Written by Molly Anthony & Jason Mahakian

Creating a memorable event experience isn’t only limited to finding a scenic route, choosing the ultimate playlist and writing goose bump-inducing speeches. You must also consider that precious piece of the event that participants take home with them: the event t-shirt.

This take-away piece has two very important jobs. First, it serves as branding for your event. Every time a participant wears their shirt, they become a mobile billboard and provide free advertising. Most important, it provides an opportunity for conversations about their experience to occur and the potential to recruit friends and family to join them at the next event. Second, it also needs to be memorabilia for the participant, flooding them with memories of your event every time they open their t-shirt drawer (this t-shirt could potentially become part of a race quilt someday).

So how do you create a shirt that effectively serves both of these roles? There are several factors to take into consideration for event t shirt design.

  • Brand recognition – You want the design to match your brand, but not be over the top. Be sure to incorporate your event colors, logo and tagline somewhere in the design. If you feel your colors are too bold for the shirt itself, choose a more neutral color for the t-shirt and bring your palette into the design as accent colors.
  • Make it a conversation starter – Does your event support a non-profit or charity? This is a great way to get people talking about your cause. Pose a question or make a statement on your shirt that will get people talking. It will help the participant wearing the shirt raise awareness for the cause, recruit people to join their team and assist in their fundraising.
  • Create something that people will actually wear – This is tricky and also goes along with the branding portion of the design. You want to create something that will stand out and get your event noticed, but you also want to use colors and images that appeal to a wide audience so that your participants will wear it after the event. The last thing you want is for your event t-shirt to end up in the donation pile.
  • Think of it as a series piece – Find a way to make your shirts unique each year so that participants look forward to adding them to their collection. Have one element that is carried through year after year, but change the date/locations and include a recognizable event-specific item such as an obstacle or landmark from the route.

As you create the participant shirt for your next event, don’t think of it as the freebie that is handed out at the end of the day. Instead, consider it a tangible element of the event that participants can take home with them and that will reignite memories in their minds days, weeks, even years after the event is over.

Molly Anthony is the Communications Manager for MuckFest® MS. When she’s not working on MuckFest MS projects, she can be found watching her kids and dog turn her backyard into their own mud and obstacle course.

Jason Mahakian’s passion for design and athletics brought him to Event 360 back in 2013 where he now works as a Graphic Designer on some of Event 360’s signature events like MuckFest® MS and the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®.

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