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Running USA, an organization that promotes the growth of running events, estimates that charity walks, races, and marathons raised over a billion dollars in 2017. Over the decades, charitable running events have only gained momentum, and there’s no stopping in sight. The advent of social media has helped running teams get off the couch and run for charitable causes like breast cancer research, the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, Alzheimer’s research, and more. Social media has allowed runners to reach out to sponsors for support and create their own unique branding. While team names, personas, and media campaigns are important to branding, one physical item cannot be forgotten: the t-shirt. A well-designed t-shirt can convey a serious message while also being approachable and fun. When you’re thinking about creating your custom marathon t-shirt, consider the following questions.

How should I choose a design? How detailed should it be?

Charity walks, races, and marathons will give participants racing bibs that state their name, race number, location, and any sponsors of the events. This information is important to the event itself and could even be the basis for a great graphic t-shirt. But before using these elements for a design, you’ll have to decide the level of detail you’d like in your composition.

A well-executed, baroque design or collage can look great on a t-shirt. But, equally, some of the most classic T-shirt designs are simple and bold. Anywhere in-between the two extremes, and you may end up with a muddy, uninteresting design. Whether you go for baroque or keep it simple, use text and images with clean lines and crisp contrast. As a rule of thumb, you want people to be able to see and understand the t-shirt design text from at least 20 feet away.

 

What style and fabric should I use?

While the basic cotton t-shirt is a classic choice, there are more fabrics and styles available than ever before. Think about your audience and intended goals before deciding the right type of t-shirt. For a running event, your team might prefer styles and fabric materials that will keep them cool and dry. High-performance Dri-FIT fabric is a good option for athletes on the run. Dri-FIT shirts use a microfiber, polyester fabric that moves sweat away from the body, keeping athletes dry and comfortable. Next, the style of the t-shirt will depend on the weather. Of course short-sleeves are best for hot days, but if it’s a bit chilly, or even rainy, choosing long-sleeve t-shirts or even hoodies can be a life saver.

How do I select a printer?

Unless you have access to a t-shirt printing machine or a silk screen, you’ll have to find a reputable, reliable printer to produce your running team t-shirts. If you’ll be campaigning and building running teams throughout the year, you may want to start building a long-term relationship with a printer that is flexible and bring your ideas to live in a reasonable time frame. When selecting a printer, keep the following considerations in mind.

  1. Find a company that is willing and able to advise you on your artwork, choice of garment, techniques, and pricing.
  2. Look for a company with plenty of experience, a proven track record, and positive customer feedback results.
  3. Consider a company that knows the garments and fabrics inside out, as different techniques or even artwork will work better on certain garments and fabric weights than others.
  4. If you decide to go for screen printing, look for a screen print specialist that can offer excellent quality to cost ratios.
  5. Look for a company that is transparent in its pricing. Beware hidden charges, especially with screens, films, or Pantone color matching.

Running can be an excellent way to meet people, serve your community, and support a good cause. Finding sponsors for your running team can mean using social media and apparel to build your personal brand. If you need custom team running shirts, reach out to Marathon Sportswear. Our team offers t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies in a variety of styles. Reach out to us today and don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve.