In our November Print Edition Marshall Atkinson explained how to add some zing to your prints using the LAB mode in Photoshop. We were struck not only by the simplicity of the technique and the quality of the image enhancements Marshall demonstrated, but also by his statement that, “T-shirts are essentially printed billboards. Viewers have only a few moments to get the full impact of what they are seeing…” It wasn’t that Marshall was stating anything we don’t all already know; it was his use of the word ‘impact’ and the welcome reminder of just how much punch a T-shirt can pack.

That fact was brought home forcibly by Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, following the damage caused to the country’s infrastructure by Hurricane Maria. The mayor, frustrated by what she perceived as a slow and inadequate response to the plight of the Puerto Rican people, turned up to a press conference wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the impossible-to-ignore, ‘Help us, we are dying’ slogan across the front. Following a spat with President Trump, who claimed that the Democratic party had told the mayor to be “nasty” to him during his presidential visit to Puerto Rico, Mayor Cruz turned up to a subsequent press conference wearing a similar T-shirt printed with the word ‘nasty’ in bold capital letters.

Whatever your political persuasion, or your views on Mayor Cruz and President Trump, there’s no denying that these T-shirts had an impact (just as President Trump’s red caps did in last year’s US presidential elections). Not only did they present the mayor’s messages as hard-hitting, easy to digest ‘soundbites’, they ensured that those soundbites were heard around the world. It’s hard to believe that she would have received the huge international coverage she enjoyed without the shirts; indeed, the T-shirts themselves led much of the reporting on these events. They did what promotional clothing is meant to do and what it does best – they ensured the mayor’s message was seen, heard and remembered by the widest possible audience.

There has never been a greater choice of media platforms from which to promote a brand, business, message or event, yet a well designed and executed T-shirt print still has the ability to cut through the hubbub and leave a lasting impression. And that’s a message every prospect needs to be hear, and every customer needs to be reminded of, at every available opportunity.