|Just about every music fan wants to own a cool shirt from their favorite band. The question is how to create the shirt that everyone will actually buy. Here are a few tips on designing quality threads that will show off your band and make you some money.|
1. Design: When deciding on a design for your band’s shirt, stay true to the band’s theme and music genre. Making a statement is good, as long as it makes sense to your band’s identity. A really intricate design might look great; but you do want to be recognized so make sure the band name is readable. On the other hand, some bands go with a super simple design which may not even include the band’s name at all. This could be a little risky, unless you are already pretty well known and it’s a symbol that has become connected with your image.
Some shirt designs are pretty edgy, as is the band it represents; but be cautious that your design is not over the top offensive. If you choose to go that way, you may find that the shirt does not appeal to all of the fans that like your music. You do want people to wear your shirt everywhere, not just while cleaning their garage. Take your time with designing.
Sarge Tip One way to know what your fans will wear is to post pictures of a few different designs (preferably being modeled by a real human being) and let the fans vote for their favorite.
One way to know what your fans will wear is to post pictures of a few different designs (preferably being modeled by a real human being) and let the fans vote for their favorite.
2. What Sells: If you are spending the time and money to produce a band shirt, you obviously want a return on your investment. By applying simple marketing strategies you will be successful. Consider who you are selling your merchandise to, what they like, what other bands they like, what designs and styles will they will most likely be attracted to, and go from there. At the end of the day you’re designing a product that you want people to buy and wear.
Always carry a range of sizes, from small to 3x and everything in between. Always include a ladies t-shirt or tank. They may be more expensive, but your female fans will pay a little more and appreciate that you are accommodating them. A few kids’ sizes are good to have too. After all, those little fans will grow into big fans buying tickets to your shows in years to come.
Another trend is shirts that can be altered in cool ways by the wearer. Put some thought into designing a shirt where sleeves and necklines can be cut away without compromising the band’s logo. Female fans in particular like to “customize” their favorite band shirts.
Sarge Tip Ask your fans what other items they want. Create some graphics of handbags, ball caps, jewelry or other band merchandise in different colors and styles and take a poll on your Facebook or at your Merch table.
Ask your fans what other items they want. Create some graphics of handbags, ball caps, jewelry or other band merchandise in different colors and styles and take a poll on your Facebook or at your Merch table.
3. Choosing a Designer: When hiring a designer, select a professional with a portfolio and good references from other bands. Make sure they are in sync with your band’s image. For t-shirt designs, most will charge a flat fee anywhere from $150.00-$500.00 depending on the complexity of the design. Some charge an hourly rate.
You may also be able to find a great designer from your fan base. Set up a contest for your fans to submit their artwork. Offer an incentive like VIP treatment at your shows, the band’s endorsement on their website and social media pages, and referrals to other bands for the winning designer.
If you choose a friend or family member to design for you, be specific about the expectations and how important it is to meet the due dates even if they are donating their time and talent. If you have someone in the band that is design savvy, you are probably in luck and save a lot of money.
Whoever you choose, make sure that the designs are in high resolution 300 dpi, and in most cases vector format is best. Set definitive due dates for concept, proof, and finalized drawings. Do not leave the due date up to the designer.
4. Printing: Be sure to shop around and compare printers before entering into an agreement with one. Ask questions about the products they are using. Remember quality is important! You will pay a bit more for good cotton shirts, but people will also be able to wear them longer without fear that they will fall apart before your next gig. Be sure you and the printer have a clear understanding of any set up fees, shipping/delivery costs, and how quickly can they replenish your inventory when you need more product. Also discuss their return and refund policy if you find there are problems with your order.
Sarge Tip Don’t be stingy. Plan to buy in bulk to get a better overall price. Spend a little more than you anticipated and you will make more cash in the long run.
Don’t be stingy. Plan to buy in bulk to get a better overall price. Spend a little more than you anticipated and you will make more cash in the long run.
While both digital and screen printed designs will look good if the original artwork is good, there are a few points to think about when considering one method over the other; without a doubt digital printing is much faster and may actually be a bit less costly than the laborious screen printing method.
The digital method works well on light colored cotton shirts. Although the range of color is limited and some say that blues and purples are just not up to par here. On dark shirts and other fabrics, digital designs tend to turn out very thick and rubbery which can be pretty uncomfortable to the wearer. Whereas screen print works well on light or dark shirts in all fabrics, and is also clearly the choice for items like ball caps, jackets, or handbags. There is a much larger variety of ink colors available with screen print, including metallic and glow in the dark inks.
Overall, the old school screen print method is the best choice. Just be aware that you have to plan wisely and further in advance to get a better product to offer your fans.
Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion