personalize it by sharing memorable details about yourself, this is your brand.

  5. Get professional headshots

    This may sound extreme in a society that values the authenticity and ingenuity of the Mark Zuckerber’s of the world. If you’re trying to exude individuality, you don’t want it to backfire by looking simply ordinary. A professional photographer should understand how to best capture the identity you’re trying to build by instructing you on facial expression and providing the right environment. Use these headshots consistently in all of your online profiles so you become consistently recognizable.