We've written before about the number of decisions that go into printing a T-shirt. One of the more basic questions to answer is- what color shirt do you want?
White T-shirts are less expensive than colored T-shirts, so most people opt for the more economical option. Unfortunately, this is also the main reason so many of us own more white T-shirts than we can count on two hands.
Rather than default to white like everyone else, get creative with screen printing. If the colors of your imprint contain a commonly used T-shirt color, consider purchasing a colored shirt and allow the shirt’s color to show through the design. You'll achieve the look of an extra spot color, without the additional color run charge. In the example above, the yellow T-shirt has been printed with just two colors- red and blue. The white T-shirt has received three colors- red, blue and yellow- yet the overall effect is the same.
The money saved by printing two colors instead of three will help offset the difference in price between a white and colored shirt.
This One Time... at Brand Camp
Manners are a funny thing. In general, I think we all know what kind of behavior is appropriate and what kind is not. That's not to say that we always act in accordance with those beliefs.
I can think of several instances when I’ve knowingly dismissed what I know to be polite and proper. Most often it’s when I’m in trusted company, and I feel comfortable enough to relax the rules. When dining out with strangers, I would never dare claim the lone roll in the bread basket for myself. On the other hand, the last of the strawberries in my boyfriend’s fridge might as well have my name on it.
There is one area where I feel etiquette should never be ignored- and that’s in business.
A lot of our projects at Sonic Promos focus on helping our clients improve or maintain relations with their customers. Though there is no substitute for consistent professionalism and good service, a small gift can go a long way towards preserving a positive rapport.
Gift-giving in business can be a surprisingly complex practice, with a lot of grey area. Before diving in, take the time to consider a few points below:
How much money are you willing to spend? Before you even start to think about what to send as a gift, think about how many gifts you plan to send. Let’s say you’re planning to send a holiday gift to your top 25 clients. 25 clients might mean that you need to purchase 25 gifts, or it might mean that you need to purchase 60 gifts. If you work with a team of individuals at each organization, would it be appropriate to send a gift to just one person, or should you send something to each person? Don’t do anything that might leave someone out. In this situation, consider sending a gift that the whole office can enjoy- an engraved cutting board for the kitchen or a woven floor mat for their entryway are two unique ideas.
If you have a small list of people in mind, you can afford to give a nice gift to each person. On the other hand, if your list is hundreds of people long, adjust your budget per gift accordingly.
What is your motive? Never send a gift simply because you feel obligated to. You should have a clear intention in mind. Leah Ingram, etiquette specialist and author of “Gifts Anytime: How to Find the Perfect Present for Any Occasion,” says:
There are two very real reasons to buy business gifts that are not necessarily warm and fuzzy. One is obviously to thank someone for their business for the year. The other is to make sure you remain top of mind, and to get your name in front.
Ingram brings up an excellent point- a great business gift should be regarded as a marketing tool. For greatest effect, consider a gift that has a utile value, something non-consumable that will be seen and used often.
What kind of relationship do you have with the recipient? Do you have a strictly professional relationship with this person, or would you call it a friendship? Let the formality of your relationship dictate the formality of the gift. A nice bottle of scotch and an engraved decanter might appeal to some, but offend others.
When will you mail out your gifts? A word of advice here- if sending a holiday gift, do so right after Thanksgiving, or wait until the New Year. Don’t forget that many people are out of the office between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If you’re giving a gift to thank a client for recent business, send the item within two weeks of the project’s close.
Did you know…
That gift-giving is forbidden in Chinese business culture? The official policy recognizes the gesture as an illegal act of bribery. Recently, this attitude has begun to relax, but there are still many guidelines one should respect. For example, be prepared to insist. It is customary to decline a gift at least three times before it is finally accepted. Additionally, giving a gift to the entire company is more acceptable than giving to a single individual.
I hope you find these tips useful. We may not be experts on good manners- note to self: elbows off the table- at Sonic, but we definitely know good gifts!
If you’ve never been the one to organize a T-shirt order for your high school debate team, senior class, fraternity, office kickball team, or family reunion, you might be surprised at the number of decisions there are to make.
Though there will still be several questions to answer, working with a promotional products consultant can make the process immensely easier. To help you better prepare for your next order and simplify the process, review the checklist of items below.
1. Pick a T-shirt Model
Style: Are you looking for a generic T-shirt, or are you hoping for something with extra details? V-neck, scoop neck, cap sleeve, ringer, distressed, raglan, ribbed… the choices are endless.
Brand: Just like with most things in life, you pay more for a brand name. In some cases, the difference in quality is enough to justify the higher price tag- American Apparel tees are fabulous, and they should cost more than a Hanes tee. But if you’re looking for something more standard, the difference between a Hanes 100% cotton 6.1oz tee and a Gildan 100% cotton 6.1oz tee is nearly imperceptible.
Color: Short and sweet- whites are less expensive than heathers, and heathers are less expensive than colors.
Material: 100% cotton and 50/50 cotton/poly blend are two very common material choices, the former being the less expensive selection. Your options certainly don’t end there, however. Where and how will the shirt be worn? If you intend to wear them during exercise or at an outdoors event, you might consider a material with moisture-wicking or odor-resistant qualities. Are you organizing a green event? Think about organic cotton or a bamboo blend.
