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Branded T-Shirts Done Correctly

Eloise Design Co Sedona Tshirts

Branded t-shirts are an investment and can have great brand awareness capabilities … if done well. We are going to use t-shirts as our example but these principles apply to all branded apparel. We see young brands design the wrong shirt for the wrong strategy and then they sit on a lot of extra shirts.

Wasted time. Wasted money. 


  • What is the purpose or use of your apparel? 

  • To provide a uniform for your employees to wear? 

  • To sell to customers? 

  • To offer for free with a purchase or with event registration? 

  • To gift to specific people? (donors, clients, partners) 

Once you know the purpose and use of the apparel, you can make decisions on design, quality of apparel, and quantities to order. Let’s start with the design first. 

Eloise Design Co tshirt designs

1. When To Go Logo Only

So often we see young brands (with little brand awareness) design a t-shirt with just their logo to be sold to others. The problem with this is that they don’t have enough brand awareness for the masses to want to purchase it and represent the brand. Employees and family members wear logo t-shirts because there is an obligation and because they love you/ the brand. 

More established brands with a following can design a simple logo t-shirt and people will want to wear it and represent the brand. They want to be associated with the brand and its culture, style, or status. 

I am not saying you can’t have apparel with your logo but I am encouraging you to add more to the design than just a logo. Can it have a creative phrase that your target audience will identify with? Can you place artwork on it that someone will find attractive? 

2. When to associate with a place or event 

While traveling in Sedona, we saw so many creative and different t-shirt designs at different businesses. I appreciated that they used inspiration from the place (Sedona and Red Rocks) to make their t-shirt designs more than a logo. For example, we went to a brewery and they had designed multiple t-shirts and it wasn’t just their logo. There was artwork with their logo that represented the year or the place. 

When you are designing apparel for an event, there are usually 20+ sponsor logos on the back of the shirt. This is fine if the shirt is free or comes with the ticket. But if you want people to purchase the t-shirts, reduce to one t-shirt sponsor and let the design be about the event. Being the only sponsor for the t-shirts is very enticing for a business as they know they will get stronger brand awareness. A win-win! 

3. When to rely on the quality of the shirt

Sedona is a tourist-y town and there are 100’s of shirts I could have chosen from. But what caught my eye was a long-sleeved SUPER soft shirt. If you have decided your design is going to be simple, rely on the quality of the material or the cut of the shirt to stand out. I paid more for the long sleeve shirt because of the softness of the material and the fact that it was a longer length so I could wear it with leggings. If you have been ordering apparel for a while, step up your game with the fit, cut, and fabric. Our friend, Kendyl at Flipper Marketing can help source different styles that will stand out and be worth the purchase. 

Eloise Design Co

If you need help designing apparel that is on-brand and on-strategy, we might be able to help! Before we can hop into the design, we will make sure you have a brand and then we will lead you through the process. We will also connect you with our preferred vendor for all promotional items and apparel to make sure you get the best price! 

See our Services here and reach out via our Services Form.


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