“YOUR LOGO HERE.”
It’s an easy way to communicate that you offer branded merchandise, but no one cares about your logo. Unless you are already a major brand that has a logo that is recognized everywhere, chances are people aren’t buying your products because of the logo.
While the logo is the foundation of a merchandise line, I think it’s a lazy approach to stop it there. Why are people going to wear your apparel in a social setting? If it's just a logo, it could feel like a uniform to your employees or a billboard to your supporters. The one caveat would be activewear. Less is more with a lot of technical apparel. Athleisure, on the other hand, should go beyond the logo.
The way I try to help my clients go beyond just the logo is to create a “lifestyle” portion of their merchandise. Whether it is about the problem they solve, mission statement, or company culture, people will be more inclined to wear your merchandise if it falls in line with their daily lifestyle.
All because they like your product/service/brand, doesn’t mean they want to be a billboard for you. We are so desensitized to logos these days that the majority of people won’t even pay attention to the logo on someone's shirt or hat.
To drill in this point further, let's look at the 5K or charity fundraiser T. I'm not sure when it started, but why has the T-shirt become the toilet bowl of logos for these types of events? I have not found any evidence that shows the sponsoring companies benefit from having their logo among 10 other logos. Somehow that has become the default, and I will do everything in my power to change that.
Apparel is meant to be worn. It’s not a widget or a tchotchke that people should throw away, but that is what it has become. Put the event logo and sponsors on the giveaway shirt. We in the custom apparel industry should be helping our customers make better buying decisions. Suggest putting the logos on a tote or banner or hangtag or print out in the event tote bag. This all goes back to the argument that no one cares about your logo.
Because no one needs another T-shirt, you have to ask, “What will make them purchase and wear my product?” My recipe for an excellent T-shirt is the right design, paired with the right product, and finished off with the right decoration. The logo becomes a secondary element. If I had it my way, I would want my customers to do a woven clamp tag or inside tag print overprinting their logo on a shirt. I know most brand guidelines go against all of this, but I like to poke the bear to show my clients that merchandise should be seen differently than a business card, flyer, or website. Again, merch is meant to be worn.
If you have ever been to a trade show or tech conference, you will see nothing but a sea of logos. Mostly a one-color design on the left chest. Now, I like Slack and use it for my company, but do I really want a T-shirt that just says Slack? Some might, but I'm not sure how many wears it will receive. Now, if the shirt said, “Let’s Collab, Bro” or “Communicate Quickly or Die” or something that shows their personality, not just a static/lifeless logo, that's a different story.
Of course, a logo is a part of your brand, and the better it looks, the more memorable it will be, but when it comes to apparel, I want to encourage you to go beyond the logo and think of the end wearer. There are plenty of “your logo here” companies, so helping your customers make better products will not only create value for your company but help you survive when the economy tightens up!