Tradeshows and T-shirts – 50 Shades of Gray

Gray and black t-shirts still a safe choiceOur project managers and production artists field a lot of questions regarding printing and giveaways. Here are some recent questions we’ve received about ordering t-shirts for tradeshows and events and some tips for success:

Q: I want my tradeshow booth staff to wear matching T-shirts but there’s too many people and not enough time to get everyone’s actual sizes. What mix of sizes should I use?

A: For Women, a good rule  of thumb is 15% small, 35% medium, 40% large, 10% extra large. For Men plan on 15% medium, 60% large, 25% extra large. Any XXL, 3XL, or 4XL shirts can generally be ordered individually but will be priced a bit higher than the standard XS – XL sizes. Whenever possible, it is best to go with Unisex sizing.

Q: I want my booth staff to actually want to wear the T-shirts. Should I order cotton or 50/50 blend?

A: If these are really for a single event where you don’t expect the shirt to last a long time, go for a thin (5 oz) cotton. If you plan on having the team wear their team shirt at multiple events, you may want to go for a slightly heavier gauge or 50/50 blend. But keep in mind, that even though everybody loves Haynes Beefy T’s, they make lousy indoor tradeshow shirts because, although thick and cozy, they are uncomfortably hot.

Q: What’s the most popular color for a t-shirt giveaway?Full color on charcoal gray t-shirts

A: Popular t-shirt colors right now are any one of the (possibly 50?) shades of gray. From light heather gray, to asphalt and charcoal, gray is in. (Maybe because of the book?) Black remains a very popular t-shirt color. White unfortunately tends to be associated with a perception of lower quality, regardless of brand, and generally white t-shirts don’t hold up as long over time. Silk screening works great on cotton or blends, but if you use a dark color shirt, like gray or black, you will have to lay down a field of white under the intended screenprinted design. This additional white layer will add to the total cost of your print job.

Resources & Further Reading:


The Proof is in the Proof!

PDFs vs. Source Files

10 Tips for Planning Your Next Promotional Giveaway Campaign

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