When you say something is uniform, it is unanimous and consistent. A unified whole. Work uniform is the term given to personalised work clothing worn by members of an organisation, during when these members conduct the activities of said organisation.
Also known as workwear, work uniform or, in the case of custom printing, personalised workwear. This greatly depends on many varying factors, such as: type of industry, number of employees, and country — among other things.
This can give your business extra points for customisation and uniqueness, with little to no effort. Or for a fancier vibe you could embroider your very own logo onto useful caps or masks. Rather, you wouldn’t personally take a needle and thread, mind! We would sort that all out for you, easy as pie! There is no rule or limit.
Should You Consider a Work Uniform?
The implementation of a work uniform, as with everything else in life, has its advantages and disadvantages. Some people find them to be professional, while others think they leave no room for self-expression.
Ultimately, the decision to implement workwear lies with each head of company. If you’re interested in adopting a uniform policy, then I invite you to keep reading for more information on why customizing a workwear is so appealing.
But! Big tip: this is a long one. Perhaps you might prefer to download this as a PDF to save it for later. Up to you really!
Does My Business Need Branded Corporate Uniforms?
Some businesses absolutely need a uniform — while others, not so much. In fact, there are some that would find it counterproductive. However, if your company falls into any of the following categories, then you most likely need or already have standardised corporate uniforms.
Delivery or At-Home Services Work Uniform
If going to customers’ homes is part of the profession, then some type of branded attire is an absolute must. Seeing a brand at the door is like seeing a sheriff’s badge, it immediately builds trust in the customer that the stranger upon their threshold is a professional and not a thief. Sure, a qualification certificate will do the trick, but a work uniform will provide immediate confirmation as to the trustworthiness of the door dweller.
Health Industry Work Uniform
Everyone finds doctors and nurses sexy. Health is sexy too. Workwear in the health industry guarantees sanitation for the patient and comfort for the employee. Uniforms in hospitals also tend to be colour coded, allowing for organisation and to simplify identification during an emergency. The codes change depending on where you are, but surgeons tend to wear green scrubs in clinics and hospitals. Other types of industries that may not be directly related to health, but require high levels of hygiene like spas and gyms, also benefit from having personalised polo shirts.
Food Industry Work Uniform
Although today’s kitchens are filled with all kinds of work uniforms and colours, the most popular one tends to be a simple white outfit with an apron. A clean white uniform assures clients that the chef is clean and, therefore, so too is the restaurant. White garments also absorb less heat than other colours, keeping the staff fresh as they work tirelessly by the constantly lit fires!
Hospitality Industry Uniform
Whether it is a restaurant, hotel or even an airplane, when it comes to hospitality, it is important that the customers recognize the front-of-house staff. This is so they know whom to ask for help and whom to approach to attain a service. It would be a tad embarrassing for a customer to confuse the wrong person for staff. A professional look in this industry will boost the confidence of the employee, giving them a sense of belonging, along with improving the quality of the service. And in this business, the quality of customer service IS money.
Face-to-Face Customer Service Work Uniform
If you have a shop, or another venue, where staff interact face-to-face with customers, you might consider implementing smart-looking uniforms. Personalised polo shirts are a great example of workwear. A branded uniform will allow your customers to quickly identify your employees, which motivates a faster service.
Manual Labour / Construction Industry
More than advocating a brand, these types of businesses would benefit from custom workwear for safety reasons, like a hi-vis vest for example. The correct attire provides workers with the tools they need to realise their duties and reduce the chance of injury.
Even if your brand does not fit into the categories mentioned above, a uniform could still have a positive impact!
Or you can just get creative…
The Benefits of Branded Workwear
Uniforms can level the playing field for those who wear them. For example, in schools, it prevents inferiority or superiority complexes in pupils who would otherwise wear very expensive clothes vs. hand-me-downs. Wearing the same attire also prevents pupils from attending class with distracting or offensive garments. A t-shirt with a controversial slogan printed on it, for example.
While some companies have identical workwear regardless of position, some places, such as hotels, it is imperative to classify the employees depending on their rank, to provide appropriate service to customers, thus identity is necessary.
Personalised workwear is an extension of your brand. It signifies your company’s values and services to your staff and more importantly your customers, but also reinforces your corporate identity, vision and brand culture in every way.
In a competitive environment, customers tend to choose the brand in which they have an emotional or personal connection with. If they have a positive interaction with a member of the team, it is likely that they will have a good memory of the brand.
You can also be creative when designing and printing your workwear. Adding a pun, related to your brand image, on the back of your uniform, can make customers chuckle, while imprinting your brand in their mind. The logo and name will create feelings of trust and credibility in the customer — they will have faith that they can rely on you.
Just like through body language, our microexpressions and the way we hold ourselves, we subliminally communicate messages. This is also true of the messages communicated through the clothes we wear. The statement we make with workwear.
Attention to detail is crucial as you don’t want to miss an opportunity to impress and promote your brand. An employee wearing the company logo on their polo is essentially a walking ad! Corporate clothing will allow you to market your company.
Through good marketing, you can generate an external fanbase for your brand, of which these potential buyers would purchase the branded print garments as more than just workwear, but as merch. This desire to be a part of your brand — externally from working for you — enhances your marketing reach as well.
If you make your brand awesome and want to start to start selling merchandise check this article we wrote about T-shirt relabelling, you are going to like it, a lot!
Google´s search engine is the brain of the world, not only showing us what we think, but how we think. It, as a brand, screams intelligence and renovation and speed. Making use of the many available Google products makes the customer feel like they own a part of the brand and its values.
However, unless you work for the company they are not a part of the brand. Google sells merch with their colourful, “household-name” logo so that when customers purchase these they begin to feel part of the team and they take pride in wearing it — as a marketing action.
Personalised workwear should be part of the marketing plan. One of the key methods to maintaining a brand identity is to be consistent in all aspects of the company’s strategy, which includes how employees are viewed. Hence, uniforms and workwear are an extension of your brand. They’re one more channel for you to relate to your customers.
Uniform programs are considered one of the most popular forms of advertising because it helps employees stand out for the services they provide while reinforcing the brand’s name, culture, and vision in every way.
Personalised workwear affects the customer in a great way. When the customer is faced with so many choices, they often choose the brand in which they have a personal connection with.
In some cases, the first point of entry is a member of the staff. If they have a positive interaction with a member of the team, they are likely to have a positive memory of the brand. It gives the image that the workers are professional, clean, neat, trustworthy, and with pride in their company. Uniforms are one more channel for you to relate to your customers.
In a competitive environment, customers have a choice of who to hire, and will most likely go with who they trust. First impressions are long-lasting and often formed by the way people dress. Just as many tend to judge a book by its cover, customers tend to judge a company by its workers.
On the other hand, if the uniform starts to show signs of wear and tear, customers may begin to question the quality of products or services provided; it is important to provide workers with a sufficient amount of spare T-shirts for them to launder regularly and keep them in good shape.
Personalised workwear affects employees positively also. According to Business Insider, what we wear can have a huge impact on others, and in extension our careers. Therefore it should be a no-brainer to dress employees in good-looking garments.
Studies show that certain garments can put us in ‘work mode’. By dressing in a more casual way, we act accordingly, whilst with formal-wear our demeanour “suits-up” to business.
When you look good, you feel good. Personalised workwear proves no one is treated differently, no one received special treatment, and it boosts employee morale and culture as part of a team. Employees that feel content are more likely to perform better. Most importantly, employees must feel comfortable, in appropriate fabrics, while doing their job.
Creating a Professional Image
Much like a sleek website and a good-looking business card, uniformed staff gives a sense of professionalism. Not only will your customers think of your business of being more professional, but your employees will feel it as well.
Studies have shown that workers change their attitude and even the way they think when they wear “work clothes”. This doesn’t mean that a person who’s casually dressed is not serious about their job, it only states that having a uniform allows for the brain to differentiate more easily a “work” and a “non-work” state.
When people wear the same type of clothes, they feel they’re part of the team. Employees that feel like they “belong” and have an enhanced sense of pride in the company. Moreover, wearing uniform increases the safety of larger teams — as like a wolf among sheep it becomes effortless to pick the imposter amidst them.
Personalised workwear saves time — in more ways than one. When there is no uniform, a dress code must be implemented which means time spent on deciding what it is and then on enforcing it. Personalised-named-clothing means communicating with staff and/or customers goes more smoothly. Corporate clothes also mean that workers will spend less time deciding what to wear each morning.
Some people may not realise that wearing uniforms increases the safety of big teams. When everyone is dressed in the same uniform, it is easier to spot a stranger among the group. Different lines of employment will have different safety needs: protective goggles, smart fabrics, fluorescent for street or night work and infinite pockets. The list goes on.
But also in these times, a uniform is actually good for COVID too. Uniforms act like a protective apron, once you leave the premises you take it off and wash it, the transmission of any virus is halted.
How Do I Design My Work Uniform Ideas?
If you’ve read through all of that (yay!) and you’ve decided that your company would benefit from having uniforms, the next logical step would be to design them. Don’t worry, you don’t need a degree in fashion design or mad drawing skills to come up with a proper outfit, but before we approach the canvas you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions.
PART 1 – Research
What Makes My Brand Tick?
What makes your brand different? What makes it stand out from the competition? There’s no need to write an essay, just make a list of words. Somewhere between five and ten should be fine. Too few and you’ll run the risk of lacking material. Too many and you may complicate the process.
What Are My Brand’s Strengths?
Again, make another list of words. This time you’ll note down your strengths. Some of these may coincide with the first list. This is not a problem.
*Translated: You’ll come back for my flavour
How Do People Perceive My Brand?
Create a survey for your customers and ask your family and friends. Sometimes we think we know how others perceive us, but the answers to these questions may oftentimes surprise us! An objective third person perspective will shed light on how your brand looks from the outside-in.
What’s My Story?
