T-shirts are losing their allure in the souvenir department of traveling. Because they’re now so common, travelers and tourists would rather opt for more unique souvenir items, like mugs, maps, and hats. Indeed, when you think of a souvenir T-shirt, the iconic “I [Heart] NY” is probably the first thing that pops into your mind. And who doesn’t own that t-shirt?
Souvenir and travel-themed clothing, in general, became so popular that even people who haven’t traveled anywhere yet own them. From being a memorabilia piece, the classic travel T-shirt turned into a commodity. As such, selling them won’t probably make your business cut above the rest. Not to mention you’d have around a hundred competitors in a single area alone.
But if you’re passionate about dressing stylishly but comfortably, your travel t-shirt brand can express that. Just because you’re selling a souvenir item doesn’t mean you can’t have a distinct branding. In fact, you should opt-out of being a generic brand, and attract both travelers and locals in turn.
The trick is to make your designs appealing, not screaming “souvenir”. Don’t start sending off your T-shirts to a trusted screen-printing company until you’ve accomplished these five hacks:
1. Perform a Market Research
To create a brand that stands out, you need to conduct market research in order to discover your target market’s tastes in t-shirts. Your research should cover every single detail, from the type of fabric to logo designs. It’s worth noting that a teen’s tastes will differ from a professional adult’s. Teens tend to lean on graphic tees while professional adults gravitate to more minimalist designs. Hence, you have to be specific in identifying your target market. You can’t insist on marketing for everyone, because everyone has varying tastes.
2. Make Your T-shirt Logo Reflect the Values and Tastes of Your Target Market
This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. As stated in the example above, create designs that will appeal to your target market. If you’d target the Gen Z group, a.k.a. Zoomers, your t-shirt’s logo should contain elements that they consider important in their lifestyles. If your t-shirts promote a particular travel destination or a whole city, you can include a tagline below the logo that will hit home for Zoomers. Let’s say, they’re campaigning for the end of racism and homophobia. In that case, your logo design can include a catchphrase about your destination or city being accepting of all people of all races and genders. That will surely catch a Zoomer’s interest.
3. Keep Things Simple
T-shirt logos and prints look much more appealing the simpler they are. Though details are impressive, nothing matches a design that sends a message straight to the point. Remember the phrase “less is more”. You don’t have to complicate your t-shirt’s designs to make a solid statement. Take it from the creators of the “I [Heart] NY” T-shirts. The design has no frills, and the message is direct. As a result, almost everyone owns at least one of them.
4. Add Humor
Designing a humorous logo or graphics can be a little tricky, because it may come off as a cheap joke t-shirt. To execute it with finesse, focus the humor on the illustrations instead of the words. Comedic catchphrases, after all, can lose their humor over time. But illustrations, on the other hand, can still stay appealing even if the humor behind them starts to wear off.
5. Promote Ways to Dress Up Your T-shirts
Some people avoid wearing their travel shirts outside because it looks too much of a souvenir. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right styling, a souvenir shirt can look just as fashionable as any branded clothing.
As you begin selling your products, create a catalog with a model posing in your t-shirts. Experiment with different styles that will make your t-shirts chic. Consider the season while coming up with your clothing ensembles. For your spring catalog, combine your travel shirts with light or pastel-colored skirts and cardigans. In the autumn collection, mix them up with classic fall colors like burnt orange, olive, and mustard yellow.
For your winter ensemble, pair the shirts with cozy outwear like fleece, overcoats, parkas, and cute beanies. And for your summer catalog, have your model pose with your T-shirts over their swimsuits. Those incredible styling techniques will surely encourage your customers to be prouder of their travel shirts.
When you treat this business as though it’s a big fashion brand, you might just redefine the standards of souvenir T-shirt designing and branding.