Designing T-shirts for Your Family Reunion

01 May Designing T-shirts for Your Family Reunion

Years ago, I attended a church congregation that was also attended by a family with at least a dozen (okay, it was more like five) very active young boys. These kiddos were master escape artists and frequently evaded Mom’s attempts to capture them.

One Sunday, this family came to church, and the boys were all wearing orange – think inmate garb – shirts. Why? Well, Mom found these shirts on clearance (thanks to the color, no doubt), and she realized that they were perfect. Not only were shirts available in sizes appropriate for all of her boys, they were easily identifiable in a crowd. That meant that when one of them escaped, she could easily find him, and other members of the congregation would know exactly to whom the little inmate belonged and could easily return him.

After a few weeks, the boys loved these orange shirts and wanted to wear them everywhere. They loved them, because people would say, “Oh, you’re one of the Jones’ boys.” They loved that they were clearly a part of something, in this case their family, and that everyone recognized them for it.

For some of the same reasons that this brilliant mother dressed her boys in those orange shirts, many families choose to order matching tees for family reunions, though most avoid state penitentiary orange. In some cases, these are simply solid-color tees that are worn by all, others have everyone wear solid-color tees assigned to each family unit, making it easy to distinguish where each person belongs. While these colored shirts accomplish their purpose, they aren’t as fun, nor will they have the memories attached to them that you will get from personalizing shirts for the reunion.

Designing reunion tees can be as simple as plugging your family name and date into a ready-made template. If you want to create your own design and have the graphic knowledge to do so, go ahead and run with it. If you need a little bit of help, most printers will be willing to work with you to help you create your design.

Here are four key things to keep in mind when creating the perfect design for your reunion shirts:

  1. The shirt must include the family name.
  2. Include a date. You can list the reunion date, or simply list the year.
  3. A graphic is essential. Consider using a free downloadable image, a photograph, or something created by a family member.
  4. Remember less is more. If you look at your design and ask yourself if it’s too busy or too cluttered, the answer is probably yes. Some people like to like to include a location, title or family motto, which can incorporate the family name, or include an inspirational quote or memorial statement. These are great, as long as long as they don’t make the design too busy or cluttered.

Once you have created the t-shirt design, run it past a couple of other people to see if they have other suggestions and finalize it. Take your design to the printer and have them go to work. Consider asking if the design can be resized so that it doesn’t appear way too large on kid-sized shirts or way too small for the adults. Once your shirts are done, hand them out, and enjoy the reunion!

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