Consider your audience (and future audience) when developing your design. Who are you creating a product for and how will they use it? If your target audience is both men and women, create a design that is appealing for both genders. Could your design fit on extended sizes like youth or 2XL and 3XL? Do you plan to put this design, or a version of it, on a different product for the future? If so, plan ahead of time so your branding is consistent and easily read no matter which product it is on. Most importantly, how can you use that product you’ve selected to deliver your message to that audience?
Whether it’s a t-shirt or a coffee mug, a pen or a jacket, select a product based on the needs and activities of your audience. If they’re avid sports fans, try a rally towel, window decal or branded apparel. If your audience is a book club, you may try bookmarks, highlighters, pens or coffee mugs.
The type of product you choose and the process used to customize it can affect the design. For example, screen printing is common for casual apparel or table covers, tote bags, coffee mugs and pens. Polos, jackets and hats are typically embroidered. Your design will depend on the process you select. More complex designs translate better and are more affordable when screen printed, while embroidery helps simple designs or names ‘pop’ on apparel and gives them a more expensive, high end look.
The location on the product has a lot to do with the type of design you can use. If your target audience has long hair, a design on the back collar of a shirt may be hidden. Designing for a sports team? Keep in mind any buttons or seams that you’ll need to design around. But take a chance and design outside the lines! If your audience is concert goers or marathon runners, consider a design on the back shoulder. While everyone is facing the stage or finish line, your design will be in plain sight to other like-minded people who could benefit from what you offer.
Designs for coffee mugs, or pens should be simple and small, yet effective. When designing for apparel, think about how your product will fit on your audience. A shirt with a deep V-neck or buttons may look great with a tall, off-centered design. Traditionally, a logo design is placed on the left chest of corporate apparel, with a personalized name on the right. Hooded sweatshirts need shorter, wider designs because of the placement of the front pocket. If your product has multiple colors, be sure to select a design that is both pleasing and readable on all colors selected.
Your design is everything. It’s what makes your product worth using. While there are a lot of things to consider like the number of colors or placement of the art, the actual design is what appeals to the audience you want to reach. Try to use elements that reflect what you’re about and are things that your audience can identify with.
This may be the most important piece of the design puzzle. Consider the hours of art time involved or the number of colors you’d like to incorporate. Keep this in mind when you meet with a member of our sales team so they know how to help guide you in the right direction and keep it in your budget.
While colorful, complex designs often set your business or event apart from the rest, a design with a lot of colors can be more expensive to screen print because there will be more screens and more ink to complete the look. A complex design in embroidery may be more expensive because of the number of stitches required to make it look as great on the garment as it does on the computer screen or paper.
“The design department worked with us to ensure that our vision was carried out. Not only did they put together a great design, they went above and beyond (like they have done many times in the past) and embellished our design to give it a bit more flair.” -Jason Leet, Program Director, NAAC