Some mind-blowing, innovative t-shirt design ideas to encourage interaction and conversation at events. #EventProfs, take note.
All good #EventProfs know that some original t-shirt design can really boost the atmosphere at an event and eventually lead to more interaction. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to create an impact anymore. Average branded t-shirts simply don’t cut it anymore. The problem is that everyone and their mother has done it. It’s on every book and how-to advertise post. Nowadays customised t-shirts are easy and inexpensive to produce, so anyone with even the tiniest sense of marketing will order a bunch with their company’s logo on it. In order to have a successful campaign one has to create a buzz, and without novelty, that’s hard to pull off.
So are t-shirts still worth it?
That being said, it is a marketing tactic that’s still worth exploring. Branded t-shirts can give you exposure like no other media can. They’re cheap to produce and easy to distribute. Any person that wears your t-shirt instantly becomes a walking ad on two feet.
How do we do it, then?
The key word is innovation. To create an impact, marketers need to take it to the next level. May that be with incredible design or cutting-edge technology. That’s too much work, you say? It may be, but let’s take a look at some of the benefits before we make a final statement. Creative t-shirt design will:
- Add value to your product
- Create a lasting impression on users
- Create added benefits like leads, contacts, among others (more on this later)
- Make you stand out from the competition
- Create a strong brand identity
Like most out-of-the-box thinking, innovative apparel design requires you to look at the garment as more than just a t-shirt. This is a unique marketing opportunity and brands should take full advantage of. No more chitchat, down to business:
Some innovative t-shirt design ideas for #EventProfs
In order to have show some innovation on your t-shirt design, you’ll have to do some research. Learn what’s trending and the new technologies that are being used now or will be applied in the near future. Below you’ll find a list of trends, ideas and new technologies for your event t-shirt designs.
Selfie is now recognised as an official word – although no one has told my computer yet and still insists on popping a red squiggly line underneath it – and they are everywhere. Every marketer knows that’s great publicity when you make a t-shirt that is so super-cool that people can’t help but to celebrate their new threads with an Instagram shot or even a cheeky little vine. But it has been done before – and actually, often times people can’t read the t-shirt’s message because they decided to take the picture on the mirror’s reflection and therefore comes backwards.
Here’s a curve ball for you: reflect your design and print it backwards so that it shows up the right way around in the all important social selfie shots. #Innovation.
If you want inspiration, here’s a list of 38 creative brand promotional t-shirts that will surely inspire its user to take a selfie.
Also, there’s a young Russian designer who has designed the “selfie t-shirt”. Its triangle pattern it’s supposed to help you frame the perfect selfie. Although unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be on sale anymore. I guess those of us who didn’t spend the $166 are stuck with poorly framed selfies for the rest of our lives.
#6 Conductive Ink
This is now a thing. Or it will be shortly. Conductive ink reacts to touch and has been used in marketing campaigns by Becks Beer and Schwartz Spices to great effect. I don’t know exactly how it works, but when touched, the ink plays sounds through your iPhone or other remote speaker device. Technology lecture over. It is only a matter of time before this innovative technology makes its entrance into the world of t-shirt printing.
Last summer the University of Tokyo released a statement announcing that one of their research teams had developed a way to print conductive ink into fabrics. The study talks of using the technology for medical purposes like reading the user’s heart rate and body temperature, but with time I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to come up with more creative uses.
We are just waiting for a really big super brand with a huge budget to come along and start playing with the idea. Imagine a t-shirt that colours itself or a message that appears by just touching the fabric. Now think of hundreds of t-shirts that ‘ignite’ at the same time. What an image!
#5 Augmented Reality
No longer a thing of sci-fi movies, augmented reality is becoming mainstream. Smartphones have made it easy for developers to create interactive experiences for event attendees and t-shirts have already been used as a platform for the technology. Again, the details of exactly how it works are a little hazy to me, but it is possible to print a code onto a t-shirt and then, after you download the right app, watch it digitally transform through your smartphone or tablet.
