T-shirt test logo design method

The “Would I Wear That On A T-Shirt?” Test

Besides working on innovations and digital products I do a lot of logotypes and graphic identities. Sometimes it can be really hard to see if a logo really is good or not. It can be so subjective and you need some kind of frame of reference.

A very simple and kind of obvious test I do a lot of times is the “Would I Wear That On A T-shirt” test. It’s really simple. Can the logo work as a T-shirt that I would wear. Or someone else? Could you sell that T-shirt and people would buy it?

Sometimes using the name itself would feel to sponsored but these days your company needs to have a symbol or icon for social media presence and apps etc. So if the name itself feels wrong on a T-shirt the icon or symbol should at least work. And if that fails as well it would be good to have some kind of graphic element in the identity that could be used on a T-shirt.

“Don’t try to be original. Try to be good.”

Paul Rand

The point of the test isn’t to actually create T-shirts. Most companies don’t need to print T-shirts even if it could be fun. The idea is that if the identity can be clear and get through on a T-shirt it will propably work on most other applications.

Other ways of testing the logo is off course to apply it on an app icon (will it stand out on a cluttered phone home screen?), as a social media profile icon and as huge sign on a building. Try testing the logo in a very busy environment.

Who knows, maybe one day your logo will appear on a billboard in Times Square. Make sure it stands out and is recognisable.