Cheap custom tee shirts are excellent promotional tools. It’s why you see so many companies just handing out and giving away the custom tees they paid good money for for free at conventions and meetups. They turn anyone who wears them into walking billboards, while also increasing brand awareness and brand loyalty.

That’s what they can do, though, not what they will do. In order to receive these benefits, people have to actually wear the custom tee first. To get people to sport your company’s logo and name on their apparel, you need to design your custom tees well. Here are a few tips to help.

Keep It Simple.

In 1960, the U.S. Navy noted a design principle known as the KISS principle. The acronym stood for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Essentially, it means that systems work best if they’re kept simple. Believe it or not, this is also true for your custom tees. The simpler the graphic and the design, the more elegant and professional it’ll look. You don’t need to have big, complicated, full color logos. A simple, one color graphic or logo will do just fine.

Keep It Succinct.

Just as your design needs to be minimalist, so too should your custom tee’s text. The briefer the message, the more likely people are to read it all, and absorb its meaning. Though boiling a message down to just a few words may seem difficult, it’s more than possible. American author Ernest Hemingway was able to tell entire stories in just six words. Get to the heart of what you want to say, and just say it. Try not to put more than 10 words of text on your custom tee.

Keep It Conventional.

Sometimes, it pays to take risks. An unconventional looking custom tee is sure to catch more people’s eyes, but it’s also less likely to be worn. If you choose to put the meat of your shirt somewhere other than on the chest or the back, people aren’t going to want to wear it as much. If they don’t wear you customized shirts, then no one is going to get to see your business’s logo, slogan, or contact info. Basically, an unconventionally designed custom tee is counter intuitive to your purposes. Instead, put your design where it would be expected to go.

Designing a promotional tee can seem tricky, but it’s not that hard when you keep these principles in mind. Just keep it simple, succinct, and conventional, and people will definitely throw your shirt on.

If you have any questions or other design tips, feel free to share in the comments.