4 Keys to Making Memorable T-Shirts

As I cleaned out the outer rim of my closet this past week I came across one my summer camp t-shirts from years past. ( Way before the internet!)  It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered God’s love and faithful promises to me. I smiled thinking about all the fun and friends that I made that week at camp.  Yes, the t-shirt may have been worn, distressed and old but those memories will never fade. Can a t-shirt really do that?  You betcha!  How can we make t-shirts today that will be just as effective and bring up powerful memories for years to come.  I started to think back to when I got the shirt.


It was the summer of 1990, my friends and I just enjoyed the Wednesday evening concert everyone had been waiting for all week in the Ponderosa chapel at Hume Lake as we sang our hearts out to Joel Weldon’s, “Keep the Faith,” and “He’s gonna reign forever”. We were energized, excited about Jesus and couldn’t believe we only had 2 more days of high school camp before we had to head down the mountain to reality.  But luckily camp had a general store, filled with T-shirts and cassette tapes,( I know I’m dating myself).  Souvenirs that would help us remember this week for the rest of our lives!  We had saved our money all summer so we could buy one of those memorable t-shirts, hats and maybe a necklace or two.  The choices, the colors, we didn’t care how much it cost we just needed a shirt.

Only a limited number of t-shirts are printed with that summer camp design, talk about a collectors item!

Then we wore those t-shirts everyday for the rest of the summer and at least once a week on Wednesday nights at church. When my friends wore their t-shirts we got all excited and start talking about camp as if it were the best week of our lives (which up to that point in our lives it was).  By then we had every word of music memorized (remember we bought the cassette tapes?)  So when my friends and I drove in my 1976 VW Bug we could sing along and relive the week.

Now as a mom I realize only so many t-shirts are printed with that summer camp design, talk about a collectors item! Something that will bring back feelings of God’s love and friendship.  The same way it did to me and my friends when we went to summer camp.  As a mom I still find myself humming and singing along years later to those catchy songs and bible verses.  Did I mention they sell music on CD’s now?

What made this worn out t-shirt valuable so many years later? 

1. Great product.  I loved wearing the shirt, that’s why it was worn out.  None of this works if the t-shirt falls apart right away, or the design is so ugly nobody wants to wear it out in public.  The t-shirt was successful because it survived long enough to remind me of my epic week at camp years later.

2.  It’s the experience that makes it great.  It was thinking back to the great memories my friends and I made together that brought the tear to my eye.

3. Make the design original and unique by adding the year.   It’s always great to have a little reminder of the year and location of the event after we have forgotten the little details.

4. Limit the number of shirts made. When something is limited it becomes more valuable, and we all tend to remember what we value.

Have you had a similar expierence?  Tell us about it.  How can we better make products that capture the emotion of the event?