Mike Riches breaks down 4 awesome ways to promote your t-shirt brand online
You’ve spent time designing your t-shirts and money printing them the next step is to sell them or get them featured on a cool blog or fashion website and to do that you need some cool looking images to promote your t-shirt designs. This part of the process is too often over looked by designers and for creative people this is a huge mistake. The way you present your t-shirt design or brand online is a massive part of engaging potential customers or t-shirt bloggers. It is your first impression, and you only get one shot at one of those. The Internet is a great resource for marketing your brand with loads of t-shirt bloggers and social media sites, like Pinterest, which are perfect for showcasing your t-shirts designs.
Before you jump on the computer in a pinning frenzy, stop. Take time to think about the best way to showcase your designs. How do you want your tees to be seen? The way you promote your t-shirt designs should directly mirror the brand image and style. If you take a flick through the look-books of successful t-shirt brands the style and tone of the images goes further than just a picture of a t-shirt. They are selling a lifestyle, an image, and you need to too. The best brands and t-shirt designers have a clear idea of themselves and market directly to their captive audience through their promotional t-shirt images.
#1 – Promotional Videos
A picture can speak a thousand words and moving pictures will help you sell your t-shirts. Putting together a promotional video may seem a little out of reach for small brands but with the technology currently at your disposal and a little bit of creativity there really shouldn’t be much of a limit on what you can achieve. Take the Zanerobe preview for example, like a lot of their look books it conveys a really natural and honest impression, if a little rude in places, and represents their brand image perfectly.
Honour Over Glory released a number of promotional videos with the focus being on their models. Like the Own The Night video it is shot in a behind-the-scenes style showing the models and designers having fun whilst photographing images for the catalogue. Getting an insight into a company or brand is a really cool trend at the moment as everybody likes to be nosy and see what’s really happening.
#2 – Create an Environment
Shooting images of your clothing in the environment that you think represents how they should be worn or the image associated with your brand is a no brainer. If you were creating edgy, urban clothing then strong, high contrast images of angry looking models with a city backdrop would work well. In this place is where Manikinfresh have located their t-shirt images. The model looks like he is checking over his shoulder, expecting to be chased at any time. Edgy.
A similar situation but slightly less aggressive and more hipster is the Honour Over Glory lookbook. The attractive models are pictured wearing garments in different locations depending on the season, which of course must be a consideration. In some of the brand images they position themselves near the coast and others in the city, always portraying style of the brand. Is this the epitome of hipster?
A different look is what wholesome Matthew McConaughey’s clothing line Just Keep Livin’ were looking to achieve. His longhaired models were shot in the American wilderness with axes and other rugged, manly things. This is clearly the image that the brand wants to be associated with and it fits perfectly with the style of the t-shirts.
The Zanerobe collection shows a much more laid back approach with some of the images even looking a little blurry. Like their promotional video they have chosen to keep their tone and image really informal which is in line with their brand as a whole. The photographs of the barefoot models skate boarding and drinking Corona look like they were taken of an informal street gathering and not for promotional purposes at all, maybe they were, we just don’t know.
#3 – Focus on the Models
Clearly one of the biggest of deciding how to promote your t-shirt designs revolves around the choice of whether to use models or not. This can sometimes be a cost thing as we don’t all have glamorous friends and although Dave is always offering, he probably isn’t the best choice for promoting your brand. Just like the environment you carefully selected, the models you choose too have to be representing the right image for your t-shirt designs. Tattoos or no tattoos, muscular or skinny. These are questions you need to ask yourself before you start the selection process so don’t be afraid to go all Simon Cowell on your modeling hopefuls. After all, it’s your brand.
Like many t-shirt brands Own The Night and Honour Over Glory often select models with plenty of tattoos to represent their brand. This gives a clear indication of the way that they see themselves as a brand and how they want to be seen. Any Forty also use inked models along with younger looking skater types to promote their t-shirt designs. It looks like their images have been photoshoped on to a background to make them look like they are outside. It creates a different effect and focusing on the t-shirt more. T-shirt label Natri use the same models in all their promotional shots, and position them in different locations. This creates a strong identity, as all of their new t-shirts are instantly recognisable by the two models.
#4 – Let the T-shirt do the Talking
If all that sounds like too much to handle then maybe the best option for you is to make things simple, but really classy. Sometimes it is better to let the t-shirts do the talking and present them in the most simple, but effective way. This could be laid out onto a table or other surface, or on a hanger.
Abercrombie show their t-shirts across a surface with some creases manipulated into the garment to give a tactile quality and a feeling of authenticity. You don’t want to pull your t-shirt so tight that it looks like it is rigid or uncomfortable.
Jonny Cupcakes’ t-shirts and other garments are laid out in uniform style with equal gaps and everything at a slight angle.
By rolling up the sleeves on their t-shirt designs Kill Joss maintained the tactile quality and gave them a personal look. The hangers bring the aesthetic of a retail shop to the online store, which has a familiar quality and provides a different look to most other stores. It gives the impression of a small business and the with the maker movement a real trend at the moment this has to be a plus.
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