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When designing a t-shirt, packaging can often be an afterthought

When designing a t-shirt, packaging can often be an afterthought

When designing a t-shirt, packaging can often be an afterthought. In fact, you may ask yourself ‘Do I really need packaging?’.

If you’re selling your t-shirt online, then yes - you’ll need some kind of packaging. Packaging could also allow you to sell your t-shirt in physical stores that don’t have clothing racks or a way to hang your shirts. These are just two great reasons to invest in packaging.

T-shirt packaging can also have other benefits. For one, it can be a way of further visually promoting your t-shirt and attracting more customers. When buying online, snazzy packaging could also help to add a sense of exciting suspense when opening your product. It could even inspire customers to create ‘unboxing’ videos.

It’s for this reason that a lot of modern t-shirt companies put a lot of effort into their packaging (some of the examples mentioned later are so creative, you wonder whether they put more effort into the packaging than the t-shirt itself).

There are lots of different ways to package a t-shirt. This guide offers a few fun ideas that could serve as an inspiration.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt

Some forms of packaging have been done a million times. Such packaging may serve its practical purpose, but won’t help you boost sales.

Wrapping a t-shirt in clear plastic is one of the common and less inspiring ways to package a t-shirt. This simple packaging solution may allow you to show off your t-shirt design when displaying it on a shelf, but it’s a little dull (plus it’s not very eco-friendly - but more on that in a minute).

Custom t-shirt packaging bags allow you to make your packaging as exciting and unique as the t-shirt itself. This ensures that buyers aren’t put off buying an exciting t-shirt because of bland packaging. It also helps create a more memorable product opening experience - which could encourage customers to come back and buy more of your t-shirts.

A few important packaging must-haves

Your t-shirt packaging should ideally tick a few basic boxes.

First, it needs to be relevant to your t-shirt. If your packaging design is completely at odds with your t-shirt, it’s going to look a bit weird. Ideally, you should make it an extension of your brand. You may want to try to incorporate the colours, fonts and images onto your packaging. An image of your actual t-shirt could also be useful  if you’re selling physical retailers (if you’re selling online, you’ll be able to display an image of your t-shirt here, so this won’t be necessary).

Doodle Chest Designs Packaging examples

(Image Credit: Retail Design Blog)

Packaging should ideally be eco-friendly too. Using recyclable plastic or non-plastic alternatives like cardboard are not only better for the environment, but also better for your brand’s reputation. Modern customers are becoming more critical of disposable plastic packaging and it could put them off from buying your products again. There’s also increasing government pressure against disposable plastic packaging right now - in the next couple decades, it is highly likely that such packaging will be completely phased out.

Finally, make sure that your packaging is practical. Eccentrically-shaped packaging could make your t-shirt stand out, but if you have to scrunch your t-shirt up to get it in then your customer could end up with a creased t-shirt. You also don’t want anything that’s too expensive to mass produce. 

Making your packaging memorable

There are lots of ways to make your packaging memorable. Below are just a few different creative packaging ideas.

What’s in the box?

A box could be a more elegant way to package your product than simply wrapping it in paper or plastic. It gives people the sense that they’re opening a premium gift.

The shape of this box is up to you. One memorable example of a box is AMON clothing’s triangle box. Triangles are a big part of AMON clothing’s t-shirt design, so they extended this to the shape of the box. The t-shirt even comes with a creative triangle-shaped brochure.

‘Pizza box’ packaging tends to be quite popular for t-shirts too. You could print your logo in bold on the front of the box or you could even go the extra mile and add stylish print all over the box just as Stranger and Stranger have done with their t-shirt boxes. 

(Image Credit: Lovely Package)

Think outside the box

There are other options beyond a box for those that want to get even more creative.

For instance, you could roll up your t-shirt and package it into a tube. Rolling saves space and could ensure that your t-shirt says crease-free. These Kraft paper tubes are a great eco-friendly option and you can customise the print and shape (they also do square tubes and hexagonal tubes as well as round tubes).

Paper bags could be another option. T-shirt companies such as Fresh Kaufee have incorporated the ‘coffee’ aspect of their brand by packaging their t-shirts in coffee-style bags. This option is stylish and eco-friendly.

Make people look twice

Some of the most creative packaging ideas are the ones that make you look twice and make you think ‘is that actually a t-shirt?’.

Johnny Cupcakes is a brand that is renowned for their excitingly outlandish packaging ideas. Their limited edition firecracker t-shirt was packaged in a red explosive tube to literally look like a firecracker. They’ve also used packaging in the shape of ice cream tubs, lollipops and cereal boxes. In each case, the packaging related to the theme of the t-shirt.

Here! Sod are another brand that likes to dress their t-shirt packaging up as food products from baguettes to cabbages. Some of the t-shirts look like they might come out a bit creased once you unpackage them - but you’ve got to appreciate just how fun and innovative they are.

Doodle Chest Designs t-shirt Packaged as meat

(Image Credit: Dezeen)

Another standout example of creative packaging are these Beatles-themed t-shirts from Caulfield Apparel and English Laundry. In order to embrace the music theme, the company packaged these t-shirts in vinyl sleeves. Amazing!

Be multi-functional

What if packaging could have added functions? Packaging company HangerPak decided to do just this by creating packaging that also doubles up as a clothes hanger. The best part of it is that the packaging is all cardboard and so still eco-friendly.

Let’s wrap this up

Packaging can be an extra opportunity to put your creative skills to the test and make your t-shirt more memorable. It can be an extra chance to inject some fun into your product and attract new customers. What exciting packaging design will you come up with?

Know more about how to make a more creative t-shirt packaging? Click here.

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