T-Shirts Buying Guide

Posted August 30, 2010

Shop Promotional T-Shirts


Why Buy Custom T-Shirts?

Believe it or not, a person will participate in a marathon and run the 26 grueling miles without a prayer of winning for no other reason than to go home with the T-shirt that says he or she did it. That’s one powerful shirt. Buy custom t-shirts for your company or next promotional event and tap into that power yourself.

Besides being casual and comfortable, custom T-shirts are our personal billboards, advertising our tastes in music, our favorite brands, the events we attended, and in some cases even where we bought the T-shirt! A recent advertising industry survey revealed that 62% of Americans own more than 10 T-shirts (frankly we believe that percentage is lower than the actual number) and that 91% have favorite tees they wear over and over again. That’s a lot of messaging, and that’s why custom T-shirts are such a powerful tool for getting your message out there.

When it comes to promotional T-shirts, InkHead has been a consistent leader in the industry, and we have recently upgraded the “Apparel” section of our website in order to make the selection and ordering process even more convenient and comfortable. As you begin shopping for T-shirts for your promotion or event, you’ll find a world of choices open to you, so consider this a guide to finding your way around. One note: when we refer to “left breast” or “right breast” imprint, we mean when wearing the shirt, so a left breast imprint would go roughly over your heart.

Types of Custom T-Shirts

Short-sleeve crewneck

This is the standard item that comes to mind when we think of T-shirts. Usually cut for a relaxed fit, with a reinforced, rounded neck and double-stitched cuffs on the sleeves, the shirt offers a wide imprint area on both front and back, with additional imprint area on the sleeves. Pocket tees feature an open-top pocket on the left breast, which reduces the imprint area on the shirt front but will call attention to a smaller imprint on or above the pocket. Ringer tees are cut like standard T-shirts but feature a second, complementary color for the reinforced neck and cuffs; because of their retro-‘70s look, they’re a very hot item right now. Hanley shirts are cut like regular T-shirts, but with a 3-button placket that opens for comfort, which reduces the imprint area on the front but looks great with a left-breast imprint.

Long-sleeve crewneck

This variety of T-shirt is cut like the short-sleeved version, but with full-length sleeves that provide not only warmth in cooler weather, but a long additional imprint area for a logo or message. A variant of this T-shirt is the mock turtleneck, which features a higher collar and is suitable for wear with a jacket, and which looks terrific with an embroidered logo on the breast.

Raglan baseball jersey

Always popular with ballplayers, but a staple of the early ‘80s, the baseball jersey, with its ¾-length sleeves, is another shirt making a comeback. The complementary sleeve color reduces the imprint area available on front and back, but the comfort and coolness factor of this shirt are ample compensation.


Though traditionally thought of as undershirts, anyone who’s ever worn one on a hot day knows the appeal of the tank. Though the imprint area is reduced by the wider neck on this shirt, it is ideal for summer promotions.


Though women can, of course, wear the same style of custom T-shirt as men, for a promotion specifically aimed at women, or for female employees, there is the option of choosing a ladies’-cut T-shirt, which features shorter or cap-length sleeves and is cut with a gentle inward curve at the waist. This variety of shirt also comes in a relaxed rounded neck or a V-neck for added comfort.


Women’s tanks feature the same relaxed cinch cut as ladies’ tees and come in standard tank form or with spaghetti straps, making them an excellent promotional item for summertime.

Youth tees and tanks

Most of our custom T-shirts and tanks are available in youth sizes, perfect for school, church, or extracurricular activity promotions. And if your target market includes little ones, we even carry a line of toddler tees and onesies ready to receive your imprint.

How to Buy Custom T-Shirts

With so many options available for your custom T-shirt needs, here are a few things to consider to help you zero in on the perfect promotional apparel.

T-shirt material

While all of our T-shirts are able to take your logo and graphics beautifully, you want to distribute something your end users will wear often and in public. If your shirt becomes one of their favorites, so much the better, so it’s important to choose your shirt’s material carefully.

100% cotton has the virtue of breathability and softness that increases with each washing, as well as appeal to those wearers who prefer natural fibers; the downside of pure cotton is that it tends to trap sweat rather than wick it away, so if your shirt is meant for an athletic or hot-weather event, it may not be ideal. Remember also that cotton has a tendency to shrink, so if you want people to wear your custom t-shirt over and over again, you may want to choose a different material.

Ringspun cotton is produced by a spinning method that results in a tight weave that is both durable and extremely soft from the first wear onward and is a popular alternative to the traditional cotton weave.

50/50 cotton/polyester blend has the virtue of both strength and softness, with a better capacity to wick away moisture than 100% cotton, but some of your potential wearers may balk at the polyester content.

100% polyester, despite its reputation, provides lightweight comfort and excellent wicking is frequently used in apparel for runners, golfers, and other athletes. If your promotion is geared toward athletics or outdoor activities, we have a nice selection of these shirts available.

Imprint method

Once you’ve selected the style and material of your promotional T-shirt, it’s time to put your brand on it. Depending on your intended end use, there are three ways to go about personalizing your shirt.


The most popular method of reproducing graphics on a shirt. Your image will be recreated on a screen that serves as a template for the inks to be applied to the fabric. This method is relatively inexpensive and yields a large number of shirts with no deviation in quality. Be aware, however, that a larger number of colors in your graphics will mean additional costs for the silkscreening process.


An excellent way to decorate a shirt when you want something subtle and tasteful with a high perceived value, and is ideal for producing T-shirts for employees in a more casual but still businesslike workplace. The cost of embroidery will depend upon the stitch count necessary for your logo, so the size and number of colors in your brand will make a difference.

Heat transfer

basically a larger and more intensive version of iron-on transfer, is used in many local print shops for small apparel orders, and it is useful for applying images with lots of color. While it is an option in certain cases, we don’t recommend it, as it’s very expensive and doesn’t hold up to washing as well as silkscreened T-shirts do.


We offer a wide selection of sizes, from XS all the way to XXXL, to meet the needs of potential wearers of your custom shirts. Be advised, though, that the imprinting process requires a single screen for the whole job, which means an image that looks perfect on a size L may look smaller on a larger size. Refitting the image to remain proportional may require an additional setup charge, so please keep this in mind when choosing an image for your shirts.Our new apparel-ordering system is ready to make your selection process easy and painless, but don’t forget that our expert staff of Promotions Specialists is on hand to assist you and just a phone call away.

Ready to order some custom t-shirts? Have a question about this product? Please contact us. We can take your order over the phone or answer any questions you may have.

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InkHead Promotional Products
We make quality custom promotional products designed by you.
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