The battle for school pride goes up another notch at this time of the year, thanks to the start of another UAAP-NCAA season. We look forward to pep rallies, excited fangirls, after-school trips to the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the wearing of school statement shirts—oh yes, that.
Everywhere you go, whether it’s off-season or not, you always get to see people wearing their respective school shirts. We’re not pertaining to students alone, but also to school alumni from older generations. It’s a way of saying, “Hey look, I’m from this school! I love it, I support it, I will fight for it” regardless of the school’s current league standings.
It’s not even required for a school to be a member of the UAAP or the NCAA to have these kinds of shirts. Students and alumni are usually the ones who sell them; the shirts are sold online or at the local school bookstore.
If you have a creative mind, enough capital and a lot of school pride, you, too, can come up with your own shirt business. Here are some tips on creating the perfect school shirt.
Whether it comes in green or blue, red or yellow or even pink, they all have one thing in common: a message of school pride.
It can be expressed through an illustration, in text form or sometimes even both. Taglines, battle cries, and school hymn lyrics are usually the text used, but it’s always a better option to come up with your own catchy message. It should also be in line with the school’s values and should not have any content that could debase or insult others.
It’s a big no-no to use Comic Sans MS font or anything similar on shirt designs nowadays, unless you’re designing for the preschool department’s Family Day.
One must be aware that the font for the words to be printed on the school shirt should have the same intensity as the message being expressed, so cutesy font styles are out of the picture.
The overall look must be fierce, intimidating and stylish at the same time—something that is mix-and-match for a fashionable look. Loud or minimalist designer fonts are good options.
For a better idea on how these fonts look like, look up “designer fonts” on Google or you can check out the kind of fonts used on the shirts being sold by your favorite sports brand.
Make sure that all of your designs are 100 percent original. One should never profit from the works of others because once you get caught, it’s game over.
Imitating or revising designs from existing brands is also a bad idea. Also, If your school mascot is a bit hard to draw, you can actually use some of the pictures you find on the Internet. But make sure it’s royalty-free—meaning, the ones who came up with the design are giving everyone the right to use it for commercial purposes without having to pay royalties or license fees.
Tools of the trade
One should also be familiar with the tools of the trade in this kind of business. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Draw are usually the software programs being used for shirt design. The basics are pretty easy to learn and you can always rely on online tutorials to broaden your knowledge in graphic arts and typography.
If you have no time to learn any of these, you can always hire someone who is knowledgeable in design and just give your input and specifics. Make sure that you will pay the designer fairly.
Let’s not forget about quality. What if your design is really nice, but the way the shirt is printed doesn’t look that awesome anymore? Find yourself a good supplier that fits your budget. This is usually the tricky part in the shirt business process because it already involves money and it’s mostly a hit-and-miss thing.
Through extensive research and the power of connections, you should be able to find yourself a supplier that would cater to your preferences.
Oh, and the price. Do take note that your target market is comprised mostly of students, so please don’t sell your shirts at an outrageous amount. It should just be enough for you to earn a decent profit. Or you may raise the price a bit if some of the proceeds will go to a beneficiary.
For some people anything over P450 is already expensive, so you should go for a cheaper rate. Also, no one would buy overpriced shirts with bad quality and design, so make sure that your shirt is going to be worth the price.
It’s a wild world out there. We’re stuck in the middle of another battle for school supremacy and the business world is no exception. Having competitors within the school in the shirt business is inevitable, so be prepared for anything. But never forget the fact that you’re all cheering for the same school, so there is no reason for any kind of conflict.
Good luck and happy selling!