Airbrushed flames look great on the hood of an old classic muscle car, but not so much on T-shirts. Neither do busy graphics that look too complex or messy. You know what I’m talking about. You have seen those types of T-shirts and wondered what the person was thinking when they came up with that design. Sometimes, less is more. In fact, when it comes to graphic design, there could not be a more truer statement. Gone are the days of flashy, busy, intricate patterns that catch the eye and woo the prospect with great imagery. Now, simple, clever designs are what is necessary.
To do that, we should take a head nod from the Apple Corporation. Think of your T-shirt design as an iPhone. You want to design your shirt in much the same way that Apple packages the iPhone. They are marketing masters, and their packaging works for one great reason… It is very simple.
Say What You Mean. Right off the bat, when you purchase an iPhone, nothing is left to the imagination as to what is inside. The box clearly states that the phone is inside. In fact, that is all that the box says. There are no phrases like “new and improved”, or “faster and better”, to be found anywhere on the box. Nope, just the word iPhone and the model number. Think of your T-shirt in much the same way. If you have a slogan, rather than try to dress it up with fancy script or pop several images around it, simply say what you mean. Choose a typeface that stands out and let the font speak for itself.
Minimal Logo. Isn’t it ironic that the Apple logo does not have flames shooting from its stem, or wings lifting it up to the heavens. There are no tertiary images associated with the logo, simply an apple with a bite taken out of it. Think about that when you go to place your logo. If you have an intricate logo, work to scale it down to the image that is most iconic or representative of your brand. This could be a reinvention of sorts, or a reinterpretation of your logo for a specific event you are putting on, say at Christmas or Halloween.
Customer Engagement. Apple’s packaging is designed to let users engage its product. There are very little instructions on the inside, if any. The product itself is the instruction. Think of that when you are designing your T-shirts. Rather than filling the back of the shirt with a ton of information about your company or product, consider statements like “Ask me how”, or “I can help”, to allow customers the freedom to engage your staff. Then, let the staff explain the product or service that your business offers. There is much more potential to close a sale that way rather than letting company employees wear T-shirts packed with graphical product information.
Approaching your T-shirt design like this will yield a product that is engaging, fresh, and insightful. Customers will appreciate the fact that you took time to recognize them as a potential buyer. You can almost hear your cash register ringing up sales now can’t you?
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