In Dreamforce 2013, the largest software conference in the world, NewVoiceMedia brought 10,000 augmented reality t-shirts for attendees to enjoy. The results were long lines of hundreds of exited hopefuls wanting to get their hands on the high-tech garments.
Augmented reality on t-shirts can also be used for educational purposes, a while ago we highlighted Curiscope, a brand that organised an indiegogo campaign to produce augmented reality t-shirts to teach anatomy to kids. With this type of technology, the possibilities are endless.
#4 3D Specs
Not such a cutting edge technology, but innovative all the same. You can use 3D specs to create a number of visual illusions, one of which being the appearance of a 3D object on the front of the t-shirt. My personal favourite example of how to create an interesting t-shirt design comes from a job that we did for Yelp last year. If you can’t be bothered to follow the link, I will sum it up for you. Yelp created a six-colour design featuring their logo repeated to create a block of different colour logos on the front of the t-shirt. When viewed through glasses with red lenses, the logos merged into one big Yelp logo. It’s hard to explain – you should have followed the link.
With all the new multi-dimensional technology that’s out there, 3D glasses seem outdated to say the least, but that can also be the fun part of it! The prints and the specs give a retro vibe that when done well can be used to wake nostalgic feelings on attendees.
#3 RFID T-shirts
RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification to you and me, is another technology that has been around for a while, but is making it’s way into the realm of wearable technology. Next months Lollapalooza festival will be the first time that festival goers can use their RFID wristband to pay for food and drinks. Again, I have to confess ignorance on the technology side but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the benefits of having such a technology built into other garments – like t-shirts for example.
RFID is the technology that’s in the microchips that are injected into pets. Some brands of clothing already implement RFID into their garments to keep track of their items. The chip has the potential to give the user all kinds of information. For example, if you give an attendee a t-shirt with a RFID tag it could be able to send information directly into their smartphone regarding your products and promotions.
#2 Luminous Fabrics
Adding light bulbs and fluorescent materials to garments is nothing new. We’ve been seeing them at football matches and special shows for quite a while now, but designers are adding a twist to it. For their 14/15 autumn/winter collection, fashion brand CuteCircuit presented a collection of clothes made entirely out of wearable luminous fabrics. The cool part was that, through their smartphones, models controlled what was projected onto their outfits.
Another example is Geneva based designer Ying gao who created dresses made out of photo-luminescent thread. The garments did not only glow in the dark, but had eye-tracking technology imbedded which means they were activated by the gaze of the spectator.
This type of technology not only allows to turn a piece of clothing into a screen, but also control when the content is projected and how. For marketing purposes, this gives great leeway for creative expression.
#1 Living Materials
For a couple of years now, experts in universities like Harvard and MIT have been making advances in so called “living materials” which are made using living cells. Unlike a regular material, a “living” one would react to its environment, change colour, size and even regenerate if it was cut or lost a piece.
Right now the materials are being studied for engineering and medical purposes, but companies like BioCouture are looking into creating fashion with bio-based fabrics. What the London based company does is create textiles out of organisms like fungi and algae to produce sort of vegetable leather, if you will. It is not only organic, but also biodegradable, meaning that you can throw it away without worrying about the environment.
We still might have to wait a bit to see a t-shirt made out of champignons, but I think it’s worth the wait. In the future we could have marketing t-shirts that not only promote your business, but can also feed your attendees! Imagine that, once you get tired of the tee – it can become your salad.
What happens when you deliver something unexpected? A lasting impression, that’s for sure. Nowadays, the world of events evolves around “experiences”, which means that it is no longer enough to give out a presentation and a swag bag. Those are still nice, of course (specially the giveaways), but in order to stand from the competition, innovation is necessary.
If you’ve heard of any new trends or technologies that would look great on a promotional t-shirt, please let us know in the comments below! You can also always drop us a message through any of our social media outlets. For more awesome content, keep reading the Printsome blog.
Printsome is an online t shirt printing UK agency creating innovative t-shirt designs for #eventprofs. It provides custom hoodies printing Brighton, t shirt printing Hull and any other custom clothing everywhere else in between.