T-Shirts - An American Icon


Apple Pie, Rock and Roll, Surfing, Elvis and Steve Jobs are among some of the most well known American icons. Recognizable all over the world, they symbolize America's values, traditions and freedoms. But on this list we cannot forget the timeless t-shirt.

Made popular in the 1920's when the U.S. Navy issued them to sailors to be worn under uniforms, the t-shirt has become a staple of youth rebellion, freedom of expression, and a statement of style.

And when it comes to promoting your brand, product or service, the t-shirt is unmatched in it's universal appeal across all demographic groups. But while T-shirts have mass appeal, not all shirts are created equal. So here's our 3 point guide for how to leverage one of the greatest American icons while avoiding the many pitfalls of a promotion.

Just stick my logo on a shirt

At least that's the attitude some business owners have toward placing their brand on this iconic piece of Americana. But if you approach a t-shirt promotion with this attitude, you've already lost a huge opportunity to make an impact. Hire a graphic designer to help you create a unique graphic that fits your logo and branding. The more creative the graphic, the better. If you're company doesn't have a graphic designer, ask your imprinter if they offer any graphic creations services.

And don't forget my phone number, address, email, hours of operation…

We sometimes forget that a T-shirt is a dynamic work of advertising. It's not static or stationary, it moves with the person wearing it. Therefore, we can't expect that a passerby will be capable of reading a moving billboard. As a rule of thumb, don't place too much information on a t-shirt and keep it simple. If you do insist on your company's placing your business information, try and use both the front and the back of the shirt so as not to overwhelm your audience. Use the front side of your t-shirt for your splashy eye catching graphics and the back side for information.

Give me the cheapest t-shirt you have

When it comes to promotional t-shirts, most business owners opt for quantity over quality. The thinking goes that the more t-shirts they purchase with their budget, the more customers they can reach. But what they forget is that a poor quality t-shirt may have the complete opposite effect. What's important to remember is that quality matters. We recommend that you choose a durable shirt that won't shrink or fade. This will give you a longer lasting promotion that is sure to be worn time and time again. Stick with a heavyweight shirt that is 100% cotton.


T-shirts have come to symbolize American and have been one of the most expressive and lasting forms of fashion ever. T-shirts continue to endure fashion fads, political climate, and generational gaps, yet there uses have evolved considerably from its humble beginnings. So the next time you choose to promote using a t-shirt, remember you have an American Icon working for you.

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