How to Design and Create Custom Apparel for Your Business


When creating apparel for your business, you have to know what people like to wear. Investing in promotional t-shirts or other apparel with eye-catching designs, logos, images and taglines can help your company stand out. Get ideas for how to create custom apparel below.

The Benefits of Getting Apparel for Your Business

Designing apparel for your business offers staff and customers the opportunity to wear your brand. As you learn how to design custom apparel, you should also be aware of what it does for your company. New custom apparel offers many benefits, including:

1. Making Customers and Employees Feel Appreciated

Giving away custom promotional merch is a nice way to show your appreciation. Employees will feel surprised by the free gift and know that they are a valued part of the team. Including promotional apparel as an extra to reward good customers for their business is another way to show your appreciation.

2. Higher Morale

Offering custom apparel boosts morale among your employees because it makes them feel special. Your valued workers can wear their personalized business apparel anywhere, showing off their appreciation for their fun workplace with stylish merch.

People feel more comfortable in an environment where they feel like they’re making personal connections. Company apparel gives them that sense of being important to you and each other, making them feel proud of the work they do.

A simple t-shirt can bring your employees together, whether you have a company sports team or you just want to give all of your workers something that displays your logo.

3. Teambuilding

Custom apparel creates a sense of camaraderie among coworkers. A simple t-shirt can bring your employees together, whether you have a company sports team or you just want to give all of your workers something that displays your logo. Apparel emphasizes the value of teamwork and your employees will feel like they’re part of a community when they wear it.

Requiring employees to wear company-sponsored apparel to work makes inclusion second nature. You can also achieve this effect if you allow your apparel on casual dress days. If your workplace requires formal attire only, you can also ask employees to wear their comfortable company merch during extracurricular activities such as company picnics, social mixers or game days.

4. Having Planned Gifts

One of the best parts of gifting custom apparel is that you get to do it on your terms. You can give your apparel to all new hires or for one-year anniversaries. When an employee’s birthday comes up, you will know exactly what you have available to give them.

Apparel is an easy gift that everyone needs, and it has so many options for personalization.

5. Promoting Your Business

Custom apparel also serves as good advertising for your company. When your employees or customers wear your promotional clothing outside of the workplace, the public will notice your brand identity. This could draw in new customers and clients who are curious about what the logo represents.

Apparel also makes good items for giveaways and special promotional events. You can generate more interest in your company if you host a contest or giveaway over social media involving free shirts. Asking for likes and shares in exchange for merchandise will increase your visibility on social media.

If your company goes to an event or tradeshow as a vendor, you can bring t-shirts for the public to buy. This is an opportunity for more exposure that you should make the most of.

6. Establishing a Brand Image

Customers get a positive impression of your brand when they see your employees wearing custom merchandise. Your employees look like a team in exclusive company merchandise who are there to greet customers with the highest degree of professionalism. You can treat custom apparel like uniforms, but you can establish a brand image without having your employees wear the apparel every day.

7. Expressing Your Creativity

Custom apparel has the creative potential to look very different between companies. With the right partner, you have options in terms of the type of apparel, so you can get t-shirts, sweatshirts, scarves, headwear or many other items. You can also decide on your preferred style and colors for a truly unique look. The best option for customization is the logo and tagline, which can display whatever you choose.

8. Cost-Effective Option

Promotional apparel is a cost-effective way to arrange gifts or an advertising campaign, whether your business is well established or just starting. It makes for affordable marketing and has the potential to promote your brand on a limited budget. When your employees have a birthday or anniversary, you will already have items to give out.

Different Apparel Styles

Custom apparel for businesses can be much more than a one-size-fits-all shirt with a uniform style. Below are several popular style options for different types of apparel that you might want to implement based on your company’s preferences:

1. Business Casual

Casual clothing is considered less suitable or nontraditional for formal occasions, but it is very comfortable and relaxing to wear. T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets are some of the most recognizable casual clothing, and they all make great promotional apparel. Casual attire works well for company-sponsored apparel if you have casual days at work, do company meetups at sports games or attend outdoor venues as a team. Apparel can be casual and also elegant, with detailed designs and colors that appeal to the masses.

One benefit of casual apparel is its ability to appeal to many people. Formal clothes tend to be more expensive and less popular in public spaces outside of the workplace. Casual clothes are also perfect as everyday outfits or pajamas — especially t-shirts — so people tend to wear them more often. It’s a good balance between style and comfort.

2. Artsy

Artsy apparel is a bolder style for highly creative people and makes for high-quality business apparel. This style works very well as promotional items for industries that value creative thought. Artsy apparel can be unusual or appear handmade, like woven scarves. If your company specializes in a creative trade or service, try asking your employees to vote for their favorite logo, or get them involved in the design process in some other way.

For a t-shirt or other standard promotional shirt to be artsy, you can use special coloring methods like tie-dye, or you can select an unusual logo. Since this style tends to lean on the experimental side of fashion, your design team is free to take more risks. The goal of an artsy style is to make a statement, which can also involve advocating for an important value such as eco-friendly business practices. When investing in artsy shirts or other apparel, it’s especially important to get items made from high-quality materials.