Weight: When comparing apples to apples (for example, a Gildan 100% cotton T-shirt compared to a Gildan 100% cotton T-shirt), the option with the lighter weight will be the least expensive, by rule of thumb. The least expensive option may not always be the best choice, however. It’s best to think about where and how the shirt will be worn. Your black, lightweight and lived-in ‘vintage’ concert tee might be your favorite weekend uniform, but you’d be wise to avoid this weight when your boss puts you in charge of ordering white T-shirts for the company picnic. On a sunny day, white, lightweight tees will leave little to the imagination when it comes to your coworkers’ undergarments.
Size: Who will be wearing the shirt? Are generic adult sizes sufficient, or will you need youth sizing or a fitted ladies cut? Keep in mind too that plus sizes (2XL and up) are generally at least $2.00 more expensive than sizes S-XL.
2. Decide on the Order Quantity
The price of a T-shirt will always be lower per piece at high quantities than at low quantities. Inquire about price breaks- if the nearest price break is just a few shirts away from the number you expect you’ll need, bump up the quantity. You can find other smart ways to increase your quantity in our blog post: How to Get to the Next Column.
3. Create the Artwork/Imprint
Design: Do you have a design prepared or will you require the assistance of a graphic artist? If you have art to submit, is it camera-ready? Screen-printing requires vectored artwork for optimal print quality. Are you unfamiliar with “vectored” art? Our art spec sheet will help explain.
Number of colors: How many colors will be used in your design? Is the design composed of solid color blocks, or is it more photographic in nature, with shadows and gradations? Decide which elements of your design are essential, and which elements could be modified if necessary. Between digital process, spot color printing and digital transfer, you can really print just about anything these days if you’re willing to pay for it. Generally speaking, the more colorful the artwork, the higher the price tag will be.
For more printing advice, be sure to check out our Print This, Not That series.
Print method: As I wrote above, there are several different printing techniques offered today that can give you the look you’re hoping for. Consult your promotional products consultant to learn more about your options and the associated costs.
I must admit that after typing this list up even I feel a bit overwhelmed, and I make these decisions for clients every single day. The most important thing you can do is to have a clear budget in mind when you approach the task. Your rep will advise you on everything else and guide you to the best possible product for your dollar.
According to Matthew Sweeney, author of The Lottery Wars, Americans spent about $60 billion on lottery tickets… in 2008 alone. You know why? Because we like to WIN.
Of course, when we think about the lottery rationally, we know the odds of winning are extremely slim. How slim? The precise odds depend on where you play, but in some states your chances are as slim as 120 million to 1. You are 45 times more likely to die from a lightning strike (source).
Now, I don’t play the lottery and I am a terrible gambler (in the sense that I am no gambler at all), but I fully admit to regularly entering contests with no monetary buy-in. You know the kind- “drop your business card in the bowl and win a free lunch” or “follow us on Twitter for a chance to win a free trip to Cancun”. In my mind, you’d be stupid not to play!
Yesterday I was lured in yet again. While tidying the reception area (or you know, eating the last chocolate coconut haystack, whatever you want to call it), I came across a card from Malley’s Chocolates advertising a $500.00 cash prize.
I could have sworn I wrote about this before, but Malley’s Chocolates is a chain of confectionary stores in Ohio. When Debbie- who works from Ohio- comes to visit, she brings assorted goodies that we gobble up in a matter of days. Chocolate-covered Fritos, dipped Twinkies, nutty crack brittle… we love her.
But back to my point.
Smart marketers understand our love of winning, and they structure promotions that prey on our irrational dreams of winning big bucks with minimal effort. I love to see contests combined with promotional products- it’s like a one-two punch. The contest strengthens brand loyalty by engaging existing customers, and the item provides visual branding to attract new business.
Malley’s Chocolates offers their branded car decals to customers at no charge, in exchange for their name, contact information and license plate number. If your car is spotted out and about, bearing the oval sticker, you’re entered into a monthly drawing for a $500 cash prize. For the one-time expense of a few thousand decals and a monthly expense of the cash prize, Malley’s Chocolates has a sales team of Ohioans on the road promoting their business and provoking candy cravings 24/7.
I’ll take those odds.
Have you ever taken a photography class? A common piece of advice given to novice photographers is to experiment with angles.
Repeatedly snapping photos from the same eye-level, frontal position can make for some dull shots. Getting low to the ground and shooting upwards or capturing a head shot from a side angle can greatly increase the visual interest of your work.
The same lesson holds true with promotional products. Unless you’re creating a fully custom piece, your artwork/logo is often confined to the item’s imprint area. When the art itself can’t be modified either (for instance, when adhering to very specific branding guidelines), a good trick is to experiment with angles.
In the example above, the water bottle affords a long, skinny imprint area. That’s not exactly conducive to printing a logo (Coca-Cola) that is wider than it is tall, huh? Rather than size down the logo to fit horizontally, rotate it to fit the space vertically. You make much better use of the imprint area, and the user will actually be able to read the imprint when drinking from the bottle.
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