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Articulation on a T-Shirt

June 26th, 2008

Lately, I’ve had t-shirts on my mind. My observation: t-shirts are the blank canvas of society today.

These days, the t-shirt has elevated its status to become the ultimate form of self-expression. For some, they are a platform for broadcasting personal beliefs and advocating support for particular causes (think: Urban Outfitter’s “Obama for yo Mama” shirts). In fact, the Philadelphia Inquirer recently used t-shirts on the Wildwood boardwalk as a barometer to gauge the social and political issues that are most prevalent this summer. Their assessment: peace and the environment are top of mind, particularly recycling.


On the other end of the spectrum, however, there are t-shirts that make an equally loud statement about the wearer – but often in a trivial, lewd sense that speaks nothing of a new social consciousness. Take, for example, the teen I passed by on the sidewalk yesterday sporting a shirt proclaiming, “I Heart Hot Moms.” Or the 30-something crossing the street with, “I’m a Keeper” written in bold, block letters across her chest.

My point isn’t to compare and contrast the merits of taking a stand for the environment with that of proclaiming your love of hot moms. Rather, it’s to point out how remarkable it is that individuals only need space the size of a t-shirt to express their viewpoints and broadcast their message. A simple image, logo or phrase on a t-shirt can make a remarkable first impression – both positive and negative – and tell others who you are and what you stand for. Think of how many companies are still searching for their point of view and role in a crowded industry. How many companies can articulate their message on a t-shirt?

So, I challenge you: if you had to express your company as a t-shirt, how would you go about doing it? I hope you’ll use the comments feature to share your thoughts and continue the conversation.

Posted Under: Branding
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