Branded apparel is oftentimes a fun way to get a message about a company, product, or service out there. But, there's more to branded apparel design that slapping your logo onto a t-shirt. Here are 5 ways you can try to get better results.
Think About How It Will Be Used
You should consider who you need to wear the apparel and when and where they're going to wear it. If you want folks at a corporate conference to wear your branded apparel around the building, for example, going with something like a windbreaker might be a better choice than a t-shirt. Conversely, a home remodeling company that wants to advertise to potential workers ought to invest in trucker hats because skilled laborers will always add another hat to their rotation.
Cheap junk reflects poorly on your organization. Also, the goal is to get unearned and unpaid advertising over and over. A hoodie that lasts a decade, for example, will provide more advertising than one that doesn't even make it to the end of spring. In the short run, it will cost you more. However, the returns for quality materials and manufacturing processes will grow over the years.
Move Beyond the Logo
There's nothing inherently wrong with logo-based branded apparel design, but it shouldn't be your only option. A simple and short slogan can blow the doors off of messaging. Nike's "Just Do It" has gone from a slogan to its own product line, netting the company additional profits.
Simplifying and riffing on your main logo is another approach. You might want to use just one element of the logo.
Keep the Design Simple
Corporate branding is an especially specific form of messaging. If a child couldn't roughly redraw the entire design from memory, it is probably too complex. Use a color palette of one to four colors, and that includes shades and tones. Avoid photographic elements that might not translate well to apparel. If letters have to be stitched, use simple fonts to prevent ugly edges and fraying.
Define Your Purpose
Answer this question: do you need to build and maintain brand recognition, support a cause, or create a revenue stream? Only give one answer.
If your brand isn't recognized, for example, no one will know what causes you support. Build recognition first and then develop goodwill. If you want to use this branded appeal to create a revenue stream, wait until the other two aims have been reached.