9 tips for designing your perfect startup swag T-shirt

One of the most dominant trends among startup companies is the swag T-shirts with company brand and messaging. In recent years, the swag T-shirt has become a trademark among entrepreneurs and teams.

The shirts are used as a branding and marketing tool but also for cultivating team spirit and a sense of belonging, as well as creating prominence at conferences and events they attend.

The swag shirt ensures that the company’s name remains visible on portrait photos, during video shooting, on-site, or on a TV interview.

It seems simple but designing a shirt that serves its purpose effectively is not always straightforward. It starts from the design, choice of color, and font size, and continues to locating it in the right place on the shirt, where it will stand out and many people will notice it.

These tips will help you design the perfect swag shirt:

  1. Stand Out – Ensure that the logo’s colors stand out from a distance by designing it in contrasting colors.

Pale colors such as yellow, green, or light blue may go unnoticed. Red, black, blue, or white colors will look great on black or white shirts, creating color contrast.

Avoid combining a dark logo color on a dark shirt (blue on black; brown on black will simply not work. White on black, red on black, or orange on black can pass nicely).

  1. Use the company’s name, not icons: The logo may consist of an icon and company name, but since most startups’ brand is in its infancy and you cannot be sure the icon is already identified or associated with the product yet, the name is what should be prominent. Not the icon.
  2. Put an outline sentence. You may have a young, unfamiliar, and unknown brand. Most people might not even know what the company is about. Therefore, it is advised to incorporate a company outline which helps better understand what it is all about.
  3. Make sure the company name is large and prominent when designing the logo and choosing the print size (at least 10-15 cm in height and for the entire width of the shirt).
  4. Location. Location. Location. When designing a company logo T-shirt, it is incredibly important to put the logo in the right place.

It is recommended to put the logo in the chest height area (armpit line). Any lower and the logo will be hidden when folding hands or sitting. When taking a portrait photo or appearing on TV, the chest height logo will fit in the frame. Everything lower will not.

Have you designed a beautiful icon or illustration? No problem. It should be lower than chest height, below or next to the logo. It should not replace the company’s name.

  1. More is Less. Don’t overload the shirt.

The company name, icon, and possibly a descriptive sentence are more than enough.

  1. “He who looks at me from behind does not know who I am” (from “The Sixteenth Sheep” by Jonathan Geffen). For this reason, you should consider printing a logo on the back of the shirt as well. Imagine you are in an exhibition. Your company’s brand will show from a distance, even in cases where people don’t see you face to face.
  2. Select an appropriate print quality. Digital printing has the advantage of lasting longer and costing cheaper when printing big quantities.
  3. Personalization. Some people don’t like to wear T-shirts, especially if they’re not the right size or style. Invest in high-quality shirts that are fashionable and come in a variety of sizes, to suit both men and women.
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