London, UK: Every cloud has a silver lining as they say. If it hadn’t been for the recession, would now have a boom of start-ups? Over recent years start-up has become a bit of a buzzword all over the place, with new companies popping up left, right and centre. With a lot of debate about what a start-up actually is, we think that the entrepreneurial vibe of ambition, innovation, scalability and growth, is what makes them a cut above the rest. We’re not just talking about the beginnings of a new business per se, but a more bold and brave approach in an attempt to solve problems in a more creative way.

With a 90% risk of failure according to Forbes earlier this year, one has to take one’s hat off to the passionate crazies who try to make this happen. So why with such a high probability of falling into the abyss, are people more willing than ever to move closer to the edge? According to Simon Sinek, we love start-ups because ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,’ which explains the distinct change in corporate tone to the friendly local corner shop familiarity you can see in business copywriting nowadays. We’re moving into an era of a more personalised, almost over friendly service, where people call us by our names, know what we eat for dinner and reflect all the positive and moral values that the system generally doesn’t.

how to design a promotional t-shirt checklist

The Power of T-shirt designs as advertising

Enter the t-shirt. The t-shirt is well documented as a pivotal garment related to social and political expression. It speaks to like-minded people. It’s relatively cheap to design, produce and sell and is a well-known potent advertising tool. Jason Sadler earned a whopping $70,000 in just one year selling his chest as an advertising space. All this considered, it’s no wonder that start-up and printed t-shirts have become the new salt and pepper of the printing apparel world. Not only that but considering that 90% of companies in the European Union are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that means a lot of exposure for our friend Mr Tee (you had better hope for warm weather for your mobile advertising campaign).

If you’re looking for inspiration for start-up t-shirt design, you’d do well to check out dudesinstartupshirts, where you’ll notice that the majority of tees simply vary in colour, with a company logo slap bang in the middle of the chest, or a witty statement (you may also notice that the start-up world seems overwhelmingly portrayed as being overpopulated by men). Here, at Printsome, we believe that design is crucial to the success of the T-shirt itself; hence we decided to create 5 t-shirt designs for 5 of the most successful start-ups in the UK in 2015.

A few tips we learnt along the way:

  1. Get the balance of corporate colours right if you want the t-shirt to truly reflect your brand. The negative space where your logo isn’t, communicates just as much as the logo itself.
  2. Be creative. One of the reasons why t-shirts work so well as advertising is because they generate conversation. Make people want to talk to your t-shirt (and then they’ll talk to you, hopefully).
  3. Design something you’d be proud to wear. There are a million ways to convey branding without actually using the logo: check out our creative exercises to see how.
  4. It’s all about detail. There are plenty of different t-shirt models you can use for inspiration. Don’t think your start-up is a polo shirt kind of vibe? How about a simple t-shirt with small pocket details? Check out our catalogue for more t-shirt models.
  5. Think about your target. How old are they? Are they male or female? What kind of t-shirts would they be likely to wear? It’s not uncommon for start-ups to sell their t-shirt design and get yet, even more, benefit from their advertising campaign.

The Start-ups



Described by as ‘the world’s first 24/7 estate agent that combines the human face of the estate agency model with a unique, interactive digital approach,’ () it seemed only natural to take advantage of the basic elements of their bright purple logo to ‘construct’ a t-shirt design for this successful start-up.



In an attempt to give Amazon a run for its money, in a ‘very cute way’ welcome Flubit, the online price reduction website set to openly save you between 10-15% on Amazon products. For this design, we took the arrow design from the logo to create a patterned t-shirt to emphasise the price reduction element of this newbie. Since it seems like everyone is talking about them, we thought that their t-shirt should grab peoples’ attention too, damn it.



The clue is in the name. This little gem delivers the best in craft beer straight to your door. If you like beer, there’s nothing to hide – wear your favourite beverage with pride. We had to use our imagination a little with this one since the illustration in the logo is sadly hidden. Filling in the gap, we were able to cover ourselves in beer (well, the t-shirt anyway).



Check out this dishy little orange number for this meal planning delivery service. Gousto is the ultimate service for the lazy/culinary-challenged among us, who never know what to cook, how to cook it or can be arsed to go out and get the ingredients. Yes, please.



Hate that moment in the morning when you realise that you’re all out of the brown stuff? Tap into this coffee management system and never be short of your little beany friends again.

how to design a promotional t-shirt checklist

Would you like to see any other start-up t-shirt? Let us know in the comment section below!

Printsome is a T-shirt printing agency in the UK based in London that delivers all across the UK, from printing T-shirts in Brighton to York and anywhere in between. So, if you’re after a T-shirt or custom clothing, get in touch for a quote and indulge yourself in some awesome customer service.


Hayley's journey began in the Design Department, where she left her stamp all over the Printsome blog -- an absolute wizard with formats, infographics, and illustrations! From there she branched out into proving her writing skills were also top-notch. She writes freelance about printing for the blog. Her creativity is versatile, her drive, insatiable. She is also Communication Coordinator at MOB (Makers of BCN), whilst co-writing Audiovisual City Magazine.

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