Are T-shirts still worth it?

It is a marketing tactic that even though it’s been done to death, it’s still worth exploring and we’re going to tell you why.

Custom T-shirts can give you exposure like no other media can. They’re cheap to produce and easy to distribute. Any person that wears your branded T-shirt instantly becomes a walking ad on two feet.

How do we make it new again?

The key word is innovation. To create an impact, marketers need to take it to the next level. May that be with incredible design or cutting-edge technology. That’s too much work, you say? It may be, but let’s take a look at some of the benefits before we make a final conclusion. Creative T-shirt design will:

  • Add value to your product
  • Create a lasting impression on users
  • Generate leads and contacts
  • Make you stand out from the competition
  • Develop a strong brand identity

Like most out-of-the-box thinking, innovative apparel design requires you to look at the garment as more than just a T-shirt. This is a unique marketing opportunity and brands should take full advantage of.

No more chitchat, down to business.


There’s a young Russian designer who has designed the “selfie T-shirt”. It’s a top with a triangle pattern that supposedly helps you frame the perfect self-portrait of the XXI century. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be on sale anymore. I guess those of us who didn’t spend the $166 are stuck with poor selfies for the rest of our lives.

Alternatively, you could create your own by reflecting a design and printing it backwards so that it shows up the right way in the shot. #Innovation.


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Conductive Ink

Last year the University of Tokyo released a statement announcing that one of their research teams had developed a way to print conductive ink into fabrics. The study talks about using the technology for medical purposes like reading the user’s heart rate and body temperature, but with time I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to come up with more creative uses.



Augmented Reality

Unlike virtual reality that creates an entirely new world, augmented reality takes our surroundings and “enhances” them — think Pokemon Go.

On T-shirts, the technology can be used not only for entertainment and promotional reasons but also for educational purposes. A while ago we highlighted Curiscope, a brand that organised an Indiegogo campaign to produce high-tech garments to teach anatomy to kids. With augmented reality, the possibilities are almost endless.



3D Specs

Hardly groundbreaking anymore, but innovative all the same. My personal favourite example of how to create an interesting 3D design comes from a personalised t-shirt job that we did for Yelp back in 2013. If you can’t be bothered to follow the link, I will sum it up for you. The reviews platform created a six-colour design featuring their logo repeated several times across the front of the T-shirt. When viewed through glasses with red lenses, the tiny logos merged into one big Yelp logo. It’s hard to explain – you should have followed the link.




RFID T-shirts

RFID is the technology that’s in the microchips that are injected into pets. Some brands also implement it in their products to keep track of items. The chip has the potential to give the user all kinds of information. For example, if you give an attendee a T-shirt with an RFID tag it could have the potential to send information directly to the user’s smartphone regarding schedules, activities and promotions.

The Lollapalooza festival uses the technology on special wristbands so guests can pay for food and drinks without the need of cash.



[content_band bg_color=”#E8F6D2″ border=”all”] [container]Need merchandise for an upcoming event? We can help. Printsome’s T-shirts are produced locally and from the best-quality garments. Our delivery services work all over the UK and can adapt to most deadlines. Learn more![/container] [/content_band]

Luminous Fabrics

Adding light bulbs and fluorescent materials to garments is nothing new. We’ve been seeing them at football matches and special shows for quite a while now, but designers are adding a twist to it. For their 14/15 autumn/winter collection, fashion brand CuteCircuit presented a collection of clothes made entirely out of wearable luminous fabrics. The cool part was that, through their smartphones, models controlled what was projected onto their outfits.



Living Materials

For a couple of years now, experts in universities like Harvard and MIT have been making advances in so-called “living materials” which are made by using living cells. Unlike a regular material, a “living” one would react to its environment, change the size and even regenerate if it was cut or lost a piece.

Right now the materials are being studied for engineering and medical purposes, but companies like BioCouture are looking into creating fashion with bio-based fabrics. We still might have to wait a bit to see a T-shirt made out of champignons, but I think it’s worth the wait.



Sound Shirt

Again CuteCircuit, this time around introducing an extremely revolutionary and surprising garment. A shirt that helps deaf people feel the sound. I recommend you watch the video if you want to learn more about it. Worth it.



