Corporation T-Shirt. Stupid, Bloody Tuesday

Today, I am doing something different. I have a guest writer/aspiring blogger who I am going to call Iyi Bir Adam, which is Turkish for “good guy”. Don’t ask me to pronounce it…he chose it as his blog name on this site. He is a really great guy: funny, intelligent, likes my blogs and doesn’t have a laundry list of requirements for his chat buddies. He will be popping in occasionally to offer insight and advice to us single girls who want the inside scoop on what guys find sexy, what makes a girl a keeper in their books and pretty much how to keep the emotional health and balance in a relationship. Hopefully, he will do all this. We’ll see. His first post is not even relationship related (he says he needs to work on those a bit more), so in keeping with the randomness of this blog and in an effort to give us a pre-holiday break from crazy bitches and drama, please enjoy Iyi Bir Adam’s take on….T-shirts.

 Imagine for a moment that you are a part of a group. It could be your dorm floor at college, a family that is getting together for a reunion, or an after-work softball league. It doesn’t really matter what the group is for this exercise, so please, feel free to select whatever kind of group that you would like. Now, imagine that a well-meaning individual decides that its not enough for those in your group to know that you are a part of that group. They decide you all need to wear identical clothing so the whole group can, in one voice, proudly declare their affiliation with said entity. But instead of simply encouraging everyone to wear khaki pants, or red shirts and jeans, they decide to make things easier for you. They design a t-shirt to proclaim to the world that they are a part of THIS GROUP! And before you know it, you’re being posed into a picture like this.

Today I am talking about t-shirts. More specifically, the self-designed t-shirt. I must confess at the outset that I am not the biggest fan of them, though it is mostly because so many people do them so terribly. Mainly, because they don’t consult me. If you choose not to ask for my input on a shirt, then please, please, PLEASE take my advice and remember that less is more. 

My in-laws took this rule to heart for their family reunion t-shirt in 2002, with wonderful results. It was a simple white shirt with two green triangles together so it looked like mountains, with the family name and the year written in a light tan color, all fitting in about a 2 inch square over the heart. No big, dumb phrases on the back, or goofy/embarrassing pictures of some part of the family on the front.

My own family, on the other hand, did not learn this lesson, and for their 2005 reunion, had a navy blue t-shirt with 1 inch high writing in a single line across the chest, and another single line of one-inch text at the same height across the back. Very strange, very embarrassing. Thankfully, the message seems to have been properly conveyed, and we have not had a t-shirt at our family reunions since then.

But, dear readers, I trust that you are smart enough to handle more than one rule if you are going to design a t-shirt. (just as a refresher, if you ignore everything else I say, remember that less is more–minimal writing/graphics should be your default.) So here are other things that you should know about designing your own t-shirt.

First, make sure that the shirts will be printed on something comfortable. Like trying to make a paper airplane out of cardstock, many a good t-shirt idea has been ruined by printing it on t-shirts that are too thick and heavy. Your goal in selecting material is two-fold: A) you want people to forget that they are wearing a self-designed shirt; B) you want the shirt to be comfortable enough that they would choose to wear it on days that they aren’t doing activities with the group that designed the shirt.

A second issue with the shirt itself is color. You want it to be something that extremely fashion-conscious people can match outfits with without having to go out and buy anything more (read, no lime green, fuchsia, or lavendar). In my personal opinion, white, red, or grey are the safest choices. However, the color should correspond well with the subject matter of the shirt. Is it a gardening club? In that case, you could live life on the edge and go with something in a light yellow. Flag football team…not so much.

Which brings us to the third important aspect of t-shirt design–content. What is it you’re going to put on your shirt? Will you include a graphic of some sort, or just words? Or will you be sneaky and shape the words into some sort of picture? One problem with the picture is that most places will charge you per color of ink used. This can make things really expensive, really fast. If an image is going to be used, it should be simple, and amusing. In fact, that is the rule for anything that goes on the shirt–make it amusing. If it were going to be serious, it would have been made into a polo shirt. And, just in case you’re wondering, shirts with white-trash slogans on them (i.e. “no money, no honey,” “you say I’m a bitch like it’s a bad thing,” or “don’t hate me because I’m sexy, hate me because your boyfriend thinks so”) are not amusing.

Amusing content are things that the group finds especially funny, but that the larger population of those without the shirt can understand. A shirt that says, “Ceeboo!!!” may be funny to the people who saw the normally quiet and reserved person singing a song about a cebu, but wearing that shirt on the street is just going to get strange looks from people.

So, as you set out to design your own t-shirt, remember these rules:

1. choose a soft shirt
2. choose a good color (white, red, grey)
3. be amusing, not stupid with the content.

Or, if you can’t remember those:

4. think minimalist–less is more.

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