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Text or graphics - which sells better?

 
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Old July 13th, 2007 Jul 13, 2007 1:07:57 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Text or graphics - which sells better?

No doubt this question has been posed on the forum before, but I'm interested in the answer in commercial terms - not personal opinions on which is better.

Does anyone know of any data showing which tends to sell better?

Just to clarify my terminology, of course there are T designs that feature a combo of text and graphics - I'm including those in the "Graphics" category.

By "Text", I mean designs with ONLY text.

Note: My suspicion is that good designs sell best, regardless of whether those comprise text, graphics, or a combination. But still interested in the commercial trend, if there is one.
 
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Old July 13th, 2007 Jul 13, 2007 10:38:39 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

I personally don't know of any studies that have been done based on actual sales. I'm not sure how they would measure it.

I'm sure threadless might have some data on this, since they now sell both graphical and text tees.

I guess if I think about my own store that has both graphical shirts and text shirts, I would say that the text only t-shirts outsell the graphical ones, but my guess is that varies from company to company.

Like you said, the "good" designs will always rule out.
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Old July 13th, 2007 Jul 13, 2007 11:00:43 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

I as well haven't come across any studies and can see this being a hard one to study.

Some text will be better than some graphics and vice versa.
 
 
Old July 15th, 2007 Jul 15, 2007 2:43:23 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

Thanks, Rodney and Fluid. It is a hard thing to research, I guess. Thanks for your feedback on your experience with your own Ts. Maybe I should have asked for that sort of feedback in the first instance.

The reason I posed the question is that I always have the feeling that I HAVE to conceive a good graphic to go with text, or to replace text. I have been having a debate with a friend, who thinks the best T designs he's seen are text only.

Of course, "best" is highly subjective and depends on your criteria for assessment.

The bottom line for me is that I don't have a lot of trouble coming up with smartarse and "clever" text, and I also find I am able to dream up good graphics ideas (this is my feedback, at least) that communicate through symbolism and visual metaphor. My challenge is in creating really good graphics using Illustrator - or any graphics software. I don't have the technical expertise to transform my ideas into reality, although I can get close enough some of the time through settling for simple graphics designs.

I suppose I have to admit to feeling impatient at the prospect of learning bit by bit about the capacities of Illy. I do have the Adobe Classroom In A Book for both Illy and Photoshop, and I have progressed. Just not fast enough!

Anyway, thought I should explain my motivation for posing the question in the first place. It's interesting to me that both you guys, who are clearly experienced in the business, should not come out with a categoric statement in favour of graphics, as I expected you would.

My assumptions may be off the mark here, then. Good for me, in one sense, since I can now feel a little more content with having text only designs sometimes, rather than sensing that I am taking an easy way out that won't appeal to the buying public.

I suspect my wording in this post opener may have put a few people off commenting. I guess I was trying to filter out the theoretical opiners who have no real practical experience in the business and are therefore no better informed than I regarding the answer to my query. So, if anyone else who does have plenty of experience retailing Ts can contribute their findings appropriate to the graphics vs text-only issue, would really appreciate your input.

Thanks.
 
Old July 15th, 2007 Jul 15, 2007 5:08:52 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

where i come from, black t-shirts with with text outsell grafics 5 to 1
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Old July 15th, 2007 Jul 15, 2007 8:45:04 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

5 to 1? Well, let's have a bit more info to establish some credibility:

1. What is the source of your data?
2. Where DO you come from?
3. How reliable is that assertion? Is this 5:1 ratio just your finding - and if so, based on how many sales over what period?
 
Old July 15th, 2007 Jul 15, 2007 9:46:27 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

i come from Malta, it is not an exact figure but its approx what i see on the streets. Most girls and older guys seem to prefer text
 
Old July 15th, 2007 Jul 15, 2007 9:57:59 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

This might be entirely spurious, but i suspect the demographics that graphical t's can be sold to has a much much higher "glass ceiling" in terms of price.

It's a rare text shirt indeed that can compete in the $50+ market, whereas graphics reign their aplenty.

What's 100 $12 text shirts at $8 profit verses 30 $40 graphic shirts at $32 profit?
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Old July 15th, 2007 Jul 15, 2007 7:11:20 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

OK, thanks ino.

Yes, that's a excellent point, ML, and one I was not considering. As you point out, it's not just about numbers of Ts sold. I think your "glass ceiling" theory makes good sense.
 
Old July 16th, 2007 Jul 16, 2007 10:06:54 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeylantern
This might be entirely spurious, but i suspect the demographics that graphical t's can be sold to has a much much higher "glass ceiling" in terms of price.

It's a rare text shirt indeed that can compete in the $50+ market, whereas graphics reign their aplenty.

What's 100 $12 text shirts at $8 profit verses 30 $40 graphic shirts at $32 profit?
not so sure lines like rocawear and some other lines can sell a shirt that just has a company name on it for $30 plus
 
Old July 16th, 2007 Jul 16, 2007 5:47:21 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

I suppose if the branding is strong enough, you can sell any T for $30 plus. Sadly, that is not the situation most of us are in.
 
Old July 16th, 2007 Jul 16, 2007 9:04:15 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross B
I suppose if the branding is strong enough, you can sell any T for $30 plus. Sadly, that is not the situation most of us are in.
i wish you sould sell any t for 30 plus

 
Old July 17th, 2007 Jul 17, 2007 6:30:20 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

I personally see text and graphics in the same light. With the thousands of different fonts available, distortions, filters, textures, inline, outline and the list goes on, why not? Creative design of text elements is graphic design.
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Old July 17th, 2007 Jul 17, 2007 6:53:55 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

Is it also relevant to note that text only designs can be easily "copied"?
 
Old July 17th, 2007 Jul 17, 2007 8:26:24 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Text or graphics - which sells better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoskinGraphix
I personally see text and graphics in the same light. With the thousands of different fonts available, distortions, filters, textures, inline, outline and the list goes on, why not? Creative design of text elements is graphic design.

true i was at work last night and we were slow so i was going to do alittle research and just mark down the types of shirts people had. it was way to hard to try and figaur out what was a graphic what was text and whats a combanation. they are so mixed together and people like that.
 






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