3D Printed

Read carefully. Not 3D prints, but as in the entire T-shirt itself (fabric and all), 3D printed. This idea came across when I ran into the dress designer Michael Schmidt and architect Francis Bitoni printed for Dita Von Teese. The dress is made out of nylon and embellished with 12,000 Swarovski crystals. If a 3D printer can produce such a complex gown, how hard can a T-shirt be?


innovative t-shirt design


Made out of oranges

Italian startup Orange Fiber has found a way to reuse waste from oranges and other citrus fruits and turn them into a fabric. There is no news of when the materials will be up for sale, but earlier this year the company led by Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena was one of the proposals recognised during the Global Change Awards by the H&M Conscious Foundation, meaning great things are probably still to come.


inovative tees


[content_band bg_color=”#E8F6D2″ border=”all”] [container]Need merchandise for an upcoming event? We can help. Printsome’s T-shirts are produced locally and from the best-quality garments. Our delivery services work all over the UK and can adapt to most deadlines. Learn more![/container] [/content_band]

Colour Changing

Fabrics that change colours are nothing new. Do you remember those T-shirts from the 90’s? But now technology has gotten to the point that garments will change shade depending on the wearer’s mood. The dress presented by designer Lauren Bowker works with tiny pixel-like lights that turn red and yellow when the user is exited and blue and green when he/she is relaxed. The only bad thing? It will be a lot harder to hide your contempt from your boss.



Smartphone recharging

Running out of battery wouldn’t be such a drama if you had more options rather than just a charger — like let’s say a T-shirt? Dutch designer Pauline Van Dongen has designed garments that can do just that. Thanks to cleverly positioned solar panels, these clothes absorb sunlight that can later be transferred into devices like smartphones.


innovation in t-shirts


Glowing Ink 

We already talked about illuminating clothes on this list, but this one is different as it doesn’t work with LED lights. One of our favourites brands, Illuminated Apparel has created a personalised T-shirt that’s basically a canvas where you can draw anything you want with glowing ink. Pretty cool, huh?



Personalised T-shirts that read your vital signs

In the future, the 2010’s will be referred to as the years of wearable technology — we just called it! Thanks to gadgets like the iWatch and fancy headphones by the running decade is all about decking out in high-tech and looking cool while doing it. Among the many brands that are offering vital-sings-reading gadgets, today we’re highlighting Sensoria and its smart T-shirt in particular. This tee will give you all of the necessary information you’ll need to take your training to the next level.


innovative t-shirts


The Soundtrack T-shirt

Ridiculous? Maybe. Fun? Definitely! This quirky garment features a speaker on its chest and allows you to play 10 different songs and 10 different sound effects for you to find the perfect soundtrack to any situation. If it looks familiar to you then you probably saw it in The Big Bang Theory where it was featured in one of their episodes.



Don’t say it, spray it

Read carefully, these T-shirts haven’t been airbrushed or sprayed on, they’re literally made out of spray. This special formula created by Spanish scientist/fashion designer Manel Torres solidifies once it comes into contact with air, turning it into a fabric. As it is explained on their website:

“…a way to bond and liquefy fibres so that textiles can be sprayed out of a can or spray gun straight onto a body or dress form. The solvent then evaporates, and the fibres bond, forming a snug-fitting garment…”

Clothes on a can, this is taking customisation to a whole new level!  


T-shirt Printing for Events

Thanks to our five years of experience in the apparel-printing industry, we were able to design a platform catered towards the needs of event planners and brand managers who need efficient solutions. Printsome’s T-shirts are produced locally and from the best-quality garments.

From the moment you get in touch with us, you’ll receive the Printsome treatment. One of our printing experts will answer your questions and keep you informed each step of the way. Our delivery services work all over the UK and can adapt to most deadlines. It doesn’t matter if it’s 15 or 15,000 T-shirts. Printing garments has never been this easy.

Why worry about inventory or logistics when we can take care of that? We deal with the boring stuff so you have more time to do everything else. To find out more, simply visit our T-shirt Printing agency‘s website.


Harald is one of the founders of the Printsome-Insights blog! Previously, Senior Content Writer, with over five years experience writing about garment printing, he's now been whisked away into entertaining other audiences with his fabulous words. For over seven years he has been proofreading, blogging, copywriting newsletters/landing pages/social media + editing. Whilst also bringing Printsome brand to life with voice and soul. He is also well-versed in enforcing content styles and content strategies for B2B businesses.

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