BEST IN SHOW - 5 Buzzworthy Promotional Apparel Styles and Custom Logo Ideas

Posted February 14, 2019 by Gina Barreca

The best thing about tradeshows? They come every year and we get to do a lot of them. The worst thing about tradeshows? They come every year and we get to do a lot of them.

Whether you decided to spare yourself the wear and tear that goes with kicking off a new season at an industry trade show, or you attended and just can’t get enough of the latest and greatest to hit the market, straight from the show floor, here are the top 5 standout styles and decoration trends you’ll want to know.

The Highline

First introduced in 2018, The Vansport Pro Highline Polo (style #2455) quickly became a top seller in the corporate and green grass markets. The performance benefits of this premium moisture-wicking golf shirt run deep and include UV protection and antimicrobial properties, a luxurious hand and drape, and added stretch for comfort. Building on its success, the color palette has been expanded this season with brighter options in Royal and Orange.

Looking to customize the shirt with a brand logo? No worries. Special attention was paid when designing the tilt-stripe pattern to make it easy to add a logo on the left chest or sleeve. Embroidery or die-mold transfers are the recommended decoration methods for customizing this polo shirt.

Trend Talk: Architectural influences are apparent in the abstract print design complemented by a comfortable and modern stretch fit.

Maui Shirt

When it’s time for a company that manufactures and sells uniform apparel to outfit their staff for a tradeshow, you can bet their selection is one to take note of. This year, Vantage Apparel kicked off several important events with their team dressed in the new Vansport Pro Maui Shirt (styles #1880/1881). Associates got to pick their color, some choosing to style it casual with resort wear, while others tucked it in with dress pants for a more polished look. Bringing a fun vibe to the tradeshow floor was unexpected and resulted in positive attention, and more traffic to the company’s booth.

While the Maui Shirt can create a vacation vibe anywhere, it was designed with premium moisture-wicking fabric to make outdoor activewear comfortable in any climate. Great for uniforms or retail sales at restaurants and tiki bars, hotels and resort staff, conference attendee gifts, or Hawaiian themed events at any type of business.

The allover tonal palm print is an understated way to bring the floral print trend from the fashion runways to corporate casual clothing.

Laser Patches

Sometimes a creative logo idea is the best way to start a conversation or drum up an apparel opportunity even when someone isn’t in the market for a logoed shirt or custom sweatshirt. Laser applique designs create head-turning samples and always get the most interest. Traditionally used for full-chest logos, we’re now seeing more left-chest sized patch designs on fleece, jackets and outerwear.

Don’t be intimidated by the look. This fashion-forward decoration technique is produced on a multi-head embroidery machine attached to a laser bridge for an efficient and cost-effective way of producing a mixed-media design with texture and dimension. The laser cuts the applique fabric to create the background or base of the patch. Next, direct embroidery is used to permanently adhere the patch to the garment and stitch the company logo or brand name. With state-of-the art equipment, this decoration technique can be done with low order minimums – just 24 pieces at-a-time.

Twill, cotton and felt are the most popular fabrics for creating patches and should be selected with the garment’s overall look and feel in mind.

Craft Stitch Embroidery

Small-batch, locally sourced, and one-of-a-kind are all popular consumer trends that promise a unique experience. This feeling can also translate in promotional apparel using motif, or craft-stitch embroidery. A popular look in retail graphics, the font appears to be hand-stitched delivering a made-just-for me look to the recipient.

This craft-stitch technique can be done with any color; however, choosing a neutral color thread will appear more natural and add to the hand-stitched look of the logo.

The #1 requested sample from the 2019 PPAI EXPO was the new Women’s Boulder Shirt Jacket (style #7341) with a loose script logo embroidered in the craft-stitch font above the jacket’s chest pocket.

Single Piece Decoration

Online sales, speed to market, and integration continued to top conversations, and beyond apparel and decoration trends, the ability to fulfill single-piece decorated orders remained the number one business need for many companies. Vantage makes it easy for their customers with 3 levels of apparel catalog sites and e-commerce stores, as well as established partnerships with technology companies to facilitate set-up for more robust product stores that cannot be handled in-house.

Did You Know? Vantage offers single-piece decoration for embroidery, laser etching and now, digital printing. You didn’t? Sounds like we’ll need to sign up for some more tradeshows.

Interested in a post show special for a free virtual client presentation? Email our project management team at to take advantage of one of these show stopping ideas.

About The Author

Gina Barreca is the Marketing Director for Vantage Apparel. She joined the company, and the promotional industry, 25 years ago for a chance to combine her two favorite passions, marketing and fashion. When she's not attending trade shows, Gina oversees content creation for the company’s digital and print media.

Jennifer McMullan May 3

Gina, I have a client who is growing her consulting firm and would like to get nice and comfortable fleece, wool, or cotton 3/4 zips with her logo. I see that your company is on top of the latest trends for corporate logo apparel, so I would like advice on where we should get the 3/4 zips or does your company do the logos and offer a selection of apparel for this? Her logo is really cool and I believe she would be going for the color black, although her logo has black in it, so that will be something to consider.

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