If you’re running a conference and want to give out T-shirts, make the designs something people will want to wear. I’m talking to you, Search Engine Strategies. Your T-shirt is so hideous I won’t be wearing it. Not even to take a picture of how ugly it is.
If you think an ugly $3 T-shirt will make me feel better about the $1500 or so my conference registration cost, you’re wrong. Make the T-shirts an opt-in. Instead of stuffing them into every conference bag, make people go to the show floor to get their shirts. People who want your crappy shirts can get them and you’ll get more people on the floor.
It’s a win-win. You won’t waste money and the Earth’s resources on a shirt that will end up in the trash. I won’t feel guilty about having to throw another thing away.
Or spend a few extra bucks and make the T-shirt something I’ll want to wear and you get a return for your marketing dollars. Like the Ask shirt. (I’m not just saying that because of the Wii.) And the Web 2.0 Expo shirt.
Beyond design, see Kathy Sierra’s post on making sure that the shirt fits.