Nowadays storytelling is on the minds, hearts and lips of every marketeer. Contemporary brands engage with their clients way beyond simply the sales. Think of your company’s personality and what it wants to say. Making workwear ideas that run with your narrative will help you present a cohesive trademark. If you need help with your brand’s storytelling you can check this article we wrote on brand archetypes we composed some time ago.
Do I Understand the Different Types of Uniforms?
Business formal? Business casual? Or just casual? Your target, the service you provide and the industry your employees work for, will give you a clue as to what kind of workwear you should enforce. An embroidered polo may not be as formal as a suit, but can present a more professional look than a printed t-shirt.
PART 2 – Design
Look For Inspiration
After answering the questions above, you must have a pretty good understanding of what your brand is about and how you want to represent it. Before you draw your design ideas on paper though, it might be a good idea to browse around first. Look at what others have done. Underneath you’ll find a healthy collection of branded workwear. Take a look around and see what others have already done. You don’t want to spend time and money on production only to find out afterwards that someone has already done it. If you still want to check out more examples, go to Pinterest*, type in “uniform” and see what pops up.
While* you’re there, you may want to follow us!
Think of Something Timeless
Everyone’s got to reinvent themselves from time to time, but it would be in everyone’s best interest if it wasn’t every season. It’s a given that once you enforce a uniform you’ll have to eventually update it, but if you do too often, you run the risk of creating an incohesive image. Avoid flimsy trends. Fiesta Red might sound like a great idea now, but in a couple of years, you may be accused of looking like a piñata. If you stick to timeless silhouettes and colours, your uniform will have more staying power. And if someone dares call you “boring” just remind them it’s a “classic”.
Think of Colours
You may find yourself thinking this step is unnecessary, as you already have corporate colours. But think again, a palette that works for a logo may not necessarily translate into clothes. For these cases, it is advisable to produce a sample (more on that later). If you decide not to use your corporate colour scheme then I’d recommend you stayed true to complementary colours. Look for neutrals that balance out your style guide. A tool that might help you out in this task is Kuler. It’s free and allows you to browse through thousands of premade palettes, or create your own based, on a specific hue.
Think of Materials
A garment made with regular synthetic fabric may be cheaper, but they don’t breathe as well or are as comfortable as a cotton counterpart. If your employees are required to move around, like a waiter, for example, it may be advisable to consider “friendlier” or “smart” materials. This ensures better movement, comfort and hygiene. If your enterprise occurs outdoors, then maybe a fabric that protects against the elements would also be advisable. Better quality fabrics usually mean more money, but consider it an investment as they will probably last longer than a cheaper alternative.
Think of Your Employees
What would they like to wear? Since they’re the ones who are going to spend a good amount of time in it, it might be a good idea to get their opinion on the matter! Few things are worse than wearing a work uniform you don’t like every day! (Ok, there are many worse things, but you know what I mean).
Time to Sketch
Now that you’ve gathered all of the information, it’s time to put your concept to paper. You may do this by hand or on a computer. If you don’t have the skills, ask an artistic friend to give you a hand. You may also do it with a college or in the worst case scenario, just find a picture of something similar. Pointing and imagining still works. “I want something like this, but in blue instead of yellow.” Or hire a professional digital artist.
PART 3 – Production
Find a Printer
A very important part of the production process is to find a company that will handle your design with the attention you deserve. Of course, we would love it if you picked us. I mean, why wouldn’t you? But we won’t hold it against you if you don’t. We will smile smugly at the very least, when you come back, but that’s about it.
Pro Tip: Ask your suppliers if they’d like to sponsor your uniforms! One amazing guy told us an awesome story about how he managed to get custom workwear for all his employees completely for free!
Create a Sample
Before you fully commit to a design, it is very important to create a sample. A sort of mockup, if you will. Like dating before marriage — this is no small decision. Creating a sample will allow you to test it. Have one or two workers wear it for a day or a week and have them report later to you. Is it comfortable? Does it still look good after many hours of use? Does it crumple or crease? What were the clients’ reactions? You don’t want the same experience as Virgin Airlines? Gather all of the feedback and make the necessary changes. If there are too many, it might mean going back to the drawing board, if it’s fine as it is, then send it to production! *rubs palms*
Lastly, Have Fun!
You don’t need to be a design tycoon in order to come up with a uniform that works for your business. Remember to think of your brand’s story, find inspiration, design and enjoy yourself! Corporate workwear is not just a way to promote your business, it is an opportunity to express your brand’s idea and leave your mark on the world. Have fun and be safe!
Personalised Workwear for Businesses
You’re probably too busy to worry about the in’s and out’s of personally organising and rallying together factory printers to print bulk high-quality apparel. We liaise between you and the factories to provide exceptional customer service and ease.
Screen print, DTG, Embroidery or transfer highly-detailed images, quotes, logos, anything; onto T-shirts, hoodies and jumpers for those cold London nights, polos for workwear, sportswear, tote bags, caps and more!
In bulk orders of over thousands, if you so desire. Or a batch of 25 items, if that’s all you need. Your business is our business! Your printed garments become our mission. Visit our website for a fast quote.