3. Grunge

The grunge style emerged in the 1980s with the music genre of the same name. Grunge clothing is often layered and oversized, making it comfortable like casual attire. Beanies, t-shirts with catchy slogans and sweatshirts are all good choices for promotional items in this style. Other popular clothing items that fit in with grunge are crop tops, flannels, holy denim and leather jackets.

Grunge might sound fairly niche, but it offers a lot and is still a widely popular look. Grunge is also fairly easy to achieve. If your company is going for the grunge aesthetic, you can order baggy clothing items in dark colors. White t-shirts with dark logos are also a good choice because these pair well with leather jackets characteristic of the style.

4. Chic

Chic apparel is classy and elegant with soft colors, favoring a tastefully minimalistic aesthetic. Promotional apparel in the chic style is sure to appear tidy without being overly formal, so it has a wide appeal. Black and white t-shirts fit well in the chic style, but subtle pastels and neutral shades also work.

Avoid selecting bright colors for your design when going for a chic style. Chic fashion allows accessories such as bags and jewelry to stand out more. It uses clean lines and monochromatic colors to emphasize the wearer.

5. Bohemian

As a countercultural style that became popular among hippies in the 70s, this unique fashion has evolved, with a fairly complex history. Bohemian clothes are bright in color and favor artistic patterns and prints. Since the Bohemian style is about creativity and innovation, it can look very different depending on who’s wearing what. Bohemian apparel traditionally involved long, flowing sweater jackets and bell bottoms, but the new Boho chic style favors handmade clothes and natural fibers that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

If you want your company to really make a statement, Bohemian fashion is associated with eco-friendly ideals and practices. You can simplify this style by selecting t-shirts in vibrant patterns with colorful logos.

Still a cultural phenomenon today, Bohemian dress can include laid-back clothing like t-shirts and jackets that you commonly see with the casual look. Loose clothing combined with casual jewelry and accessories is common to see. This style works well for companies that want to break the mold and display artistic freedom.

6. Preppy

The preppy style developed in North America and has developed into a contemporary style that many people enjoy on and off campuses. Staples of the preppy fashion include button-down shirts, sweaters, henleys, polo shirts, skirts, chinos and Khakis. Preppy is also a good universal style.

7. Sporty

A sporty style is a simple fashion look that reflects the wearer’s athletic ability. Sporty clothes are comfortable and are made from materials that hold up well to sweat and water. If you have a gym or your workplace culture values fitness, this style is a good choice for promotional apparel. You can design sporty apparel that goes with running shoes and wear it to the gym.

T-shirts, tank tops and racerback tanks are all possible sports apparel. If you want to use a material designed for activity, promotional apparel by Sport Tek offers several good options, including crewneck sweatshirts.

Your apparel will be effective as long as the design is universal enough for most people to enjoy wearing it.

How to Design Apparel People Want to Wear

Your apparel will be effective as long as the design is universal enough for most people to enjoy wearing it. When considering a design, you should start with:

1. Having a Clear Goal for Your Apparel

You can have a successful custom apparel promotional campaign without picking a specific fashion to emulate, but you should at least have an idea of how you will use your apparel. Whether you are planning to bring t-shirts to an important event or you want to have them on hand to use as gifts, it’s a good idea to plan for their arrival. The best way to use custom apparel is to order for a giveaway and save the remaining items to use as gifts later on.

Whatever your plan, you should have a clear marketing objective and know your target audience. Knowing what your audience would want to wear will help you determine what kind of apparel to create.

2. Choosing a Brand or Style That Suits Your Intentions

You want to select a style that depends on what you’re creating the apparel for. It helps to select high-quality materials from a good brand, but you also have to consider specific reasons people will wear the apparel. Some brands are designed more for an older or younger crowd, but promotional clothing is often universal to various demographics, especially outerwear and t-shirts.

When people wear your apparel, you want them to feel like they are sharing a secret. Promotional apparel is exclusive and original. People will only be able to get it from you, so you want it to look and feel special.

3. Taking Fit Into Consideration

Your customers or employees will want to wear custom apparel if it fits them well, which is why t-shirts are so popular for promotions. T-shirts come in straightforward sizes that can fit most people. Even with the most beautiful design, if your clothes fit poorly, people will be unable to wear them for the purpose you intended. What looks good on some people may be unflattering on others, so it’s important to consider the number of people you will be giving the apparel to.

Other options for universal apparel are outerwear, caps, socks and scarves. These are all items that anyone can wear. If you want to use fitted clothing, make sure you know what sizes you will need to order, and look closely for gendered labeling that will tell you who the clothing is designed for.

4. Using Appealing Design Features

Design ideas for your promotional apparel include:

  • Adding a logo: Your company’s logo is what will express your brand on the shirts. Focus on making this detail the most elegant.
  • Selecting universal colors: To please most people, you can use soft colors or black and white. You can also host a tie-dye party using white shirts. If you do use vibrant colors, it’s best to conform to a specific style.
  • Adding a clever slogan: A slogan makes t-shirts enjoyable to read. Adding a witty or clever saying is your chance to make your apparel stand out in a crowd.

Order Apparel With Diehard Custom

Choose us for all of your custom apparel solutions. We have many options for brands and apparel fabric types waiting to be customized. Contact us for more information about our promotional products.