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Dos And Don'T For Producing T-Shirts That Celebrate Your Favorite Sports Team

by Taylor Hughes

Whenever you attend a professional or college sporting event, you'll commonly see plenty of fans wearing licensed team T-shirts that they bought at the stadium's store or the team's online store. You'll also see unlicensed products, including those that break copyright laws and those that don't. If you're a creative person who has a good idea for a T-shirt design that celebrates your favorite sports team, you might wish to have shirts made up for you and your friends, and you may even wish to sell some online. Here are some dos and don'ts that you'll need to keep in mind.

Don't Use The Team's Name Or Logo

A quick way to get into copyright trouble is to use the team's name or logo. Logos are readily available online, as are teams' names in their customized fonts. However, these elements are copyrighted, which means that you do not have permission to use them.

Do Use The Team's City And Colors

There are no copyrights on city names and colors, which means that you can use these elements successfully in your T-shirt. For example, instead of saying "Boston Red Sox," which is copyrighted, you could simply say "Boston" or "Boston Baseball." Additionally, you can use red and navy blue, the team's two colors, to send a clear message that your shirt is supporting the team, but not in contravention of any copyright laws.

Do Use Creative Spellings

In many cases, you can successfully get around copyright laws to produce impressive T-shirt designs that people may wish to buy. Think of some creative ways that you can spell key words. In the above scenario of designing T-shirts to support the Boston Red Sox baseball team, one idea is to play up the much-embraced Boston accent stereotype. For example, you could make a T-shirt that reads "Baaaahston Saaaaax." When people read this slogan, they'll automatically hear it in a Boston accent in their mind, which makes the design effective.

Don't Copy Other Homemade Designs

You may get inspired by other homemade T-shirt designs, but it's not a good idea to copy them. While you know that the team's logo is copyrighted, you don't know what other homemade T-shirt designs are also copyrighted, and this could get you in trouble with the creator. Producing a truly custom design will leave you with a clear conscience as you wear the garment to attend the team's games.