Polo shirt, golf shirt, tennis shirt, sport shirt – all these terms refer to the tremendously popular short-sleeve, knitted, collared shirt that we all know and love. Because of their versatility, durability and affordability, polo shirts have become the “go-to” choice for companies who want to uniform their staff in something more upscale than a t-shirt.
Buying custom embroidered polo shirts seems simple enough in theory, but like many things, the devil is in the details. And when it comes to buying embroidered polo shirts, there are many details to sort through! This week’s post touches on some of the major issues to consider when picking out embroidered polo shirts for your company or organization.
Purpose & Requirements of the Shirt
Start by thinking about what these shirts will be used for. Having a good understanding of what you need from your shirts will help focus your selection process and eliminate a lot of frustration. Do you need your shirts to be stain and spill resistant? Will people be sweating or engaging in physical or grubby activities while wearing these shirts? Do you need them to be snag-resistant? Are these shirts to be worn for a one-time event, or do you need them to last and look good through many launderings? What kind of image do you want to portray (sporty, upscale, youthful, conservative, etc.)? Do you want to wear a name brand such as Nike, Adidas, Champion, Izod, which have retail recognition and possibly a higher perceived value?
Shirt Color & Color Features
Ideally pick shirt colors consistent with the colors used to brand your company. For best recognition, choose shirts that are one or more of your key branding colors (i.e. if your logo is red and black, pick shirts that are either red or black). Corporate polo shirts are usually solid color, but you also have the option to pick a style with stripes, panels, or trim in contrasting colors. Think about whether the contrasting colors work with your business image. Some styles are more conservative than others. Color features will make your shirt –and therefore your company – more distinctive and therefore more memorable.
Polo Shirt Fabrics
The major decision on fabric is whether you want 100% cotton polo shirts, 100% polyester shirts, or a cotton/poly blend. Polyester is moisture wicking, and resists fading much better than cotton. Many people prefer the feel of cotton, but some won't consider anything but the breeziness of modern poly. It’s really best to touch and feel samples to decide where your preferences lie.
Another consideration regarding polo shirt fabric is whether you prefer a smooth knit texture like interlock or jersey knit, or the distinctive “pique” texture, which looks like a tiny mesh grid when viewed up close. If your logo has lots of fine detail or includes small text, it will embroider better on the smoother knit (interlock and jersey) types.
If you have particular requirements, you may want to look at some of the special fabrics and fabric treatments that have been developed to be anti-microbial, UV resistant, stain-resistant, spill-resistant, snag resistant, or provide enhanced ventilation.
Adding Custom Embroidery to Your Shirt
Custom embroidery is by far the most common method of applying logos onto polo shirts. Consider what will be embroidered on your shirt and where. The traditional location for a company logo is on the left chest, “over the heart.” But there are other options, including the sleeves and back yoke (just below the collar). Multiple embroidery locations work very well on polo shirts and help make the shirt more distinctive and useful as an advertising medium. Don’t try to put too much information on the left chest. If you have a logo and a tagline or website that you want to promote, it looks much better to put the logo on the chest, and the other information on a sleeve or on the back.
Depending on quantities, screen printing may be an economical alternative for getting your logo on a polo shirt, but should only be considered on smooth knits (not piques).
Overall, the key to choosing the perfect custom embroidered polo shirt at the best possible price is to have a very specific purpose in mind for how the shirts will be used. When your requirements are well-defined, the rest of the choices tend to fall into place…and you end up with company shirts that you love to wear!