A T-shirt designed by someone with no design skillsWhen we launched our t-shirt giveaway service the first thing I wanted to do was launch an official Printfection giveaway. Except our classic Printfection shirt left a lot to be desired. Nobody at our office even wears the shirt!

Giving a t-shirt away and having it relegated to the bottom of the dresser drawer defeats the whole idea behind giving away free swag. Receiving a bland t-shirt for free is nice, but receiving an awesome free t-shirt is way better.

Instead of giving away our existing, boring t-shirt I managed to create three new, exiciting designs. And I have absolutely no artistic ability! So how’d I do it? A t-shirt design contest!

A contest is a great way to get some fresh design ideas flowing. There are several services you can use to manage your contest. Or you can run your own – your existing fans, followers, and customers are great resources since they know you best and will design something they themselves would want.

Try reaching out to them using Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or email. You’d be suprised at the artistic talent lurking in your social networks/ rolodex. If you run your own contest, you can probably compensate the designer with some free swag featuring their winning design.

Since we had a bit of a time crunch and didn’t want to worry about the logistics of hosting our own contest we decided to use 99designs.com. They have a community of over 74,000 designers so we were pretty sure one of them would be able to design a t-shirt our customers wouldn’t be ashamed to wear in public.

Creating the contest was super easy. Once you’ve decided on an award amount, you write a brief overview about your project, describe your target audience, and outline some requirements for the designers. 99designs handles everything else: marketing your contest to talented designers, managing feedback & comments, awarding the prize money and transferring the winning design files to you.

We ran the contest for one week and had over 126 entries. The hardest part was picking just one winning t-shirt design (we picked three in the end). This was a quick and easy solution to our lack of design skills. We now have 3 great designs to give to our best customers and wear ourselves. The first official Printfection Giveaway is underway!

As you can see, there’s no reason to let a lack of design or creative skills hold you back from offering great merchandise to your fans and followers.

Winning T-Shirt Design
Our Winning Design



Runner-Up T-Shirt Design 1
Runner-Up Design #1

Runner Up T-Shirt Design 2
Runner-Up Design #2